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Memoir of William Crotch


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

According to an included excerpt of a retelling of his early life, Crotch grew up initially working as a waiting-boy in Lancashire where he discovered a Quaker meeting and was drawn to the Society of Friends. Also according to that account he apprenticed with a shoemaker. In 1804 Crotch visited the United States, visiting Friends and former Friends in his capacity as "seer" and minister. In 1806, after long periods of depression, he committed suicide in Philadelphia.

This collection consists of one manuscript account of the late life and suicide of William Crotch, a Quaker minister, and a set of photocopied newspaper clippings with context on Crotch's character and early life. The manuscript begins with an account of Crotch's "seer" abilities (visiting Friends and talking to them about unknowable things) and how his reputation among Friends was very high. The author proceeds to describe a period of "extreme despondency" during which Crotch returned to Philadelphia from travelling in New England. According to the author Crotch was accused of "being addicted to the vice of intemperance," but that and other rumors about Crotch's character were dispelled. The author continues by mentioning a conversation where Crotch remarked on the suicides of other men and describing the plans for Crotch's return to England. The final pages describe Crotch's suicide and include remarks by the author on how depression and suicide may have been because God was punishing people's overestimation of Crotch.

The clippings include an account of Crotch's early life from Gleanings at Seventy-Five by Susan Lukens (published in 1873), a note in a column from 1928 on Crotch's seer ability, and two excerpts from a book on the case of John Evans--one of which is John Evans' concerns about William Crotch's conduct (published in 1805) and one is Evans's "Memorandum on the death of William Crotch."

Single volume in paper wrappers with additional clippings

Purchased from Blackwell's Rare Books, April 2021

Processed by Lily Sweeney, completed May 2021


Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Lily Sweeney
Finding Aid Date
May, 2021
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

Box 3

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