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Elkinton, Waring Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1239

Scope and Contents

This collection spans almost two centuries (1815-2006) and offers insight into the daily lives and work of the Elkinton and Waring families. The collection focuses on Howard and Katherine Elkinton and Theodora, their daughter, their daughter, who married Thomas Waring.

The papers provide insight into the private and public aspects of their lives, including Howard and Katharine Elkinton's work to assist in post-World War I France and again in Germany during World War II, both times under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee. It is also includes information about the life of Theodora Elkinton Waring, who experienced events of the war when she and her brother attended a Quaker school at Eerde in the Netherlands, and again after the war in Finland, when she was a newly-married woman working with Thomas Waring, her husband, to help rebuild houses. The collection also tells the story of their intense relationship, which ended in divorce, and of Elkinton-Waring's determination to continue her education. She received her doctorate after her five children were grown and continued to give service as a chaplain.

In addition, the collection includes journals and letters of Evans, Stokes, Cope, and Mason family members, including the journal of Joseph Elkinton who worked among Native Americans in New York in 1816, as well as a letter of Sarah Moore Grimke and assorted papers of Peter Elkington, son of Howard and Katharine, and the children of Thomas and Theodora Elkinton Waring.

Other materials include detailed genealogical charts, biographical information, and photographs of various members of this extended family.


  • Creation: 1815-2006


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical / Historical

Katharine Wistar Mason Elkinton (1892-1961) was the daughter of Quakers Katharine Evans Stokes Mason and Samuel Mason. She attended Westtown School and took courses at a business college. She married Howard Elkinton in October of 1916. During World War I, she and Howard worked for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in France as relief workers (1917-1919). She taught and worked in the maternity ward of a hospital in Chalons while Howard was posted in Sermaize. Upon their return to the United States, the couple helped to found Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting. In 1923, Katharine Elkinton established, along with business partner Sydney Cole, the Germantown Book Store in the front room of their home. The bookstore closed when both women were expecting babies. A printed postcard for the bookstore showed a Hessian soldier fleeing Philadelphia. In 1938, Katharine and Howard went to Germany; while Howard was director of the AFSC Berlin office, Katharine helped over 1,000 professional Jewish women emigrate to Australia.

Howard West Elkinton (1892-1955), the son of Joseph Elkinton and Sarah West Passmore, was a graduate of Haverford College and worked for the Philadelphia Quartz Company, a family business, until ca. 1930. He married Katharine Mason in October of 1916. They both worked in France during World War I, he in Sermaize doing harvesting work. He went to Germany in 1938 under AFSC auspices, this time as director of their Berlin office. He suffered broken bones in a car accident on his way to Poland. Back in the United States, Howard joined the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation in 1944 to assist Wilbur Thomas in editing the Schurz magazine and the American-German Review, and became the executive director in 1946. He returned to Germany in 1947 and from 1948 to 1949, to investigate projects for the Oberlaender Trust and Foundation where he helped enable the rebuilding of the Goethe house and the establishment of the Free University in West Berlin.

Bernard Waring (1876-1959) founded the firm of Yarnall-Waring Company with D. Robert Yarnall. He was one of the founders of the American Friends Service Committee in 1917 and was on the committee to set up Civilian Public Service camps for conscientious objectors to be run by Quakers.

Thomas Waring (1921-2001), son of Quakers Bernard and Grace Waring, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1948. He spent the summer of 1942 on Wilbur and Mildred Young's share cropper land, and later worked on the Taylor farm, before transferring to a Civilian Public Service camp at Big Flats, New York and later in Coleville, California and Wells, Nevada as a conscientious objector in lieu of military service. He later served as an orderly at the Elmira hospital, a psychiatric institution. He and Theodora Elkinton married in 1946, and in 1947, the pair went to Finland as AFSC relief workers to help rebuild houses. In 1948, Thomas began teaching at the Shady Hill School in Nahant, Massachusetts, then Graland in Denver, Colorado, and back to Massachusetts (to teach and later as headmaster) at the Cambridge Friends School. He was clerk of Wellesley Meeting until 1978. He and Theodora divorced in 1979, and he later married Shirley Norton.

