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Edward Hicks Manuscript Collection

 Collection — othertype: MSS-016
Identifier: SFHL-MSS-016


This collection is composed of the draft manuscript of the memoirs and journal of Edward Hicks and related miscellaneous papers. Included are his drafts of the first pages of the memoirs, photocopies of letters and sermons of Hicks relating to the Hicksite Separation, abolition, and Quaker spirituality. Also included are a typescript copy of Samuel Johnson's letter to Edward Hicks on slavery, the original of Hicks' responses, and a letter from Isaac Parry to Benjamin Ferris after the death of Edward Hicks concerning the publication of the memoirs.


  • Creation: 1836 - 1952
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1836 - 1849


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Hicks was an American primitive artist and a prominent Quaker minister. Born in 1780, Hicks grew up on a farm in Bucks County. During his lifetime, he was well-known within the Quaker community, but beginning in the 1930s, his reputation as a folk artist rapidly grew. Today he is best known for his paintings of the "Peaceable Kingdom," of which he painted sixty versions. A relative of Elias Hicks, Edward Hicks was a Hicksite and an abolitionist. He died in 1849.


.5 Linear Feet (1 box)




Arranged in three series: 1: Correspondence; 2: Writings; 3: Miscellaneous.

Custodial History

According to his biographer, Alice Ford, the bulk of the Edward Hicks papers descended to his granddaughter, Sarah Worstall Hicks, daughter of his son Isaac. Her niece, Hannah Hicks, married J. Stanley Lee.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Hicks Memoir/Journal, gift of Hannah H. and J. Stanley Lee, 1952; she was the great-granddaughter of Edward Hicks. Gift of Edward R. Barnsley, 1952. Gift of Alice Ford, 1961 and 1980. Transferred from Exeter Monthly Meeting papers, 1991.

Related Materials

Published journal: Memoirs of the life and religious labors of Edward Hicks, late of Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania / Written by himself. Philadelphia : Merrihew and Thompson, 1851.

Alice Ford, Research notes for the biography of Edward Hicks, c. 1952, Small Collection 040.

Letter of Samuel Johnson, to Edward Hicks : with his reply. Philadelphia, 1845.

See also FHL book catalog and PG 7 files.

Separated Materials

The acidic Contoura positives and negative copies donated by J. Stanley Lee were copied onto acid-free paper and removed from the collection.

Processing Information

In 1952, Edward Barnsley, noted historian of Newtown, Bucks Co., Pa., donated fragments of the memoirs together with some correspondence and miscellaneous papers which were subsequently processed as a Small Collection titled Collection of Edward Hicks Papers, SC 056. The following year, J. Stanley Lee, collector and married to a great-granddaughter of Edward Hicks, donated the journal and related miscellaneous papers which were cataloged within the FHL genre collection, Journals. These papers and others were used as the source material for Alice Ford's biography Edward Hicks, Painter of the Peaceable Kingdom (University of Pennsylvnia Press, 1952.) At the time of her research, the papers were retained by the family in Newtown, Pa. Following publication, the papers in the present collecction were were donated to Friends Historical Library in 1952 and 1953, with individual items from Alice Ford added to the Barnsley collected manuscripts. In 1987, Alice Ford donated her research notes, separately cataloged as SC/040. In 2017, FHL staff determined to unite the related Lee and Barnsley donations in order to fully catalog them for better access.


Edward Hicks Manuscript Collection
Susanna Morikawa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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 reproductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA