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Elizabeth A.W. Furnas Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-283

Scope and Contents

This collection includes the papers of Elizabeth A.W. Furnas who was active in a number of Quaker concerns in the mid 20th century. Of particular interest are minutes and correspondence of the Women’s Problems Group and its successor, Philadelphia Quaker Women. There are also her manuscript writings, some notes on lectures at Pendle Hill, as well as information on some of the work camps in which she was involved.


  • Creation: 1928-1967


Language of Materials

All materials in English

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Biographical / Historical

Betty Furnas was the daughter of William Emley and Caroline Sargeant Walter. She graduated from Vassar College and married Paul J. Furnas, son of William and Deborah Moore Furnas, in 1923. From 1917 to 1920 Paul was the Field Secretary for the American Friends Service Committee and Associate Director of the ACLU. The couple moved to New Jersey and he worked for the Paulsboro Manufacturing Co. They participated in a number of work camps affiliated with the AFSC. Both Elizabeth and Paul also served as Board members at Pendle Hill during this period. Elizabeth also was involved with the Women's Problems Group, a fellowship of women of the two Philadelphia Yearly Meetings and later of the joint body; she became its Chairman in the early 1960s when it was renamed Philadelphia Quaker Women and continued in that role until 1966.

After 1940 Paul returned to AFSC and was appointed the Executive Secretary of Civilian Public Service In 1946, he was named Vice-President/Comptroller at Earlham; retired from Earlham in 1958 and died two years later. Betty married Thomas E. Jones, President Emeritus of Earlham, in 1968, and died four years later in 1972.


0.5 linear ft. (1 box)


Elizabeth A.W. (Betty) Furnas was an active member of the Society of Friends who served as a member of the Board of Pendle Hill and was a member of the Women's Problems Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and its sucessor, Philadelphia Quaker Women. The collection includes minutes and correspondence, particularly of the latter, as well as published and unpublished writings and other material.


Organized in three series:

  1. Correspondence and Activities
  2. Writings
  3. Miscellaneous

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ann Trueblood Rape, 2011 (Accession 2011.023)

Separated Materials

An oversized photograph of a wedding at Swarthmore Meeting in 1923, Elizabeth Furnas as bridesmaid, is stored with PA/Oversized. Blueprints of Pendle Hill, 1936, W. Pope Barney and Roy W. Banwell Associate, has been transferred to RG4 Pendle Hill (oversized).

Processing Information

Some of the collection was sorted into a letter file, presumeably by Furnas, and was labelled with the names of her different activities; this material has been kept together. The contents of a small binder labelled "Philadelphia Quaker Women" was removed from the binder and sorted into two folders, that which was attached and the other loose.

An Inventory of the Elizabeth A.W. Furnas Papers
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

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