Theodora Elkinton Waring (1927-), daughter of Howard and Katharine Elkinton, attended Germantown Friends School from 1940 to 1944. Prior to that, she attended the Quaker school in Eerde (Netherlands), while her father worked for the AFSC in Germany. She began her involvement with Young Friends Fellowship in 1935 when she was 16; in 1943, she went to a Junior Work Camp at Vinal Haven Island in Maine; she started her association with Young Friends in 1943 as well. She attended Smith College as a religion major, but did not graduate. After her marriage to Thomas Waring in 1946, at Coulter Street Meeting in Philadelphia, they went to do relief work for refugees in Karelia, Finland. Their first child was born in 1949, and four more children followed. Thomas Waring's jobs took them to Massachusetts and Colorado and back to the east coast. She received her bachelor's from Simmons University in 1971, a master's in education from Lesley College in 1973, a master's in divinity from Harvard University, and finally a doctorate from Boston University School of Theology in 1983. This education prepared her to serve as a chaplain at the New England Baptist Hospital and later at the Danbury State Hospital. In 2001, she traveled to Japan to study Inazo Nitobe, who had married her great-aunt Mary Elkinton. Elkinton Waring is author of the book Sacred trust: a Quaker family since 1816, published in 2007.


11.51 linear ft. (27 boxes, 1 tube)

Language of Materials



This collection includes information about multiple generations of the Elkinton and Waring families. It is concentrated on two generations: firstly, that of Howard West Elkinton (1892-1955) and Katharine Wistar Mason Elkinton (1892/3-1961), his wife, and secondly, that of their daughter, Theodora Elkinton (1927-) who married Thomas Waring (1921-2001). It is a story of life choices made by these Quakers: for Howard and Katharine Elkinton, to serve under the American Friends Service Committee in Europe after World War I and during World War II providing relief aid, and for Theodora and Tom Waring to continue this tradition by serving in Finland after World War II and then in the field of education in the United States.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Elkinton, Waring Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 2012 by Theodora Elkinton Waring.

Related Materials

An oral history interview with Theodora Elkinton Waring taken in March 2012 by Diana Franzusoff Peterson can be accessed at:

Separated Materials

The following have been transferred to Quaker books (see Tripod for additional cataloging):

  • The Lark's Nest / by L.V. Hodgkin. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, n.d.
  • Sally Wister's Journal: a Tured Narrative. Bedford: Applewood Books, 1995.
  • An American Quaker Inside Nazi Germany... / by Leonard S. Kenworth. Kennett Square: Quaker Publications, 1982.
  • Another Dimension of the Holocaust: An American Quaker Inside Nazi Germany / by Leonard Kenworthy. Kennett Squares: World Affairs Material, 1982.
  • Friends Face the World / ed. Leonard Kenworthy. Kennett Square: Quaker Publications, 1987.
  • An Experiment in Frienddship... / by David Hinshaw. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1947.
  • Quakers and Jews / by Allan Kohrman. 2004.
  • Quaker Pioneers in Russia / by Jane Benson. London: Headley Bros., 1902.
  • A Service of Love in Wartime / by Rufus M. Jones. New York: Macmillan, 1920.
  • The Life of Dr. Nitobe / by Sukeo Kitasawa. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1953.
  • Reminiscences of Childhood / by Inazo Nitobe. Tokyo: Maruzen, 1934.
  • The Ancestry and Descendants of George Elkinton of Burlington County, N.J. / by Arthur Adams. Hartford, 1945.
  • Dr. Inazo Nitobe, Mary P.E. Nitobe. J. Passmore Elkinton, 1955.
  • The Friends' Library ... / ed. William Evans and Thos. Evans. v. 22. Philadelphia: Jos. Rakestraw, 1838.
  • Quiet Helpers Exhibit. Boston, Jan.-Feb., 2003.
  • Quiet Helpers: Quaker Service in Postwar Germany / by Achim von Borries. Quaker Home Service & AFSC, 2000.
  • In Rememberance [sic] of Things Past / by Peter W. Elkington. Revelstoke, B.C.: Peters, 1992.
  • Pocono Lake Preserve ... / by James Zug et al. Pocono Lake Preserve, 2004.
  • A Quaker Promise Kept... / by Lois Barton. Eugene Oregon: Spencer Butte, 1990.


The Elkinton family name has been spelled variously as both Elkington and Elkinton, some members using one or the other spelling throughout their lives, others, including Theodora Elkinton Waring, changing the spelling during their lifetimes.

Letters and other materials are not all described, though total numbers are estimated for each section. Rather, letters or other documents of significance are chosen for description.

Processing Information

Processed by Diana Franzusoff Peterson; completed July, 2013.

Elkinton, Waring Family papers, 1815-2006
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
July, 2013
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 Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US