Stokes-Woodruff 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
This collection contains a wide variety of documents pertaining to both the Stokes and Woodruff families. One prominently featured family member is Francis Joseph Stokes, who was born on December 24, 1873 to Francis Stokes and Katharine Wistar Evans. He died on August 1, 1955. Stokes attended Haverford College and graduated in 1894. He then became an apprentice mechanist to Robert Shoemaker in Philadelphia. He bought Shoemaker's company the following year and renamed it the F.J. Stokes Machine Company. The company produced a wide number of tools and technologies related to engineering and chemical manufacturing. Its first product was the eureka tablet machine. Stokes served as president of the company for 53 years and was appointed chairman of the board in 1948. He was actively involved in education as a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, an overseer of the William Penn Charter School, a committee member of the Germantown Friends School, and president of the Haverford College Campus Club. Additionally, Stokes was a member of the Coulter Street Meeting of the Society of Friends.
On June 28, 1912, Francis married Lelia Woodruff Stokes. Lelia was born on September 1, 1885 and died on June 28, 1973. Her parents were Clarence S. Woodruff and Susan M. Bullock. Leila graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1907. She was a math teacher at the Rosemary School in Connecticut and at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. In 1955, she became the first female overseer of the William Penn Charter School. Leila also served as a director of the F.J. Stokes Company from 1947 to 1963. Although she was born Presbyterian, she converted to Quakerism after her marriage to Francis Stokes. Leila and Francis had five children together: Francis, Allen, Henry, Alison, and David. Alison Stokes MacLean is of particular note, as a number of her papers and albums are found in this collection.
Leila's relatives, the Woodruffs, are also prominently featured in these materials. One key family member is Leila's father, Clarence Woodruff. Born in 1855, Clarence served for many years as an attorney in Pennsylvania. He and his first wife, Susan, had five children together: Clara, Leila, Margaret, Asa, and Lewis. Leila's brother, Lewis Harlow Woodruff, plays a noteworthy role in the collection as well; his experiences with mental illness and institutionalization are prominent in a number of letters and documents.
The Stokes-Woodruff Family papers span a wide range of topics and material types, all related to the lives of the Stokes and Woodruff families. The collection is divided into four series: F.J. Stokes Company Papers, Stokes Family Papers, Woodruff Family Papers, and Other Family Histories.
The first series, F.J. Stokes Company Papers, is comprised of documents related to the organization and administration of the F.J. Stokes Machine Company including publicity materials, company records, and patents.
The second series, Stokes Family Papers, focuses on the Stokes' personal lives and relationships. There is a section here dedicated to the correspondence of Alison Stokes MacLean, the daughter of Leila and Francis Joseph Stokes. Alison was deeply involved in the study of her family's history, so many of her documents reflect an effort to discover and record ancestral details. There is also a set of papers and letters related to Joseph Francis Stokes and another for Leila Woodruff Stokes, his wife. These sections include interpersonal correspondence, financial papers, wills, obituaries, and various other documents. There is also an assortment of travel materials, including travel journals created by Alison Stokes about trips to Italy and Africa. Leila and Francis were frequent travelers as well, and there are various itineraries, letters, and records highlighting the various places they visited. One folder of particular significance contains materials related to the Stokes' trip to Africa. These documents are interesting because they convey both explicit and implicit colonialist attitudes.
The third series features a wide array of letters and papers pertaining to Woodruff family members. For the most part, the letters are written by the individual named on the folder label. There are a number of particularly compelling documents in this series, such as the letters related to Lewis Harlow Woodruff's experiences with mental illness. Also of note is the Clay Club Constitution, which was written in 1844 by a group of individuals supporting Henry Clay's bid for presidency.
The fourth series comprises a brief span of documents related to the histories of other families, including the Bullocks, Sweets, and Wistars.
Collection materials are sorted into four series and a number of corresponding subseries based on subject matter. Folders labelled with specific topics or material types are organized by content such that similar items are grouped togther. Folders identifying individual people are arranged alphabtically by first name. Within each folder, the materials are sorted chronologically, with undated materials at the back of each folder.
The labelling and composition of many folders and files has been preserved from the original donotation.
The Stokes Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in October, 2015 by Alison Cassidy.
Processed by Emily Kingsley; completed May, 2016.
- Stokes, Lelia Woodruff
- Stokes, Francis Joseph
- Woodruff, Lewis Harlow
- Woodruff, Clarence S.
- Stokes family
- F.J. Stokes Machine Company
- Haverford College
- Bryn Mawr College
- Germantown Friends School (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Emily Kingsley
- Finding Aid Date
- May, 2016
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
The origianl folder for these materials notes that the letter was written by Francis Joseph Stokes Sr. on board the S.S. Cretic.
Letters from 1875 were exchanged during Francis Stokes Sr.'s lumber buying trip. One of the letters from 1902 mentions plans for a "receivership."
These obituaries include members of the Evans and Woodruff families. In addition to obituaries, this folder also includes a list of graves in the Coulter Street Burial Ground.
For the most part,the letters in this series are written by the individual whose name is on the folder label.
The original folders for these materials note that Clarence was Clara's twin brother. Additionally, the 1876-77 letters were written to Clarence while he was at Yale.
These letters relate specifically to the question of Warren going to boarding school.
The original folder for these documents notes that Elisha Woodruff was the son of Andrew Woodruff.
The original folder for these materials notes in its title that the letter by John E. Nixon was written to William Woodruff.
The letters sent by Lewis to his sister, Leila, between 1910 and 1912 were written during his time at Yale.
The original folder for the 1831 letter from William Woodruff notes that it was sent on the death of their mother, Miranda Orton Woodruff.
The original folder for these materials notes that they were written by Lillian McDonald to Susan Bullock Woodruff.
This is a letter to Margaret Woodruff Thomforde about Clarence Woodruff.
The original folder for these materials notes that the letters are from Minnie Bullock to Susan Bullock Woodruff and her parents.
The Clay Club was comprised of a number of citizens from Dimock Township who organized in 1844 in support of Henry Clay's presidential bid. Lewis H. Woodruff was one of the leaders of this group.
The majority of these letters are written to indviduals already found in this collection. However, the letters are written by people who do not appear in other places in these materials. In other cases, author of the letters is simply unknown.
Some of this history pertains specifically to a ladder back chair.