Martha Schofield Papers
Scope and Contents
This collection contains biographical information, personal correspondence (1856-1916), and writings (primarily diaries, 1858-1903) by Martha Schofield, a Pennsylvania teacher who taught free blacks in South Carolina and founded the Schofield Normal and Industrial School in Aiken, S.C. Also included are financial and legal papers and School bulletins, annual reports, and some other papers. Among the correspondents are Martha Schofield's extended family and Susan B. Anthony.
- 1853-1944 (bulk 1856-1916)
- Schofield, Martha (Person)
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Collection is open for research.
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Biographical / Historical
Martha Fell Schofield was born Feb. 1, 1839, near Newtown, Bucks County, PA. She was the daughter of Oliver W. Schofield and Mary (Jackson) Schofield who were married at Darby Meeting in 1834. Both her parents were involved in a number of reform activities, including abolition, temperance, women's rights, and improved education. The family included twin older sisters, Sarah Jane and Lydia, born 1835, a brother, Benjamin, born 1837, and Eliza, a younger sister born in 1840. Of the four sisters, only Sarah Jane married, to Samuel Shinn Ash.
Martha was educated at the schools at Newtown and Byberry and the Sharon Female Seminary in Darby, Pa., which was operated by their mother's brother, John Jackson, and his wife, Rachel. Martha began her own career in teaching at age eighteen at Bayside, Long Island, N.Y., where her aunt, Eliza (Jackson) Bell, lived. She also taught in Harrison, Westchester Co., N.Y., in a school connected with Purchase Monthly Meeting.
In 1865 Martha Schofield went to the islands off the coast of South Carolina to help educate the newly freed African Americans. She found the malarial conditions devastating to her health and moved inland to Aiken, South Carolina, where she founded what became the Schofield Normal and Industrial School in 1868.
The School was partially supported by the Pennsylvania Friends Relief Association, headquartered in Germantown, Pa., and was headed by Sarah Fisher Corlies (sister of Deborah F. Wharton) and Elizabeth Dorsey. The School received some state aid for a number of years. By 1882 there were over 200 pupils, and in that year, the School was incorporated.
Need for financial aid were constant through the years, and a number of people from the Hicksite branch of Philadelphia and New York Yearly Meetings supported the school. By 1883 there were over 400 pupils who, in addition to their education, were taught a trade. In 1884 a boarding department was opened, as well as a student aid fund. In 1887 Edward Hicks Magill and Howard M. Jenkins of Swarthmore College were among those serving on the Board of Managers, and the school house was partitioned into a dormitory for boys. In 1890, the Deborah F. Wharton Industrial Hall, with half of the cost donated with by her sons, was completed.
By 1910 the school occupied two entire blocks of the town of Aiken, with three large brick buildings, two large frame buildings, and various other improvements. In addition, the school owned a 280 acre farm three miles outside of Aiken with its buildings. The running expenses were principally made up by annual gifts from voluntary subscribers. With the exception of the headmaster or headmistress and Martha Schofield, who served as Business Manager, all departments heads and teachers were black graduates of the School.
The night before the School was to celebrate the 77th birthday of its founder, Martha Schofield died in her sleep. She died in February 1, 1916 in Aiken, S. C., and is buried in the Darby Friends burial ground in Darby, Pa.. The Schofield School was absorbed into the public school system in 1952.
3.75 Linear Feet (8 boxes)
Martha Schofield (1839-1916) was a Hicksite Quaker teacher from Pennsylvania who founded the Schofield Normal and Industrial School in Aiken, S. C., in 1868 to provide education for formerly enslaved people. The School gradually evolved into a boarding school for training young blacks in industrial trades or to become teachers. It was absorbed into the public school system in 1952. Martha Fell Schofield was born Feb. 1, 1839, near Newtown, Bucks County, PA. She was the daughter of Oliver W. Schofield and Mary (Jackson) Schofield. Both her parents were involved in reform activities, including abolition, temperance, women's rights, and improved education. She died Feb. 1, 1916. This collection contains biographical information, personal correspondence (1856-1916), and writings (primarily diaries, 1858-1903) by Martha Schofield. Also included are financial and legal papers and School bulletins, annual reports, and some other papers. Among the correspondents are Martha Schofield's extended family and Susan B. Anthony.
The collection is divided into eight series:
- Biographical and genealogical materials
- Financial and legal papers
- Shoefield Normal and Industrial School
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donors: Eleanor Jenkins Zendt and James L. and Herbert Dresser, 1980, 1985
The collection was preserved by Martha Schofield's niece, Mary Schofield Ash who married George H. Jenkins. It was given to Friends Historical Library by her daughter Eleanor Jenkins Zendt and the family of her daughter, Elizabeth Jenkins Dresser.
Partially processed by Katherine Smedley Yelling who used the papers in writing a biography of Martha Schofield, published 1987. The collection was re-foldered and a new finding aid produced in 2009. The pictures were removed to PA 142.
- African Americans -- Education -- South Carolina -- Aiken
- African Americans -- Education -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century
- Aiken (S.C.) -- Social conditions -- History -- 19th century
- Anti-fascist movements -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Education -- South Carolina -- Aiken
- Freedmen -- Education -- South Carolina
- Johns Island (S.C.) -- History -- 19th century
- Missionaries -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century
- Peace -- Societies, etc. -- History -- Sources
- Peace movements -- Europe -- History -- Sources
- Peace movements -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Peace movements -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Quakers -- Diaries
- Quakers -- Social life and customs
- Quakers -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century
- Saint Helena Island (S.C.) -- History -- 19th century
- Sea Islands -- Social conditions -- 19th century
- Society of Friends -- Education
- South Carolina -- Social conditions -- 19th century
- Wadmalaw Island (S.C.) -- History -- 19th century
- War resistance movements -- History -- Sources
- Women -- South Carolina -- Diaries
- Women missionaries -- South Carolina -- History -- 19th century
- Schofield, Martha (Person)
- Schofield, Martha (Contributor, Person)
- American League for Peace and Democracy (Contributor, Organization)
- American League against War and Fascism (Contributor, Organization)
- American Peace Society (Contributor, Organization)
- Christian Arbitration and Peace Society (Contributor, Organization)
- Schofield Normal and Industrial School (Aiken, S.C.) (Contributor, Organization)
- An Inventory of the Martha Schofield Papers, 1853-1944 (bulk 1856-1916)
- FHL staff
- 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
- 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.
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