Dunn - Osborn - Battey 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
Nathan Dunn (1782-1844) was the son of Nathan Dunn (d. 1782, age 39) and his second wife, Rhoda Silver (m. 11/4/1773). After the death of Nathan Sr., Rhoda (Silver) Dunn m. 1788 Thomas Osborn (d. ca. 1827) of Burlington Co., N.J. Thomas Osborn was the son of Richard Osborn (Osborn's Island, Burlington Co., N.J.). Nathan Jr.'s siblings from his mother's first marriage included Deborah Dunn (who m. Caleb Pancoast), William Dunn and Josiah Dunn. Nathan's half-siblings from his mother's second marriage were Phoebe Osborn (d. 1848), Palmyra Osborn (who m. 1818 Gideon M. Birdsall of N.Y.) and Rhoda Osborn (ca. 1794-1881, m. Restore S. Lamb (d. ca. 1867?)). Rhoda and Restore S. Lamb were noted Friends ministers (Hicksite).
Nathan Dunn (1782-1844) was disowned by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting in 1816 for bankruptcy. In 1818 he went to China and traded under the firm of Nathan Dunn & Company. He returned to Philadelphia in 1832 and paid off all of his creditors. While in China, Dunn collected Chinese objects, which were exhibited here and in Europe. He built a "cottage" in Mt. Holly, N.J., which was run by his half-sisters Phoebe and Rhoda for many years. Dunn gave Haverford College a gift of over $20,000 in 1840 and was a financial supporter of other charitable endeavors.
(Sources for above: DQB; Arthur W. Hummel, "Nathan Dunn," Quaker History 59 (1970), p. 34-39; will of Nathan Dunn in Dunn-Osborn-Battey papers; History of Little Egg Harbor Township, Burlington County, N.J., from its first settlement to the present time,... by Leah Blackman, F144 L49 B62 1963)
Smith Battey (d. 1858) m. Ruth Muzzey Aldrich (ca. 1801-1884). Their children were Avis Battey (ca. 1830-1906, m. Isaac Steere), Phebe Battey (ca. 1834-1919, m. Dr. John Barns (ca. 1818-1895)), Nancy S. Battey (ca. 1837-1865) and Thomas Jesse Battey (1842-1931) who m. 1865 Mary Augusta Heaton (1838-1923), "Gussie," daughter of Samuel and Lydia Heaton. Thomas and Gussie's children included Charles Heaton Battey (1868-1941, m. 1895 Sarah Edith Thompson), Edward Heaton Battey (b. 1873, died young) and William Aldrich Battey (b. 1876, m. 1901 Rhoda Amelia Birdsall).
(Sources for above: DQB; Haverford College matriculate catalog; Quaker Necrology files; Dunn-Osborn-Battey papers)
Correspondence, account books, receipts, bills and other financial papers, notebook, 2 ledgers of financial accounts, printed items, and other miscellaneous papers.
Primarily correspondence of Dunn, Osborn and Battey families. Also related families of Barns, Birdsall, Brownell, Coffin, Coutant, Heaton, Lamb, Pancoast, Steere and others.
Letters of Nathan Dunn (1782-1844) discuss trade with China and his experiences there (letter, 4/13/1824, describes elaborate dinner at which he was a guest), his Chinese Collection, a forgery court case "Thomas v. Dunn" (letter, 2/3/1844 and 6/21/1844 describes case in detail); also a copy of his printed will with annotations, legal and land papers (some related to Laurel Hill Cemetery of which he was a manager), notebook regarding his Chinese Collection. There are also two ledgers of his financial accounts, 1826-1830, which reflect his China trade business. The first ledger was also used in the 1890s by Ella Birdsall Wright.
Household and farming bills and receipts of Restore Shinn Lamb, Rhoda (Osborn) Lamb and Phebe Osborn (Dunn's half-sisters, Rhoda and Phebe, took care of Dunn's "cottage" in Mt. Holly, N.J., they also managed the farm on Osborn's Island, inherited by Thomas Osborn from his father).
Letters, 1833-1856, of David Battey discuss farm life in Indiana, ill health and loneliness, implication that he is with the Hicksite branch of Friends.
Letters of Nancy S. Battey, 1864-1865, some while teaching free black children in Yorktown.
Ruth M. Battey letters and estate papers, 1858-1887.
