Thomas Evans 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
Thomas Evans was born on February 23rd, 1798 in Philadelphia to Jonathan Evans, Jr. and Hannah Bacon. He was a descendant in the third generation of the Gwynedd group of settlers in Pennsylvania. The Evans family resided in Philadelphia and the seven children were reared in the traditions of the Society of Friends. Evans was educated at the Academy at 4th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. By 1819, he established himself as a druggist at 3rd and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia and in 1834 Evans married Catharine Wistar (d. 1871), the daughter of John and Charlotte Wistar of Salem, New Jersey.
During Evans' early adulthood (1820-1835) there occurred several heated religious controversies in the Society of Friends. In 1827 the great schism in the Society of Friends reached its apex. On reflection in later years he characterized the separation as the "most mournful controversy that ever divided a once united people." The Orthodox movement schismed again in 1842 to form the Gurneyite and Wilburite branches of the Quaker faith.
After the Orthodox-Hicksite schism Evans worked as a minister, author and publisher supporting ideas of the Orthdox Quaker movement. Evans, with others, also helped found Haverford College, a Quaker college. Haverford College was founded by members of the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Evans was one of the first managers of the college. Evans also helped manage estates and took on various responsibilities in the Philadelphia Quaker community. He communicated with many like-minded Quakers through the schisms and helped pass on information from the Northeast to the South and Midwest, as well as to and from Quakers in England.
In 1837, Evans embarked by steamer to Charleston, South Carolina to look after some property owned by the Society of Friends. During the trip a violent storm struck the ship and Evans injured his spine, never entirely recovering. During the winter of 1867-1868 he took ill and by early spring was entirely confined to his room. Thomas Evans died on May 25th, 1868 in Philadelphia at the age of 70.
This collection contains over 240 mainly incoming manuscript letters addressed to Thomas Evans, a Philadelphia druggist, author, editor, Quaker minister of Philadelphia and, in 1833, one the founders of Haverford College. The letters, 1823-1859, contain material on his very active role in the Society of Friends and the problems of religious doctrine before and during the great Hicksite and Wilburite schisms. These letters offer a highly detailed account of the Hicksite theological controversy with its attendant social disruptions through the correspondence with many of the Quaker ministers of the period.The collection also includes letters containing information and discussions on the abolition of slavery and the publishing of various Quaker related pamphlets and works. Thomas Evans also had extensive correspondence with Joseph John Gurney, who would later become an inspiration in the Gurneyite-Wilburite schism in 1842 within the Orthodox Quaker branch.
Overall, this manuscript archive during a critical period of Quaker history shows in minute detail the numerous controversies during the schisms as they played out in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and the West Country (Indiana, Ohio, etc.), as well as England. A highlight in the collection is the copies of letters sent between Anna Braithwaite, an orthodox minister and Elias Hicks, the animus for the Hicksite branch. There are also letters from Elisha Bates, a Quaker minister and printer in Ohio, Samuel Parsons, preacher and founder of a Quaker nursery in Long Island, Thomas Willis, preacher and assistant of the underground railroad and numerous other Quaker figures including merchants, politicians, farmers and craftspeople.The collection also contains documents and letters concerning Thomas' work as estate trustee for multiple estates and documents concerning Catharine Foulke's stay at the Philadelphia Asylum.
Letters are organized chronologically and documents are organized by subject.
Thomas Evans Papers, were purchased by Special Collections, Haverford College, in 2021, from Carmen D. Valentino.
Processed by Janeen Lamontagne; completed December 2021
- Quaker Authors
- Quaker businesspeople
- Quaker deeds
- Quaker publishers
- Quaker women -- 19th century -- Correspondence
- Quaker women -- History -- Sources
- Quaker women ministers -- 19th century
- Society of Friends -- Hicksite Separation
- Society of Friends -- Wilburite controversy
- Conservative Quakers
- Mentally ill -- Care -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Mentally ill -- Care -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History -- Sources
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History -- Sources
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia County
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History -- Sources
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Janeen Lamontagne
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)
Retained copies of outgoing letters by Thomas Evans. One is addressed to Thomas Parker and the other doesn't specify. Discussion of conversation between Anna Braithwaite and Elias Hicks.
Letters written to Thomas Evans by Jonathan Evans, Ann Mifflin, Charles Tatum, James Cropper, William Judkins, Anderson Judkins, E. Bates, William and Margery Lambert, Thomas Eddy, Robert Piersol, Charles Fisher, Robert Pearsall, William Adam, Sarah Collins, Thomas Parker, Job Otis, Stephen Gould, Thomas Howland, Ann Shipley, Thomas Willis, William Lippincott and others. From Cincinatti OH, Liverpool England, Providence RI, Guilford County NC, New York NY, Philadelphia PA, Hampton VA, Jericho NY and other unstated locations. The letters in this folder discuss the conversations between Anna Braithwaite and Elias Hicks. There are also letters of thanks for books and pamphlets, letters to Thomas Evans' druggist business, mention of viewpoints on slavery and a letter from Liverpool England comparing the Hicksite movement there with the one in the United States.
