Lewis and Sarah Benson 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
Lewis Benson (August 15, 1906 - August 23, 1986) was born to Clara (Clarette) and John Benson. He was born into and raised in Manasquan Friends Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting. He rejoined the meeting in his retirement, and is buried in its graveyard. In his youth, Lewis also attended a Scotch Presbyterian Church with his mother, and in the summers he spent time at Sea Girt-Manasquan with his cousins. Benson attended Executive Meeting and Half Yearly Meeting, where he was able to socialize with Quakers his own age, and learn Quaker business practices. He did not graduate from high school, which prevented him from permanent positions at Quaker organizations later in life. He became interested in the metaphysical system of Gurdjieff, which left him in self-described despair. At age 25, he was drawn to George Fox's journal, wherein reading about Fox's struggle with despair, he found kinship and support. He became a life-long student of George Fox's message, studying his work for over 50 years. He worked with Quakers in Britain. He participated in dialogues with Anabaptists and Quakers, including publishing much of his writings in "The Call," which was published in Britain and the United States. He was a prolific writer and lecturer. The New Foundation Fellowship started in the 1970s, with Benson as as founding member. He was also part of the Young Friends movement in Philadelphia, which was concerned with reunification of the two yearly meetings. He met his wife, Sarah, at Pendle Hill the winter of 1933-1934; they were married in 1937 in Germantown. He later became the first librarian at Pendle Hill. Their son, John, was born in 1940.
Sarah Rhoads Potts Benson (1907-1993) was the daughter of Thomas C. Potts (1871-?) and Ethel Rhoads Potts (1871-1962).
(The Friend, September 19, 1986; Sarah Benson biography of Lewis)
This collection is primarily 20th century letters from the Benson, Potts, and Rhoads families.
This collection is arranged in two series: correspondence and personal materials.
The Lewis and Sarah Benson family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in January, 2018 by John Benson.
Processed by Mary A. Crauderueff; completed August, 2018.
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Mary A. Crauderueff
- Finding Aid Date
- August, 2018
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
Early Rhoads family letters before 1910, most before 1904
Letter from Ethel Rhoads to close friend about her engagement to Thomas C. Potts, 8/29/1906. Original and typed transcription.
Cards from Ethel R. Potts to son Asa Potts
Letters from Ethel R. Potts to sister Lydia W. Rhoads, when she was visiting their brother Samuel Rhoads + family (Records of a processer indicates that Samuel died May 1930). Lil is Lydia and Jenny is Jane (sister).
Letters from Fanny Reynolds to Lewis Benson in Europe, news about Manasquan Meeting, mostly
Appreciation of Sarah Potts ...
Letters from Claretta Benson to her son Lewis Benson when he was with Gurdgieff news of family; finances
Miscellaneous letters to Lewis Benson. Douglas Steere of special interest
Includes letters from Japan on 1936 trip on behalf of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
About his trip to England
"Letters mostly from Ethel R. Potts, 1936 trip to Japan, on behalf of Phila. Yearly Meeting, also Sarah Potts trip diary"
About a painting of of Margaret Sarah Page by Thos. Sully
Letters from Sarah Benson (at Pocono Lake Preserve) to Lewis Benson (in England) summer 1952
Of special interest: her thoughts on the impending death, and death, of her husband Thomas C. Potts
Letters from Sarah Benson to her mother Ethel Rhoads Potts from 6/13/1954 to 8/25/1955 describing the year in England.
Letters from Thomas I. Potts to his sister Sarah Benson March 1955. Comments on Lewis Benson's articles in The Friend in 2/5/55 letter. Tom Potts had recently joined the Society of Brothers and these are written from their Rifton location. The mentioned pending arrival of his wife Florrie is rom their Paraguay location.
Includes typed summaries and originals.
Florrie Potts to her sister-in-law Sarah Benson who was in England Describes the events immediately following the death of Sarah's father Thomas C. Potts
A collection of transcribed letters between Lewis (in England) and Sarah (in the United States)
Condolance letters for Tho. C. Potts
Notes from travels in Chicago, Canada, and Japan
Sheds light on differences in religious attitudes and expectations between Lewis and Sarah. Transcribed typed copy and original note
Lewis Benson printing certification 1945 and business card (1920s), photograph of Lewis Benson with materal grandfather, calling card of William G. and Sarah Wistar Rhoads.
Deed for Thmas C. Potts and Ethel R. Potts in Philadelphia in 1924, 1926, and 1952. Will of Lydia Wistar Rhoads, Thomas C. Potts, and Nora Ward Rhoads, Inventory and appraisement of the estate of Thomas C. Potts. Gift tax betweeb Ethel R. Potts and Thomas C. Potts 1953.
Correspondence, originals and photocopies