Main content

Naomi and Rayner Kelsey 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

Rayner Wickersham Kelsey (1879-1935), a graduate of Earlham College, received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California in 1909. From 1901 to 1904, he was professor of German and public speaking at Pacific College (now George Fox University) in Oregon and then at Whittier College in California until 1909. In 1909, he was appointed professor of American history at Haverford College and curator of its Quaker Collection. Kelsey was an authority on Quakers and Native Americans; he authored the book "Friends and the Indians" in 1917. He was also author of the "Centennial History of Moses Brown School" and a short biography of William Penn. He married Naomi Binford in 1901. He was a member of Haverford Monthly Meeting and a Quaker minister.

Naomi Kelsey (1875/6-1967) was a member of Haverford Monthly Meeting and president of the Haverford College Women's Faculty Club.

The papers include the correspondence of Rayner and Naomi Kelsey and letters to Wilfred and Sherma Kelsey. Correspondents include: John B. Garrett, Rayner W. Kelsey, Elizabeth B. Jones, Rufus M. Jones, J. Usang Ly, Roderick Scott, Isaac Sharpless, and Albert H. Wilson. There is a diary kept by Naomi Kelsey, probably in 1936, during a leg of a world cruise, recording events in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Hawaii, and discussing people with whom she visits. There are sermons and talks of Rayner Kelsey that span several topics and decades. Finally, there are a number of miscellaneous objects including a badge created during Henry Clay's run for the presidency.

The Naomi and Rayner Kelsey papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College over six accessions during 1990-1992 by Sherma Kelsey. Accession #5417, #5568, #5531, #5468, #6913, #6981.

Processed by Mary A. Crauderueff; completed March, 2016.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Mary A. Crauderueff
Finding Aid Date
March, 2016
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Rayner and Naomi Kelsey Correspondence, 1909-1952.
Scope and Contents

Correspondents include: John B. Garrett, Rayner W. Kelsey, Elizabeth B. Jones, Mary Hoxie Jones, Rufus M. Jones, Anna Rhoads Ladd, J. Usang Ly, Roderick Scott, Isaac Sharpless, Lydia Sharpless, Albert H. Wilson.

Letters to Wilfred and Sherma Kelsey, 1947-1949.
Scope and Content

Ideas for research needs; "criticism" sometimes heard that under Gilbert White, Haverford is becoming a Quaker institution; discussion in Meetings on the efficacy of First Day schools.

Diary, circa 1936.
Box 29 Folder 2
Scope and Contents

Diary describes places visited by Naomi Kelsey while on a world cruise aboard the S.S. Reliance, including Hong Kong, China, Japan and Hawaii. Kelsey mentions meeting such people and Gilbert and Minnie Pickett Bowles, Esther Rhoads, Gurney Binford, Edith Sharpless, J. Usang Li and others. Included as well are snapshots, postcards, clippings, but also a letter from Albert Wilson, dated February 8, 1936 (moved to correspondence) stating that he has learned of her being in Bombay, thus the attribution of 1936 to this diary.

Scope and Contents

These are Rayner Kelsey's notes toward talks in various places. Most talks have a title, date and place given on the envelopes which contained the notes. Some envelopes are empty. There are a few undated photographs of Native Americans (Myra Fry, McCloud, OK and Mrs. Sueze Black Dog, Hominy) in folder 4.Topics include: Quakers and Native Americans, Native Americans, Society of Friends.

Physical Description

4 folders

Sermons, 1909-1916.
Box 30 Folder 1
Sermons, 1919-1923.
Box 30 Folder 2
Sermons, 1924-1925.
Box 30 Folder 3
Sermons and Talks, Undated.
Box 30 Folder 4
Photographs, 1901-1904.
Box 30 Folder 5
Scope and Contents

Photographs at Pacific (now George Fox College). The photographs are of groups, perhaps faculty, one identifying Rayner and Naomi Kelsey, and a few of the interior of their home.

Miscellaneous, 1842, 1900, 1929, undated.
Box 30 Folder 6
Scope and Content

Henry Clay badge as candidate for president in 1842 and miniature oval portrait All-Quaker program, 1900 (Friends Bible Institute) Clippings about Rayner Kelsey Cartoon drawn by Wendell Blancke, Haverford College class of 1929, depicting class taught by Rayner Kelsey. Postcard: "Mission des Amis," undated, post W.W.I.

Quakeriana Notes, 1933-1935.
Box 30 Folder 7
Scope and Content

Quakeriana Notes were issued by the Quaker Collection of Haverford College and published by Haverford College. They were edited by Rayner Kelsey until his death in 1935. Attached to the inside front cover is a poem written by J. Russell Hayes upon the death of Kelsey. Laid in are seven letters of Kelsey to Hayes, librarian at Swarthmore College. Highlights of these letters include: Haverford, Pa., 1930 10/17. [refers to account of visit of Friends to Indians of NY in 1806 and 1837] Haverford, Pa. 1932 12/2. [Exeter Monthly Meeting has deposited their records at Swarthmore] Haverford, Pa. 1933 10/11. ["Quakeriana Notes" were conceived by Kelsey]

Print, Suggest