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Anthony Benezet letters

Identifier: HC.MC-852

Summary of collection

Many of the letters relate to Benezet's views on slavery and his work to end the slave trade. Other topics discussed are: the use of taxes to pay for war; the condition of Indigenous Americans; his school and related thoughts on teaching. There are references to various Quaker publications, including his “The plain path to Christian perfection...,” “Some observations on the situation... of the Indian natives” and “The Pennsylvania spelling book: or Youth's friendly instructor...,” publication of an Elizabeth Webb letter and Samuel Smith's “History of New Jersey.” In addition to general news of other Friends, the letters contain religious reflections on friendship, the importance of peace, wealthy Quakers, intolerance and inconsistency among Christians. The bulk of the letters are addressed to George Dillwyn (1738-1820) of Burlington, N.J.; other recipients of letters are Samuel Allinson, Moses Brown, Edward Cathrall, Queen Charlotte of Great Britain, John Fothergill, Samuel Fothergill, Selina Hastings (Countess of Huntingdon), Israel Pemberton, Joseph Phipps, Robert Pleasants, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Jonah Thompson and Caspar Wistar. There are also a few illustrations and receipts.

Manuscripts (includes letters, manuscripts and typed transcripts, photocopies)


  • Creation: 1750 - 1936


Conditions Governing Access

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17).

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Note

Anthony Benezet (1713-1784) was a native of France who became a Quaker at age fourteen. In 1731 he came to Philadelphia and in 1736 married Joyce Marriott. He was a teacher for most of his life and was active in promoting an end to slavery and the slave trade. He wrote and distributed many papers and tracts dealing with slavery, American Indians and education.

(Source for biographical information: Dictionary of Quaker Biography)


.5 linear ft. (1 box)

Language of Materials



A collection of letters of Anthony Benezet (1713-1784), a prominent Friend, philanthropist and teacher. These letters, which are addressed to various persons, reflect cultural and religious aspects, the efforts of Friends to abolish slavery, interest in education, opposition to intolerance and war, missionary work, and observations on Indigenous Americans. Mention is made in the letters of Conrad Weiser, George Whitfield, Samuel Wetherill, and others; and there are frequent references to publications in which Benezet was interested.

Arrangement of letters

All letters (with noted exceptions) are by Benezet and are arranged alphabetically by recipient in folders. A brief notation in included as a guide to topics discussed in the material.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Charles Evans, 1930; Mrs. W.P. Buffum, 1933; some purchased by Haverford College

Related Materials

Additional Anthony Benezet material may be found in: William Penn Charter School Archives, 1666-­1981 (HC.MC.1115); George Vaux Collection of correspondence and documents, 1659-­1914 (HC.MC.1167); Allinson family papers, 1702-­1949 (HC.MC.968)

General note

[Note: see Friend Anthony Benezet / by George S. Brookes. Phila.: U. of P. Press, 1937, for annotated transcripts of these letters.]

Anthony Benezet Letters, 1750-1936
Diane Rofini
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • June 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

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