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Esther A. and Lloyd Balderston papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1185

Scope and Contents

Correspondence in the collection includes materials from 1885 to 1919. The “Circle” correspondence includes letters of Lloyd Balderston, Mary Alsop Balderston, Esther Balderston Jones, and others, which were written in a round-robin fashion and circulated among the family. Contents include family news, weather, and the rules of the letter writing. Esther Balderston Jones correspondence, primarily written from Japan to her future husband, family, friends, and the Mission Board in Philadelphia, dates from 1914 to 1919. Some of the letters are photocopies. Letters report on details of life in Japan, Esther’s work at Friends Girls School and the students there, references to other missionaries, Tokyo as a city, and events surrounding the coronation of Emperor Yoshihito.

The Esther Balderston Jones materials date from 1911 to 1917. The two diary volumes are in “paragraph a day” format. They document Esther’s leading to become a missionary, her training for missionary work, and her early impressions of Japan. They also document her roots in the Quaker communities of Philadelphia and Japan, as well as her friendship with Inazo and Mary Nitobe. Reports and essays include “True Education,” “Two New Monthly Meetings,” and reports from Japan.

The Lloyd Balderston materials include an autobiographical essay written in 1931, covering his life up to that time. The genealogical notebook includes biographical sketches for the Balderston, Kite, Lloyd, Clement, Alsop, Canby, Walton, and other families. There are also materials about William Warner and the Warner tract, which may be part of Haverford College.

Photographs date from the 1910s through 1930s, and include images of Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and Vladivostok. Photographs are of people and places; only some photographs are labeled. Some of the photographs taken in China include William Warder and Catherine Cadbury, Quaker missionaries in China.

The addition includes miscellaneous correspondence and postcards Esther sent to her family during her 1911 trip to Germany. The notebook “Trip to Jamaica and Cuba” from 1948 documents Esther’s trip, sights, and experiences, including a list of people met and information on the costs of bananas and coconuts. “Travels Abroad...Return to Japan” from 1960 documents Esther and Tom Jones’s return visit to Japan. A notebook containing diary entries from 1915 and 1916 in Japan also includes comments on books she is reading, scripture notes, lecture notes, and personal expenses, mostly from the 1950s. Accounts, stock holdings, notes, 1950-1964 includes accounts, an itinerary for a trip to Puerto Rico, addresses, and reading lists. Notes include book notes, meeting notes, and book lists. Lists and notes, 1960, includes mostly lists of various sorts.

The scrapbook, 1907-1926, includes photographs from Esther Balderston Jones’s childhood, young adulthood, and wedding. Alsop and Balderston family photographs are mostly individual photographs; they are labeled. Wellesley College materials include Esther’s invitation to Phi Beta Kappa. The play “Plus and Minus” was a Westtown faculty play to celebrate its 150th anniversary; the essay “Wonder” is about two psalms. The pressed flowers and doily were removed from other parts of the collection.

“Much Love to All” is an edited version of Esther Balderston Jones’s letters and diaries by Cathy Gaskill. There are several drafts of this work. Diary transcriptions, 1912-1915 are typed versions of a section of the diaries in the first part of this collection. The biographical sketch of Esther Balderston Jones was written by her husband, Thomas E. Jones, and unpublished.

Artifacts include a lacquer writing box and sumi writing brushes presented to Lloyd Balderston upon his departure from the Imperial Japanese University in Sapporo, Japan.


  • Creation: 1885-1961


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

If letters are requested for publication, a descendant of the family should give permission.

Biographical / Historical

Esther Balderston Jones was born April 11, 1891, the second child of Lloyd and Mary (Alsop) Balderston. She attended Germantown Friends School and Westtown School, from which she graduated in 1908. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1913. In 1911 Esther went to Germany for half a year with her former teacher, Ruby Davis. After Wellsley, Esther spent a term at the Hartford School of Missions, since she had been asked to serve in Japan by the Philadelphia Friends’ Board. There she met Thomas E. Jones, a student at the theological school; they became engaged. Esther sailed for Japan to begin her mission work in the fall of 1914; she taught English, the Bible, and sewing, and was also involved with the Japan Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She returned home briefly in 1917 for her marriage on September 29, after which the couple returned to Japan. Esther had three children: David, Canby, and Catharine. The Joneses lived in Japan from 1917 until 1924, teaching, working with the YMCA and YWCA, and undertaking relief work through the American Friends Service Committee. Upon their return to the United States, Tom completed his PhD at Columbia University and then served as president of Fisk University from 1926 to 1946 and Earlham College from 1946 to 1958; Esther followed her husband to these postings. Esther Balderston Jones died in 1967.

Lloyd Balderston Jr. was born July 3, 1863 in Colora, Maryland to Lloyd and Catherine Canby Balderston; he was the youngest of 12 children. He attended Westtown School, then worked on his family farm and as a teacher at Westtown, a Friends boarding school in Barnesville, Ohio, and Friends Select School. He mainly taught chemistry and physics. Lloyd married Mary Alsop on September 16, 1886. Their children were John, Catharine, and Esther. Lloyd Balderston taught chemistry at the College of Agriculture/Imperial Japanese University in Sapporo, Japan from 1917 to 1922. He died in 1933.


2.5 linear ft. (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials documenting the life of Esther Balderston Jones during her time as a missionary in Japan (1914-1924) and from her father, Lloyd Balderston, about family history and geneology.


Material in the collection is arranged into the following sections: Correspondence, Esther Balderston Jones, Lloyd Balderston, Photographs, Addition, and Artifcats.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Catherine Jones Gaskill, May 1994, June 1995, June & September 2002 & 2009; Emma Cadbury & Ann B. Trentman, May 2004; Charles Lord, 2008. Addition gift of Catherine Jones Gaskill, 2014.

Related Materials

HC.MC 1038 Esther A. Balderston Jones Papers; HCS.003.047 Lloyd Balderston papers

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown; revised by Sarah Horowitz, September 2018.

Esther Balderson Jones and Lloyd Balderston papers
Original author unknown; revised by Sarah Horowitz
Unknown; revised September 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • September 2018: Addition added and finding aid revised; whole collection rehoused.
  • March 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly

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