Sarah Hopper Palmer Papers
Scope and Contents
The collection contains material on the Palmer, Hunn and Jenkins families, family correspondence, legal and financial papers, and memorabilia. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Isaac T. Hopper which includes references to his work with Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Anti-slavery Society of New York, and the New York Prison Association.
- Palmer, Sarah Hopper, 1796-1885 (Person)
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Copyright and Rights Information
Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.
Biographical / Historical
Sarah Hopper Palmer (1796-1885) was the eldest child of Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), noted Hicksite Quaker abolitionist and social reformer. The collection was apparently compiled as a basis for Lydia Maria Child's Life of Isaac T. Hopper, which was first published in 1853. The original manuscript of the published book is included in the collection.
- 1771-1787Isaac Tatem Hopper was born 12/3/1771 on a farm in Woodbury, New Jersey. His grandfather had been a Quaker, but was disowned for marriage to a non-Quaker. His father, Levi Hopper, attended Meeting but never became a member. Rachel Tatem, his mother, was born a Presbyterian, but joined the Society of Friends twenty-four years after her marriage. Isaac was sent to Philadelphia at age 16 to learn tailoring from his mother's brother.
- 1793-1811, 1811-1820On 9/18/1795 Isaac married his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Tatum, daughter of Quakers John and Sarah (Ward) Tatum) of Woodbury, NJ, he having joined Friends about two years earlier. Living in Philadelphia, Hopper soon became involved with the Pennsylvania Abolition Society as an active and leading member and became widely known as a friend and advisor to fugitives in emergencies. In the course of these experiences he gradually developed a strong interest in prisoners and those released from prison. He helped found a society for the employment of the poor, was an overseer of the Benezet school for colored children, taught in a free school for colored adults, was an unsalaried inspector of the prison, and was always on call to the poor or sick. He also had a large family to support, and with so many demands on his time gradually got into debt and was disowned for that reason by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District in 1811. He was eventually able to pay off his debts, and was reinstated in membership in 1820.
- 1822-1830In 1822 his wife Sarah died, leaving nine children. In 1824 he married Hannah Attmore, daughter of a close friend. After the Separation of 1827, he was offered a job running a Hicksite bookstore in New York City, so the family moved there. In 1830 he made a trip to Ireland to settle some disputed claims his wife, Hannah, had on the estate of her maternal grandfather. There are several letters in the collection written from Ireland and England, some regarding the prejudice which had been stirred up against him by Orthodox Friends in America. Back in New York he became active in the New York Anti-Slavery Society and also very active in the New York Prison Association.
- 1841-1852In 1841 Lydia Maria Child came to New York to edit the National Anti-Slavery Standard and lived with the Hopper family for some years. On 8/4/1841 Isaac T. Hopper and his son-in-law, James Sloan Gibbons, were disowned by the New York Monthly Meeting (Hicksite). The cause of the disownment was the publication in the National Anti-Slavery Standard on March 25, 1841, of an article entitled “A Rare Specimen of a Quaker Preacher”, written by Oliver Johnson, a non-Quaker. The article denounced the inflammatory preaching against Abolitionists done by George F. White, a minister at Rose Street Preparative Meeting. Both Hopper and Gibbons served on the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society which published the newspaper, and therefore were considered to approve the article, which was regarded as derogatory by New York Hicksite Friends. In addition, some New York Friends objected to Hicksite Friends working with Friends from the other branch of Quakerism, and with non-Friends. Hopper accepted the disownment with good grace and continued to attend meeting for worship until the end of his life.
- 1845His labors on behalf of released prisoners were aided greatly by his daughter, Abby Gibbons. With the help of other women she established an asylum for these women, in which Hopper took a deep interest. This institution still exists, and is called the Women's Prison Association and Isaac T. Hopper Home, on Second Avenue in New York City. Descendants of Hopper still serve on the Board in 1978.
- 1852Isaac T. Hopper died at Abby Gibbon's home on May 7, 1852, surrounded by all but two of his ten surviving children.
3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Sarah Hopper Palmer (1796-1885) was the eldest child of Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), noted Hicksite Quaker abolitionist and social reformer. The collection was apparently compiled as a basis for Lydia Maria Child's Life of Isaac T. Hopper, which was first published in 1853. The original manuscript of the published book is included in the collection. The collection contains material on the Palmer, Hunn and Jenkins families, family correspondence, legal and financial papers, and memorabilia. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Isaac T. Hopper which includes references to his work with Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Anti-slavery Society of New York, and the New York Prison Association.
The collection divided into eleven series, with five of the series containing correspondence grouped by the individual family member:
- Biographical and genealogical
- Correspondence, Isaac T. Hopper (1807-1852 and n.d.)
- Correspondence, Sarah Hopper Palmer and family
- Correspondence, Sallie Tatem Palmer (daughter of Sarah Hopper Palmer)
- Correspondence, concerning William Gibbons, son of James S. and Abigail H. Gibbons
- Correspondence, Lydia Maria Child, concerning the publication of her biography on Isaac T. Hopper
- Manuscript of Isaac T. Hopper by Lydia Maria Child
- Legal papers, 1705-1865
- Financial papers
- Writings by the Palmer family
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donor: Edward Needles Wright, 1973
Donor: James M. Dunning, 1977 (Gibbons Genealogy)
The collection was given by descendents of Sarah Hopper Palmer
- Palmer, Sarah Hopper, 1796-1885 (Person)
- Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852 (Contributor, Person)
- Palmer, Sarah Hopper, 1796-1885 (Contributor, Person)
- Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 (Contributor, Person)
- New York Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Hicksite : 1828-1957 : New York, N.Y.) (Contributor, Organization)
- An Inventory of the Sarah Hopper Palmer Papers, 1705-1883
- FHL staff
- ca. 1977
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
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 reproductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA