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Caleb Cope and 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

Porter Cope (1869-1950), son of Caleb and Josephine Porter Cope was born in Philadelphia. He received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of the firm MacVeagh and Bispham. He was a lecturer on chemistry at the Lauderback Academy, 1884-85; editor and publisher of "The Illustrated Weekly," 1885 and several other publications. He was an active member of the Republican Party. (This information was clipped from an article and placed in the genealogical volume; it was missing a second page and no source was given).

Rebecca Porter Howard died "in the 75th year of her age" according to a newspaper clipping without a date. She married Col. M. Hunt Howard. She was also the daughter of James Porter -a businessman (who may or may not have been the same James Porter, governor of Tennessee) and Elizabeth Paul French. Rebecca Howard and her husband traveled widely. He, M. Hunt Howard, is credited with being a main contributor in acquiring land the Howard School building was erected in Nashville, TN. The Howards were benefactors of the Tennessee Historical Society, Fisk University, Woman's Mission home and others. They had no surviving children.

Caleb Frederick Cope (1797-1888) was the head of Caleb Cope & Co., wholesale silk merchants. He was also director of the Second Bank of the U.S., president of the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. Josephine Porter [niece of Rebecca Porter Howard](1836-96) was Caleb's second wife. They had two children together: Caleb Frederick Cope and Porter Farquharson Cope. From: Internal genealogical information)

Rebecca Porter Howard and Memucan Hunt Howard left no direct heirs (their only son died in infancy) and the connection between the Howards and Copes is through Josephine Porter Cope who married Caleb Cope and was the niece of Rebecca Porter, but Josephine Cope's parents have not been established, though in two of Caleb Cope's letters to Josephine's mother, he refers to her as "Mrs. Desha."

The collection of letters and papers of the interrelated Cope and Howard families spans the latter part of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. It consists of letters by Memucan Hunt Howard and his wife Rebecca Porter Howard to their niece, Josephine Porter Cope and to her husband, Caleb Cope, as well as letters to the Howards on personal and business matters. The letters from Caleb Cope are primarily directed affectionately to his wife, Josephine Porter Cope, and many are to her uncle, Memucan H. Howard; others are to his son, Porter. Many of Caleb Cope's correspondents are attorneys and they write from a number of different states in the U.S. on matters of Cope's property. Porter Cope's letters refer to his work as a lawyer and to his issues with anxiety. His mother, Josephine's letters to him are dense with her thoughts and wishes. The collection also includes photographs of Cope and Howard family members.

Processing history is unknown.

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

Genealogical information compiled by Porter Farquharson Cope. 1 volumes.
Scope and Contents

Included are genealogical charts on the Warner family, beginning with Thomas and Elizabeth Warner of England, followed by generations of Warners and their spouses. Following is generational information on the Physick family.

Physical Description

1 volumesPrimarily re Warner and Physick families, and others, e.g. Kite, Emlen and Rawle families.


Letters to Memucan Howard are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Contents

The correspondence consists of letters of Memucan Howard and his wife Rebecca Howard to their niece, Josephine Porter Cope and her husband, Caleb Cope. Some letters of M.H. Howard contain genealogical information about the Porter family. Those by Rebecca Howard are more generally about health. Ca. 20 letters by M.H. Howard and 10 by Rebecca P. Howard, all in the 1880s

Letters primarily to Memucan Howard -- and a few to Rebecca Howard -- are both personal and business, quite a number asking for monetary assistance and include: from J.B. Caruthers, 1878, information on the devastation of Yellow Fever in Tennessee; Several letters of sympathy after the death of his wife in 1885; Several letters in 1886 from Delavan and Eakin regarding the estate of Rebecca Porter Howard; from Mary Kellogg, 1885, requesting money for her church. Attached is a clipping indicating the various donations M.H. Howard made to Tennessee institutions Ca. 70 items

Physical Description

4 folders

Papers of Memucan Howard, 1848-1885.
Scope and Contents

Includes promissory notes, deeds, itinerary of trip through Europe and Middle East, society membership, list of donations, recipients of the estate of M.H. Howard. Ca. 10 items

Letters from Caleb Cope.

The letters are arranged chronologically. Most of the letters were written in the 1880s and then 1870s, there are a few from the 1860s.

Scope and Contents

The letters from Caleb Cope are primarily directed in an affectionate tone to his wife, Josephine Porter Cope, and many are to her uncle, Memucan H. Howard, others are to his son, Porter. In 1868, he wrote to his mother-in-law instructing her not to interfere with her daughter's life and that she never repeat her behavior. Other letters also point to his stern behavior. Most of Cope's letters are addressed as from Philadelphia where his office was located and report on daily events, including health and some business. He writes of the situation of his wife's sister, Emma, who is destitute and filing for divorce and hoping to receive alimony. Cope shows reluctance to offer any monetary support. He also writes of his oldest son's poor behavior. In 1884 (Nov. 24), he regards President Cleveland and Hendricks as poor choices, giving his reasons.

Letters to Caleb Cope.

Alphabetical arrangement

Scope and Contents

Letter writers include: W.A. Bevans, W.W. Birdsall, Thomas Callender, R.A. Crawford, Duke & Richards,R. Eastman, W. Elliott, George Fuld, R.A. Hatcher, Isaac Hockaday, J.B. Jones, Charles Kortrecht, John Lea, P.C. Mann, Charles Marshall, H.B. McClure, J. McCutchen, Newcomb Mitchell, Thomas Montgomery, Isaac Morrison, J.L. Pueliam, Robertson & Southall, John Scott, C.A. Slocum Smith, Baxter & Allison, W.H. Smither, T.M. Steger, G. Thompson, N. Watkins.

Many of the correspondents are attorneys and they write from a number of different states in the U.S. Issues include: land owned by Caleb Cope and the agents who work to sell this land or to establish claim to land and other real estate issues, including Cope's own change of residence. As well, there is much discussion of suits resulting generally in payment to Cope.


It is believed that Porter F. Cope arranged his father's (Caleb Cope) papers. His notes emphasize the geographic locations of the writers of letters to his father. These were Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. The letters span from the end of the 1860s to 1885.

Papers, including estate, of Caleb and Josephine Cope.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Papers are by Caleb Cope relating to his business, but also a copy of a deed for land owned by him, but primarily relating to both Caleb and later Josephine Cope's estates. Included is a notebook of clippings kept by Porter Cope regarding his father, Caleb Cope, and one article about his mother, dated 1896. A separate folder includes honors to Cope, including for service by Cope to the PA Fire Co, 1835; naming him to a committee for the Industrial Exposition in London, 1850; announcement of his name on a legislative ticket, 1883.

Biographical and genealogical information on the Cope and Howard families. 1 folders.
Physical Description

1 folders

Letters from Porter F. Cope, 1892-1929, 1892-1929 (1892-1894). 1 folders.
Scope and Contents

All the letters are dated 1892-94, and the the bulk of them are written by Cope to his mother, Josephine Porter Cope. He refers to his work as a lawyer and issues with anxiety. Some letters are written while traveling abroad in 1894.

Physical Description

1 folders

Scope and Contents

No Subnote Content

Physical Description

3 folders

Aunt Emma Coolidge to Porter Cope.
Scope and Contents

Letters all written in the 1890s dealing with the health of Porter Cope's mother, Josephine P. Cope.

Letters to Porter F. Cope, A-Z. 7 items.
Scope and Contents

Includes some genealogical information on the Porter family. Also, from the Lauderbach Academy using Cope's name as a reference and others.

Physical Description

7 items

Letters to Henrietta Bunting Cope from her mother. 6 items.
Physical Description

6 items

Physical Description

2 folders

Letters to Josephine Cope.
Scope and Contents

Most of the letters speak of ill health, either the writer's or Josephine's; others mention Caleb Cope's death or Memucan Howard's (her uncle). A clipping placed with these letters tells of Josephine Cope's own institutionalization and confinement at a psychiatric ward.

Letters from Josephine Cope to son Porter F. Cope.
Scope and Contents

Letters are packed with thoughts and wishes held by Josephine Cope.

Letters in support of appointment of Porter Cope as PA State Librarian, 1902.
Scope and Contents

Approximately 60 letters, mostly to Samuel W. Pennypacker, Governor of PA, 1902-03. Many to and from U.S. and State Senators and prominent Philadelphia and Pennsylvania businessmen and politicians, including 3 signed by Pennypacker. Apparently, he did not get the job, based on a letter of 1903 stating that Thomas Montgomery had been appointed.

Checks written by Porter Cope.
Porter F. Cope's book of genealogical information on Warner, Physick and other families.
Photographs of Cope and Howard family members.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Photographs of Memucan/ Memuchin Howard, Edward Drinker Cope, Charles West Cope, Caleb Cope, Josephine Porter Cope, Porter F. Cope, Thomas P. Cope and ; photo of portraits of Rebecca Howard, Caleb Cope; steel plate engraving of Caleb Cope

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