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Smith Family papers


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Seth Smith (ca. 1785-1861?) was a teacher at William Penn Charter School and the Franklin Institute. He was also a Philadelphia businessman and a government administrator. His astronomical calculations were requested for publication in L. Johnson and Company's Almanac in 1845. The reason Smith's vital dates are in question is that they are not confirmed as the match for this particular Seth Smith, though they likely are.

Smith was a member of the Mechanical Institute and was married to Mary Ann (Martha) Dowing in 1813. The Mechanical Institute was founded in 1821 to inquire into the laws and application of mechanics and the establishment of a library. Although not specifically a Quaker organization, members included Isaiah Lukens, William Mason, Rufus Tyler, Coleman Sellers, James Rush, and Seth Smith, Secretary. Edward Smith was a doctor.

(Information from: Internal evidence and Quaker periodicals, with additions courtesey of Mark Lloyd)

Papers include financial accounts, including those of Edward Smith, M.D., 1851-1854; Legal papers including deeds for land in Moorestown and Gloucester County, New Jersey, 1880 and 1893; Seth Smith's papers dealing with astronomy, 1840s; Minutes of the Mechanical Institute (of Philadelphia) 1821-1825; and the Death mask of Seth Smith.

The Smith Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1986 and 1987 by Robert and Eliza Smith.

Original processing information unknown. Reboxed and finding aid revised by Sakina Gulamhusein, March 2022.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

Financial Accounts, 1841-1854.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Stall rents; Notebook, 1853-54. [Includes rent from Benjamin Smith]; Account of pupils at Friends Public School, 1841-42; Tuition record of Overseers of the Public School. 1 p.,18--; William Coxe's Legacy; To Seth Smith For tuition of listed boys. 2 mo. 20th 1842.

Legal Papers, 1831-1893.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Investments to be made by Commissioners of the District of Spring Garden, 1850; Deed for land in Moorestown, N.J., purchased by Bartram Kaighn. 1880; Survey of land for heirs of Joseph Stokes et al in Burlington, N.J., 1841, Signed by Burr Woolman (with seal); Deed for land in Gloucester County, N.J., 1893 / Edward L. Smith; Examples of forms used by Court of Common Pleas and U.S. District Court, 1831.

Seth Smith's Papers Dealing With Astronomy, 1840s-1848.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Astronomical calculations [prepared by Seth Smith]; 1848 Rough notes for astronomical calculations [by Seth Smith] and notes on physics; Four letters to Seth Smith, 1840s. [re use of astronomical work for almanac].

Mary Emlen's Commonplace Book, 1797.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes an extract of a letter from Brissot de Warville concerning the people called Quakers; An account of James Dickenson and Jane Fearon in their travels in the ministry et al.

Miscellaneous, 1839-1875.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Two letters to Seth Smith from son Thomas L. Smith, 1835-1839; Example: receipt of Philadelphia merchant for ice for Edward M. Smith, 1875; Example: report card of personality traits of Smith family members, ca. 1840s.

Death Mask of Seth Smith, 1861.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Clay or plaster death mask of Seth Smith created ca. 1861.

Account Book of Edward Smith, M.D., 1851-1854.
Volume 1
Scope and Contents

Account book of Edward Smith, M.D., including "Bills for medical attendance in 1852-54."

Mechanical Institute of Philadelphia Minutes, 1821-1825.
Volume 2
Scope and Contents

Bound volume of minutes and constitution of Mechanical Institute (of Philadelphia). 1821-25; Names of members include: Isaiah Lukens, William Mason, David H. Mason, Rufus Tyler, Matthew W. Baldwin, Joseph Sexton, James Gordon, William Kneass?, and Seth Smith, secretary; Also in this volume are accounts of a Philadelphia (PA) and Burlington (NJ) doctor, Edward M. Smith, listing patients, prescriptions and fees.

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