Letters to Thomas Evans from Mary Evans, Isaac Stephenson, Thomas Eddy, Thomas Willis, Josiah Foster, Margery Lambert, Elisha Bates, Moses Brown, Anderson Judkins, Stephen Gould, Mary Collins, Joseph Scattergood and others. From Cincinatti OH, New York NY, Jericho NY, Guilford Country NC, Providence RI, Liverpool England, Philadelphia PA and other unstated locations. Within this folder there is a copy of a letter from Anna Braithwaite to Elias Hicks that was circulated amongst Thomas Evans' friends. The letters include Orthodox discussion, opinions and criticism of Elias Hicks, commentary on the state of Quaker society and accounts of meetings that Elias Hicks attended. There are also letters of personal correspondence, orders for Thomas Evans' druggist business and discussion of the printing of Quaker books and letters.
Letters to Thomas Evans from J.J. Gurney, Thomas Eddy, Ann Mifflin, Isaac Stephenson, Thomas Willis, Joseph Brown, Thomas Thompson, James Carrey, Lynch Clarke, Josiah Foster, Martha Carey and others. Letters from Liverpool England, New York NY, Jericho NY, Philadelphia PA, Norwich England, Baltimore MD and other unstated locations. The letters contain yearly meeting reports about the continued disagreements between the Hicksite and Orthodox Quakers. There are several letters from England with viewpoints on the coming schism as well, including one from J.J. Gurney.
Letters to Thomas Evans from Isaac Stephenson, Stephen Gould, William Hobbs, Elis Robson, Samuel Parsons, Hannah Eddy, Joseph Withall, Elisha Bates, Martha Carey, George Williamson, Anna Nilly, Margaret Carey, Isaac Robson, Thomas Willis, Peter Barker, Elisha Bates, Hugh Balderston, George Withy, Benjamin Hoyle, Joseph Elkinton, Josiah Foster, Elijah Coffin, Charles Tatum, Hannah Rhodes and others. From Liverpool England, Manchester England, New York NY, Baltimore MD, Jericho NY, Providence RI, Milton IN, Cincinatti OH, Moorfield VA, Guilford County NC and other unstated locations. Includes copies of letters between Anna Braithwaite and Elias Hicks. The letters include commentary on the Hicksite-Orthodox schism of 1827, requests for updates on the state of society in Philadelphia, religious writing on the schism, criticism of Elias Hicks and discussion of work that will need to be done after the schism. These letters give insight into Orthodox Quaker viewpoints from a variety of locations in the United States and England following the Hicksite-Orthodox schism in 1827.
Letters to Thomas Evans from Mary Evans, J.J. Gurney, Smith Upton, Johnathan Scattergood, Margaret Carey, Martha Carey, Samuel Parsons, E.H. Davis, Margaret Chester, Benjamin Ladd, Josiah Foster, Jon Evans, Elisha Bates, William Evans, Hannah Rhodes, C. Freeland, Stephen Gould, Bartholomew Wistar, Martha Wistar, Ann Mifflin and other unidentifiable persons. From New York NY, Philadelphia PA, Baltimore MD, Norwich England, Liverpool England, Newport RI, Burlington VT and other locations. There are several letters from J.J. Gurney.
Letters to Thomas Evans from J.J. Gurney, W. Hirst, George Emlen, Bailey Dawson, Reuben Battin, John Baltin, J. Dillard and other unidentifiable persons. From Norwich England, Philadelphia PA, Charleston SC, New York NY and other locations. Includes many letters from Joseph John Gurney during the height of the Gurneyite/Wilburite schism. The letters in this file mention the founding of Haverford College, Thomas Evans' estate management and Thomas Evans' ministry.
Letters that aren't addressed to Thomas Evans or written by him. The letters contain business information pertaining to Thomas Evans' work managing estates and reports from Quaker meetings between South Carolina and New York.
Undated letters sent to Thomas Evans. Letters from Ann Mifflin, Abigail Barker, H.R. Shober, Elis Tyson, Hannah Lewis and other unidentifiable persons. The letters give reports on meeting news and discussion of Anna Braithwaite.
Badly stained, ripped or delicate letters that make reading difficult.
Receipts, documents and notorized judgement orders from the estate of Isaac Lawrence. Receipts between Henry Baltin and Thomas Dillard, agreements for property transfers, grant agreements and rental agreements.
Papers, documents and receipts pertaining to Thomas Evans and B. Wistar as trustees for Society of Friends in Philadelphia. Claim against John Townsend of New York, heir to John Kirk estate and monies owed by him concerning Friends Meeting House in Charleston, South Carolina, also the burning of that meeting house.
Documentation and receipts from the Philadelphia Asylum for Catharine Foulke. Receipts and documentation for her funeral and estate planning.
Includes copies of letters between Anna Braithwaite and Elias Hicks, a copy of meeting notes from 1704 and general documents relating to Evans' role in the in the Friends Society of Philadelphia.