Smith Battey letters, 1840-1857, discuss travel to Michigan to visit sister Phebe and husband Elijah Brownell in 1840, also family news and advice.
Letters, 1830-1882, of brothers Elijah Brownell and Sands Brownell discuss family business difficulties in Michigan.
Letters, 1856-1858, of George W. Taylor (1803-1891) to Smith Battey and Isaac Steere, discuss his free produce business in Philadelphia (includes some invoices on letterhead of the company).
Other topics discussed in correspondence are Society of Friends matters, (Separation of 1827 - implication in several letters (David Battey, Job Battey, Nicholas Battey) that choices made as result of Separation have led to some estrangement from other relatives), health concerns and illness (several cases of consumption within the families), slavery and education.
Noteworthy individual items are: Letter, 1868, of Leah Blackman to Rhoda Lamb asking about family history for her book on Little Egg Harbor; Letter, 12/1/1884, of William Otis Crosby (1850-1925), to [Thomas J. Battey] re: mineral specimens; Letter, 11/7/1889, of Sallie Coutant Jones (1st wife of Rufus M. Jones) telling of their first year experience in running Oak Grove School; postcard, 2/2/1879, from John G. Whittier.
Other persons represented in the collection include: Thomas J. Battey, Phebe (Battey) Barns, Hannah M. Boadle, Samuel Heaton, Amos Hoag, and others.
There are three main groups of papers within this collection: the Battey family papers, the papers of Nathan Dunn and the Osborn family papers.
Within the Battey family section, letters written by Batteys come first (boxes 1 and 2), followed by letters written by others to the Battey family (boxes 3, 4 and 5). Letters are arranged alphabetically by author within each group and chronologically within an individual author. Box 5 also includes some miscellaneous Battey family papers.
Box 6 contains the papers of Nathan Dunn (1782-1844), as well as some miscellaneous Dunn family papers.
Boxes 7 and 8 contain correspondence of the Osborn and Lamb families, these are primarily letters to Rhoda and Restore Lamb and Phebe Osborn. Box 8 also includes some miscellaneous Osborn family papers. Box 9 contains financial papers (chiefly household and farming bills and receipts) of Rhoda and Restore S. Lamb and Phebe Osborn.
Housed next to the boxes are two volumes or ledgers of the financial records, 1826-1830, of Nathan Dunn which record transactions within China and with England and Philadelphia business associates for Dunn's trade in cloth.
Dunn - Osborn - Battey
Ms. Coll. 1163
Gift, 1990, 2001.
Processing history is unknown.
- Dunn family
- Dunn, Nathan, 1782-1844
- Battey family
- Osborn family
- Battey, David
- Battey, Smith
- Battey, Ruth
- Lamb, Restore
- Lamb, Rhoda Osborn
- Osborn, Phebe
- 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).
re: learning shoemaking
re: difficulties of starting out in business, finding life's work
re: family, illness of Job (TB?)
re: family, travel, farming, 1852 refers to loss of all property and debts, ill health, loneliness, implication that he is with Hicksites
re: ill health, family, wonders if he is neglected by relatives as he not of Orthodox branch of Friends
re: family news
re: family news
re: going to school, family news
re: health, family news
re: love letters, she is teaching; also an essay on Society of Friends
re: inquiring after share in estate of Aunt Sarah, send reply to stepfather Stephen Hester
re: teaching, her school in Yorktown teaching free black children, advice to her brother; also 2 estate receipts
re: Aunt Sarah's estate, health, daughter of Benjamin with them as parents went with Hicksites
Includes: letters and memoranda (1885), receipts re: to settling estate (1884-1887), account book (1884-1886), several receipts found with above (1863-1868)
re: teaching school, advice of a spiritual nature [is she adopted? refers in letter to "Father and Mother Battey")
re: trip to Michigan (1840) to visit sister Phebe and husband Elijah Brownell, family news and advice
re: news of school (1 letter while at Haverford).
