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Gibbons Home (Springfield, Pa.) records

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-106

Scope and Contents

The collection contains legal, property, and financial records of the Gibbons Home, and Gibbons family pictures and some memorabilia.


  • Creation: ca.1880-ca.1987 (bulk: 1892-1969)


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for 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

The Gibbons property in Springfield Township, Delaware County, PA, was acquired in 1765 by Joseph Gibbons, a Quaker. He was the son of Joseph Gibbons, was a member of Concord Monthly Meeting and married Margery Hannum under the care of that meeting in 1759. He received a certificate to transfer from Concord Monthly Meeting to Chester Monthly Meeting in 1767, but was disowned for delaying presenting his certificate until 1771. He purchased 150 acres of land in what was then a part of Chester County. The house was built about 1830. Margery Gibbons was disowned for disunity in 1782. The property descended through the family to Joseph Gibbons who died in 1853 and then to Joseph Gibbons (1799-1880) who married Hannah Powell (d. 1882). In addition to the farm, the family had a cotton mill on the property on Whiskey Run, built in 1832, and destroyed by fire in 1865. Joseph Gibbons was a farmer and banker.

Joseph and Hannah Gibbons had eight children, seven who survived to adulthood: Joseph P., John, Mary, Lydia, William, Sallie P., and Emma. None of the children married. Joseph Gibbons was not a member of the Society of Friends, but Ashmead’s biographical sketch in the History of Delaware County reported in 1884 that he attended Quaker worship. Joseph bequeathed the property to his sons, Joseph P. and John Gibbons. John died intestate in 1892, and Joseph P. Gibbons died intestate in 1913. At his death, the property went to his surviving sisters, Emma and Sallie. Sallie P. Gibbons, died in 1918.

The family had been involved in philanthropic work. In 1903, they gave funds to the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church towards a Sunday School building, in memory of their adopted niece, May Loeffler. When Sallie P. Gibbons died in 1918 with no survivors, she left her property to executors in trust to keep and maintain a home for dependent Protestant women over forty to be called the Gibbons Home. Since there were some stipulations concerning the residual estate, the local Court interpreted this to mean that the Home could not be established until all the stipulations were fulfilled. Finally in 1939, the Court released the assets to the trustees to establish a Home. The Gibbons Home was incorporated in 1939 and opened in 1940 in the Gibbons family homestead.

Responding to population growth and business development in Springfield Township, the property was sold in 1970 to make way for the Springfield Mall. The Home moved to a new facility nearby on Lincoln Avenue. As patterns of social services changed and with residency diminished, the Gibbons Home was closed in 2000, and its assets turned over to PresbyHomes and Services.


1.25 linear ft. (3 boxes plus 2 boxes of photographs)

Language of Materials



The Gibbons Home was a residential home in Springfield Township, Delaware County, Pa., for elderly women of limited income. It was established in 1918 by the will of Sallie P. Gibbons, the last survivor of a family which had local Quaker roots. The Home was finally opened in the family house on Baltimore Pike in 1940. The house was torn down in 1970 to make way for a mall, and the Gibbons Home moved to a new building on Lincoln Avenue in Springfield. In 2000 the assets of the Home were transferred to Presbyterian Homes, and the property was sold. The collection contains legal, property, and financial records of the Gibbons Home, and Gibbons family photographs, paintings, and some Gibbons family memorabilia which was retained when the Home moved to its new location.


The collection is divided into 5 series:

  1. Historical
  2. Legal and Property papers
  3. Board papers
  4. Financial
  5. Miscellaneous.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to Friends Historical Library by the Board of the Gibbons Home upon its dissolution.

Donor: Gibbons Home, 2000, 2003 (Accession 2000-056)

Separated Materials

The following material, originally part of the collection, has been removed to FHL Picture Collection:

  1. Gibbons family large format travel photos.
  2. Gibbons family travel album, loose pages .
  3. Kodak snapshots of family, trips.
  4. Gibbons family and estate, large format photos.
  5. Photographs of May Loeffler.
  6. Copies of engravings of Joseph Gibbons and property, used in Ashmead’s History of Delaware County, 1884.
  7. Photographs used in Philadelphia Bulletin feature, 19-- (b&w).
  8. Photographs of Joseph and Hannah Gibbons Gibbons family and house 1959.
  9. Color snapshots of Gibbons Home and grounds.
  10. 16 cased pictures, unidentified, but include Joseph and probably the seven Gibbons children, including possibly son William Gibbons who is said to have died in the Civil War.
  11. “Crystalotype” pictures, made from Gutekunst photographs of Hannah and Joseph Gibbons.

Separated Materials

The following material, originally part of the collection, is on long-term loan to PresbyHomes and Services at Rosemont Presbyterian Village. In March 2007, Pat O'Donnell and Susanna Morikawa attended the event marking the transfer of assets.

  1. Oil painting of Joseph Gibbons (1799-1880)
  2. Oil painting of Hannah P. Gibbons (d. 1882)
  3. Glass portrait in ornate frame, Emma Gibbons (?)
  4. Glass portrait in ornate from, Sallie Gibbons (?)


  1. Ashmead, Henry Graham, 1838-1920. History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania / By Henry Graham Ashmead . Philadelphia : L.H. Everts & co., 1884.

Processing Information

The records were transferred from the Gibbons Home when it was sold in 2000. The collections included office records, Gibbons family pictures which remained in the Home, family oil paintings and memorabilia. The pictures were processed separately. Materials which belonged to former residents were returned to the Board of the Gibbons Home. In 2003, a small amount additional papers was added to the collection including survey plans and the Gibbons cemetery plot and memorial plan. Includes survey plans, Gibbons cemetery plot and memorial plan, and miscellaneous papers. In 2007, oil portraits of Joseph and Hannah Gibbons and glass portraits of Emma and Sallie Gibbons were placed on long-term loan at Rosemont Presbyterian Village, Rosemont, PA.

Gibbons Home Records
FHL Staff
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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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Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA