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Cadbury-Brown Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1177

Scope and Contents

The first section of the collection primarily contains letters of the Brown and Cadbury families about family, business, and Quaker issues. Includes news of personal matters, health, the sheep and merino wool business of John Brown, a visit of Elias Hicks to the meeting at Dover, New Hampshire, education, and attendance at Meeting. Correspondents include: Amos Brown, John Brown, Moses Brown, William Brown, Lydia Shinn Cadbury, Richard Cadbury, and Sarah Shinn Cadbury. There is also a mask of Caroline Cadbury Brown taken in her youth.

The first addition consists of over 240 letters between Caroline Cadbury (1851-1914) and Thomas Kite Brown (1851-1929) during their engagement. As their engagement was prolonged over three years, the letters show the progression of their relationship as they get to know each other better. Some letters include small pressed flowers or samples of fabric from new clothes Caroline is sewing for herself. Some of Tom’s 1875 letters offer a glimpse into the life of a nineteenth-century teacher at Westtown School. Other letters touch on the couple’s intellectual interests and spiritual strivings. There are also letters between Caroline’s parents Richard Cadbury (1825-1897) and Lydia Comfort Shinn (1828-1904) during their own engagement, as well as letters from Caroline to her mother, describing her early married life, and later ones to her children, written during a 1906 tour of Europe. Miscellaneous items include an invitation to the wedding of Caroline Cadbury and Thomas K. Brown, Caroline’s will, pages from the diary of Caroline’s daughter, and letters to and from other members of the Cadbury-Brown family.

Much of the second addition consists of the approximately 500 letters from Caroline Cadbury Brown (1851-1914). Correspondents include her children, brother, father, aunts, and cousins, but most of these letters are to her mother, Lydia Comfort Shinn Cadbury (1828-1904), and her husband, Thomas Kite Brown (1851-1929). There are also many letters from Thomas and Lydia to Caroline. With these two correspondents in particular, Caroline discusses such topics as the tasks of housekeeping, the progress of her children, and religious views. The letters from Caroline to Thomas during 1888 and 1889, however, show a different side of her. As she is resting for her health in Clifton Springs, New York, she discusses her mental state as well as frustrations with her children and position in life.

Letters from the children of Caroline Cadbury and Thomas Kite Brown are also included in this addition. The letters of Richard Cadbury Brown, Shipley Brown, and Thomas Kite Brown, Jr. offer glimpses into life at Haverford College during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The letters of Bertha Brown do the same for Bryn Mawr College. Many of the children go abroad, and in their letters home discuss the Quakers they meet in different parts of the world and the cultural differences that they perceive.

There are also letters from Caroline's brother, Richard Tapper Cadbury, her father, Richard Cadbury Sr., her aunt Anna Shinn, and cousin Sue Shipley. There are several letters from other friends and family members to the Cadbury Brown family. Diaries of Caroline Cadbury Brown and Lydia C. Brown are also included. Miscellaneous items include photographs, silk gloves, and programs for various concerts and exhibitions.


  • Creation: 1804-1974


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Richard Cadbury (1825-1897) was a partner in a dry goods business, which he then bought out. Later in life he worked as an accountant and as treasurer to public charities. He married Lydia Comfort Shinn in 1850, and they had four children, only two of whom survived, Caroline and Richard Tapper.

Caroline Cadbury (1851-1914) was the daughter of Lydia Comfort Shinn Cadbury (1828-1904) and Richard Cadbury (1825-1897), and the sister of Richard Tapper Cadbury. Caroline married Thomas Kite Brown (1851-1929), son of Rebecca Brown and Nathaniel Howland Brown, in 1876. Thomas Kite Brown was a teacher at Westtown Boarding School. The couple had eight children, two of whom died in infancy. Surviving children were Richard Cadbury, Bertha, Shipley, Thomas Kite, Jr., Carroll Thornton, and Lydia Caroline. (Lydia married her first cousin Henry J. Cadbury.) In 1896, the Browns opened Back Log Camp, for paying guests who came to fish and camp, and the whole family was often involved in the project. When Caroline was sixty she traveled to the Friends’ Mission in Tokyo.

Thomas Kite Brown was a teacher at Westtown Boarding School, and his sons Richard Cadbury and Carroll Thornton followed in his footsteps becoming teachers there after graduation from Haverford College, where all four of the Cadbury Brown sons attended college. Richard Cadbury also taught at Wilmington College, Bootham School in York, England, and the Friends Select School in Washington, D.C. Thomas Kite Brown Jr. studied at the Graduate School of the University of Pennsylvania from 1907-1909, the University of Berlin in 1909, and Harvard University from 1909-1912 where he received a Ph.D. Bertha attended Bryn Mawr College and Lydia attended Wellesley College. In the summer of 1906, Caroline and Thomas traveled abroad to Europe. Their destinations included England, France, Switzerland, and Italy.

Anna Kaighn Cadbury (1846-1923) and Joel Cadbury were parents of Henry J. Cadbury (1883-1974).

Annie Brown was the wife of Richard Cadbury Brown. They married on December 3, 1904 and had two children, Emma Perry (b. 1906) and Clarissa Browning (b. 1909)

Lucy Haines was the wife of Shipley Brown. They married on October 8, 1905. They had three children, Alice Deborah (b. 1907), Thomas Shipley (b. 1912), and Elizabeth.

Nathaniel H. Brown was the father of Thomas K. Brown.

Anna Shipley was born September 24, 1854 and was the daughter of Samuel Shipley and Anna Shinn, Lydia Comfort Shinn Cadbury’s sister. She married Sam Troth, born January 18, 1851, on June 27, 1883. On May 30, 1884 they had their only child, John Theodore Troth. She died either in childbirth or shortly after.

Anna Shinn (10/3/1826-4/24/1888) was the daughter of Earl Shinn and Sarah Comfort. She married Samuel Shipley on September 10, 1851.

Sue Shipley was born on November 18, 1852, the daughter of Anna Shinn and Samuel Shipley. She never married. The bulk of the letters are to Caroline Cadbury Brown as the two had been close and visited often their entire lives.

Information is from A History of the Cadbury Family by John F. Crosfield; The Biographical Catalog of the Matriculates of Haverford College: 1833-1922 prepared by a Committee of the Alumni Association; Cadbury pedigree: American section 1965 / With Sesquicentennial memento, by Henry J. Cadbury, Haverford, Pa., 1965 (chart 3); and internal evidence.


6.25 linear ft. (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



19th-century papers of the interrelated Cadbury and Brown Quaker families.


The first section of the Cadbury-Brown Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1992 by Christopher Joel Cadbury. The first addition is accession #5213, probably from the same donor. The second addition is the gifts of Elizabeth Cadbury Musgrave, 2001 and Mrs. Carroll T. Brown and Henry J. Cadbury, 1974 (accessions #2786, #3029, #4522 and #6647).

Related Materials

Jones-Cadbury Papers (HC.MC.1172)

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown, except for first accession, which was processed by by J’aime Wells, completed March 2007. Second accession processed in 2008. Reboxed and finding aid revised by Cole Hannah, July 2022.

Cadbury-Brown Family papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • April 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project
  • July 2022: Reboxed and finding aid revised by Cole Hannah

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 Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US