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Stephen G. Cary collection

Identifier: HC.MC-1320

Scope and Contents

This collection includes the personal materials of Stephen G. Cary, including photographs taken throughout his life, materials from his years of foreign service with the American Friends Service Committee as a conscientious objector during and after World War II, correspondence and newspaper clippings about his activism, including his protests against the Vietnam War, writings and clippings about his time as the acting president of Haverford College, and materials from his wife and children. Also included within the collection are historical materials related to relatives of Cary, including photographs, letters, and documents.


  • Creation: 1714-2003


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical Note

Stephen G. Cary was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 21, 1915, and graduated from Germantown Friends School in 1933. He received a bachelor's degree in economics with a minor in chemistry from Haverford in 1937, and a master's in international administration from Columbia University in 1943. He worked in the accounting department of General Electric Company from 1937 to 1939, and as a building materials salesman for the John Manville Sales Corporation from 1939 to 1941. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and served in the Civilian Public Service (CPS) from 1942 to 1946. For two years he was the elected director of two camps in Big Flats, New York, and Elkton, Oregon. He also directed the CPS Overseas Training Unit at Swarthmore College in 1943. He served on the board of Wilmington College in Ohio from 1952 to 1958.

Between 1946 and 1969, Cary was an integral part of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). With Willis Weatherford, he served as chief of American Quaker Relief Operations in Europe from 1946 to 1948, overseeing work in ten countries dealing with the aftermath of WWII; the Quakers earned the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for these humanitarian efforts. In 1955, he was one of five Quakers who took a 12,000 mile tour of Russia in an effort to develop a better understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union. During his years with the AFSC, he held various positions in the National Office of the Committee, including Director of Youth Services; Secretary, American Division; and Associate Executive Secretary. He chaired the AFSC committee that produced the landmark 1955 document “Speak Truth to Power,” an analysis of great power relationships from the pacifist point of view.

In 1965, Cary undertook a fact-finding mission to South Vietnam to explore whether the people there had needs the AFSC might be able to fill. The report was the basis of Quaker service programs in Vietnam for the next decade. Cary himself became an ardent supporter of the antiwar movement. He fasted for a week in 1971 in front of the White House with five clergymen as part of an ecumenical protest against the war, and was part of a 1972 group that tried to block the loading of the USS Nitro, which was taking on ammunition for use by aircraft carriers in Vietnam. Cary demonstrated before Congress in 1968 in support of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. In 1969, he represented the AFSC at a seminar designed to develop contact among the young leaders and professionals of newly independent African nations isolated from one another because of earlier ties to France and Great Britain.

Cary began his service to Haverford College as a member of the Board of Managers from 1955 to 1969. In 1969, he joined the staff as vice president of development, and became vice president of finance and development in 1974. He was named acting president of Haverford from 1977 to 1978. He served as senior vice president of the College from 1979 to 1981, and was clerk of Haverford's faculty meetings during these three years. He died in 2002 at the age of 86.


3.6 linear ft. (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the personal materials of Stephen G. Cary and historical materials collected by Cary about his relatives.


This collection is arranged in five series: Photographs, Correspondence, Files, Engagement Calendars, and Historical Materials. Each series is arranged chronologically. Series I through IV include materials from Stephen G. Cary, his wife, and his children, while series V includes historical materials collected by Cary about his relatives. Notes have been made within the inventory marking folders where original order has been preserved.


The Stephen G. Cary collection was donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in April, 2019 by Dorothy Cary.

Related Materials

  • HC.MC.1240 Stephen G. Cary papers
  • HC.MC.1181 William Huntington papers
  • SCPC.DG.061 Norman G. Whitney papers
  • HC.MC.950.187 Catherine Brinton Cary papers
  • SCPC.DG.125 Dorothy H. Hutchinson papers
  • HC.MC.950.038 Mary G. Cary and John R. Cary papers
  • HC.MC.950.219 Catherine Cary collection
  • HC.MC.975.07.042 "Quakerism and the Ecumenical Movement"

Processing Information

Processed by Alexandra Stern; completed May, 2019.

Stephen G. Cary collection, 1714-2003
Alexandra Stern
May, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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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

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US