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William Canby diary and commonplace book

Identifier: HCS-003-006

Scope and Contents

In his diary, William Canby records his involvement as a member of the Haverford Loganian Society and the Penn Literary Society, becoming a teller in the latter. As a member of these societies, he participated in discussions concerning a new greenhouse and debated different social and historical questions. He documents sermons at the Quaker Meeting House and, although he occassionally mentions other lecturers, Canby mainly focuses on lessons form D.B. Smith in Moral Philosophy, Religion, and Anatomy. At Haverford, Canby documents his run-ins with the school disciplinarian, "Old John," for staying up past bed time, staying out late in the evening, drinking, smoking, and making "milk toast" after hours; he was punished with isolation for most of these transgressions. Canby's final examinations at Haverford were in History, Philosophy, and Surveying.


  • Creation: 1837-1839


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical Note

William Canby was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 11, 1822, to James Canby and Elizabeth Roberts. He began attending Haverford College in 1837, graduating two years later in 1839. On April 30, 1846, he married Ann Tatnall. Canby was a member of the 4th and Arch streets body of Friends, a farmer, and a "prominent and esteemed businessman." He died in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 15, 1897, at the age of 75.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 box)




William Canby's diary details his two years (1837-1839) as a student at Haverford College including extracurriculars, academics, weather, and social excursions.


Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Custodial History

Copied from photostat- December, 1933, by Anna B. Hewitt, Assistant Curator of Quakeriana.


The William Canby diary was loaned to Haverford College in 1930 by Henry S. Canby to create photocopic.

Related Materials

(HCQ.003.001) Haverford Loganian Society records

Processing Information

Processed by David Canada; completed October, 2016.

William Canby diary, 1837-1839
David Canada
October, 2016
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