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Hannah Bacon Evans letters

Identifier: HC.MC-1252

Scope and Contents

Hannah Bacon Evans (1839-1939) of Philadelphia is the chief letter writer in this collection. She wrote almost exclusively to her niece, Edith Wistar Stokes, who married William Silver, but occasionally to another niece, Esther, who seemed to live primarily with Bacon Evans. Silver lived in Hulings, West Virginia, and then in Maryland. The letters date from 1888 until 1925.

The letters mention family events, attending Quaker meeting, many Quakers whom Bacon Evans sees, daily events and amusements, clothing styles, domestic life, servants, treatment for ailments, the weather, children's upbringing, and local travel. She mentions her uncle, Thomas Cope, and family connections with the Emlen, Cope, Stokes, Rhoads, and Mason families. The letters form a picture of the life of an unmarried Quaker woman in Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With the passage of time, the letters note changes in families, such as Edith Silver's children growing up, Bacon Evans's handwriting changing, health issues becoming more prominent, and the weather becoming a bigger issue.

Highlights include:

  • 1897. Tells Edith not to wash and iron, as that is what "the colored are used to working along at such things today and don't seem to mind it."
  • 1898 3/6. Heard Joseph Hoffman play piano and it was remarked he was better than Paderewsky
  • 1900 6/21. Visits Haverford College and reports on hearing J. Rendel Harris speak on Lady Guyon
  • 1903 7/22. Reference to the death of Rufus Jones's son
  • 1907 6/9. Burning of Conowingo bridge
  • 1908 3/28. Missionaries going to Brumanna, Syria
  • 1909 2/16. Book club reading
  • 1909 3/17. Agenda of a Tea Meeting
  • 1911 11/9. Tea Meeting where William Warder Cadbury will speak
  • 1920 12/19. Reference to Katharine Elkinton and Honey Run and the help


  • Creation: 1888-1925


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical / Historical

Hannah Bacon Evans (1839-1939) was the daughter of Quakers Thomas Evans (1798-1868), one of the founders of Haverford College, and Catharine Wistar (1802-1871). She never married. She had three brothers and one sister, Katharine Wistar Evans who married Francis Stokes. Her main correspondent in this collection was their daughter, Edith Wistar Stokes, her niece. Bacon Evans was active in the Employment Society.

From: Tapestry Threads: Jonathan & Rachel Cope Evans, 1843-1911 / by J. Morris Evans, 1993.

Edith Wistar Stokes Silver (1873-1949) was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Quakers Katharine Wistar Evans and Francis Stokes. She married William Silver in 1897. She was active in civic organizations and was a member of Deer Creek Monthly Meeting, Maryland.

From: American Friend 37 (1949): 142.


1.25 linear ft. (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



The letters of Hannah Bacon Evans (1839-1939) are written almost exclusively to her niece, Edith Wistar Stokes Silver (1873-1949), offering a picture of the life of an unmarried Quaker woman in Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also letters to other family members, primarily on family life, but also missionary work and other topics. The letters have been transcribed.


The Hannah Bacon Evans letters were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1995 by Alison Stokes MacLean through J. Morris Evans.

Processing Information

Processed by Diana Franzusoff Peterson.



Hannah Bacon Evans letters, 1888-1925
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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