Includes: letters of committee secretary Phebe S. Aydelott and others related to donations, receipts of donations, report labeled "Report to Conference on Missionary Committee 5 mo. 1880" and "Other documents relating to Quarterly Collections"
re: an accompanying ALS of Mattie Greenwaid to "Mrs. Thomas Battie" requesting financial help (fraudulent?)
re: familyGeneral Physical Description note
10 Letters and fragments,
re: family business difficulties
re: family business difficulties
re: transportation arrangements to upcoming meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York City
re: annual meeting of American Anti-Slavery Society
[Coutant - see following folders)
re: on mineral specimens sent to him by Battey
re: tells of mission work, hospital, Boys and Girls Homes, dispensary
re: in mourning for his wife
re: written from Oak Grove School [Maine], tells of their experiences in running the school (Rufus's first year as principal)
re: "Teachers Alumni Association"
re: admission of Albert Smith to Friends School
re: fund raising appeal
re: scholarship money for Battey's son
re: news of the boy's school, death of a student
re: chiefly his health
re: Taylor is operating a "Free Labor Ware-House" [Free Produce] and letters tell of business (some invoices on letterhead included in letters)General Physical Description note
re: printed minute signed by Tobey appointing Battey to visit subordinate meetings
re: refers to an unnamed poem
re: baby of Martha Birdsall
re: illness of Smith B. Steere
Includes: memorandum (1796) of who will sweep Meeting House for 1797-1800; receipts (1799-1815) estate of Joseph Battey (guardianship of son John); receipts, etc. (1804-1841) related to estate of Sarah Battey (d. 1842); receipt (1819) estate of Benjamin Battey; papers (1820) estate of James [Clemme?]; receipts (1863-1868) Ruth Battey
Includes: "Coppy of a minute setting off gloucester Preparative Meetg, 8th mo. 1793"; "Minutes of organization of [Friends Prov.] First Day School, established 3d mo. 1850"; p
Includes: Free produce meeting minutes (1849); circular to members of School Committee [Providence Public Schools] (1845); 2 time tables
- about to sail to Canton
- government restrictions on their interactions with Chinese merchants, tells of elaborate dinner banquet
- thoughts on Separation within Society of Friends, gives gifts of money to relatives
- traveling in New York State, Niagara Falls, etc.
- working on setting up exhibit of Chinese Collection
- in London with Chinese Collection
- opinion on anticipated boom in trade with China, many missionaries and traders headed that way, need to stop opium traffic first "Opium and the Bible cannot enter China together," visit of Elizabeth Fry to the Chinese Collection
- comments of news of sister Rhoda and Mr. Lamb
- case of Thomas v. Dunn to come up in Court of Common Pleas (forgery case), discusses case at length
- Dunn wins forgery case, discusses case and aftermath, receives anonymous letter in verse in Thomas's hand, which mentions gift to Haverford
[notebook re: packing of Chinese Collection, also Chinese articles wanted for collection, (and items needed to exhibit collection?)]
Includes: 2 account books, copies of deeds and legal documents, extracts from minutes of meeting of the proprietors, printed act of incorporation for Laurel Hill Cemetery (1836, managers are Nathan Dunn, Benjamin W. Richards, John J. Smith Jr., Frederick Brown, William M. Meredith, Edward Coleman, George N. Baker, Henry Toland and Nicholas Biddle)
Includes: "Map of Lots in exchange of land between Nathan Dunn and William Russell" (1838) and "Deed, Absalom H. Smith and wife to Nathan Dunn for a lot of land in Mt. Holly" (1839)
Includes: receipt (1744) and bond (1753) of Zaccheus Dunn, "Copy of account, Rhoda Dunn and John Barnes Execrs. of Nathan Dunn Decd." (1786), 1759 Deed (Silver and Shivers), receipt, several 1832 letters to Nathan Dunn related to building a house
re: religious thoughts (are they traveling in the ministry?)
re: family information for use in her book
re: running farm on Osborn's Island
re: funeral and estate of Nathan Dunn
in regard to visit of GMB, bankbookGeneral Physical Description note
2 p., 9 tintypes of [GMB?]
re: estate of Nathan Dunn
re: death of Hannah Pedrick
re: estate of Nathan Dunn
recipe for medicine (St. Vita's Dance)
re: death of Susan's mother
funeral notice for Catharine R. Zelley
Includes: handwritten extracts from Yearly Mtg. (ca. 1848); printed subscription form for a Friends' school (1854); minutes of Marlborough Preparative Meeting of Minsters and Elders, Cornwall Preparative Meeting of Ministers and Elders, Cornwall Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and Elders
Includes: General ledger balances, transactions within China and with England and Philadelphia business associates by Nathan Dunn on cloth cargo sent by the ships "Tobacco Plant" and "Isabella" and received by Dunn in Canton, China. The first ledger book was also used in the 1890s by Ella Birdsall Wright to practice her writing