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Friends' Institute records


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

The Friends' Institute for Young Men was originally located at 112 N. 7th Street in Philadelphia when it was established in 1880 to offer a reading room and lecture and meeting room where "suitable" periodical and other literature would be available to young men connected with the Society of Friends. There were approximately 200 original members of the Institute including Edward Bettle, Jr., Ellis Y. Brown, T. Wistar Brown, John G. Bullock, Richard Cadbury, Howard Comfort, William H. Jenks, John H. Dillingham, John B. Garrett, Robert B. Haines, Josiah Leeds, Charles Roberts, Thomas Scattergood, George Vaux, Asa Wing, Edward M. Wistar and others.

Although women were almost immediately allowed to use the reading room, by 1885, it was concluded that since women served on so many charitable and philanthropic organizations which held meetings in the Institute, the efficiency of the Association would increase, and there would be no detrimental effect in allowing them to become members. At that point, the name changed to The Friends' Institute.

Around 1892, the Institute moved to 20 S. 12th Street, where later it would share quarters with the American Friends Service Committee. The Institute's purpose was said "to provide recreational facilities to Friends in the central section of the city." Charter was granted by the Court of Common Pleas in 1887. At least by the time of the publication of the Inventory of Church Archives in 1942, there was no affiliation with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and indicates "only a cooperative relationship with the church organization."

(Information from annual reports of Friends' Institute and Inventory of Church Archives)

Records include correspondence, minutes, financial accounts, membership records, annual reports and building plans. One set of reports is by the General Secretary of the Institute covering the years from 1928-1940. Among the secretaries were Mary Hoxie Jones, Virginia Reich, Peace Canby Hall. Among correspondents were David Alsop, Preston Buckman, Richard Lane, Clarence Pickett, Jonathan Steere, John Wills, Asa Wing, though in most cases, neither the letter writer nor recipient was from Friends Institute.

Materials are arranged by type and chronologically.


Original processing information unknown. Reboxed and finding aid revised in October 2022 by Erick Iraheta.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

Correspondence, 1882, 1908, 1971.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Correspondence includes thanks by Women's Foreign Missionary Association to FI for use of their building (1882); the addition of a second story to Friends Institute building (1908); American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) thanks for quarters at 20 S. 12th St., Philadelphia (1917); alteration of the building at 20 S. 12th St., Philadelphia (1935); correspondence between the Property Committee of Twelfth St. Meeting and AFSC re use of space at 20 S. 12th St. Much of the correspondence is about use of space in the Friends Institute building by various groups and their close association with Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. Often, neither letter writer nor recipient is from Friends Institute, but the content deals with their building.

General Secretary's reports, 1928-1940.
Box 1
Future plans for the building, 1909, 1960s.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Blueprint plans of addition to the FI building, 1909. Building issues, 1960s. Included here are photographs, blueprints, minute, clippings, letters

The Keystone Comprehensive Note Book No. 660, 1893-1894.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Examinations, Reports, Sermons, Drafts of Lectures, etc.

Miscellaneous financial records: Twelfth Street Operating Committee; reports to T. Wistar Brown Fund.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

1939 report of FI to the T. Wistar Brown Fund with description of the year's activities or accomplishments. Primarily reports, 1961-1970, of the 12th St. Operating Committee to FI on the use and condition of their building

Miscellaneous financial accounts of FI.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Income and expenses, 1927-1953 provided in annual accounts. Employee records. Quarterly financial reports of the 12th St. Operating Committee, 1960-1967

Memorandum Book, 1881-1887.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Information contained includes record of attendance, 1887-88; lectures at the FI, 1888; accounts, 1888; serials received, 1887-88. Also, laid in are announcements and tickets for 1882 lectures and letters of appreciation for same.

Historical notes and brochure; list of books.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes: Brochures and appeals. List of books at FI, n.d.. Historical notes on the Quaker-affiliated occupants of 20 S. 12th St., Philadelphia; peace testimony poster; origin of the Quaker star; other information. Information on the Scattergood calendar. booklet re FI, 1900. Miscellaneous information about Twelfth St. Meeting (now Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Western District)

Minutes of Annual Meetings, 1876.
Volume 1
Minutes of Annual Meetings, 1880-1946.
Volume 2
Minutes of Board Meetings, 1899-1955.
Volume 3
Treasurer's Accounts, 1882-1886.
Volume 4
Receipt Book, 1881-1895.
Volume 5
Financial Accounts, 1862-1886.
Volume 6
Daily calendar of meetings of various Quaker groups, 1888.
Volume 7
Scope and Contents

Includes Joseph Sturge First-Day School

Printed Meeting Agendas, 1903-1907.
Volume 8
Scope and Contents

Includes Twelfth St. Meeting which shared the same building

Member Lists, 1880-1928.
Volume 9
Scope and Contents

Includes Members' Tickets 1881

Member Lists, 1888-1899.
Volume 10
Member Lists, 1958-1967.
Volume 11
Members' Addresses, 1883.
Volume 12
Members' Addresses, 1887-1889.
Volume 13
Members' Addresses, Circa 19th Century.
Volume 14

Print, Suggest