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Hannah Whitall Smith correspondence


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

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Mickle and Mary Tatum Whitall. She married Robert Pearsall Smith in 1851. They were both devout Quakers and exponents of a fourfold gospel which included justification, sanctification, the second coming, and faith healing. Around 1848, Whitall Smith had a mystical experience that influenced the later course of her life. Whitall Smith wrote many Christian tracts, including The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life in 1875, a work that was issued in over 100 editions and was translated into many languages. In 1886, Whitall Smith and her husband settled permanently in England.

Whitall Smith's children included Logan Pearsall Smith, who graduated from Haverford College in 1884 and became a writer and critic. He also moved to England and left the Society of Friends about 1913. Smith's daughter, Alys, married Bertrand Russell; her daughter, Mary, married Bernard Berenson. Whitall Smith was the aunt of M. Carey Thomas, president of Bryn Mawr College.

(Information from the Dictionary of Quaker Biography and other sources)

The collection consists of a group of 55 letters addressed between 1899 and 1911 by Hannah Whitall Smith to her dear friend Kate, whom she always referred to as "sister." In addition, there are two poems and one Christmas card. The letters are often religious in tone. Smith relates news of her family, including Logan Pearsall Smith and Alys Smith Russell, especially regarding Russell's health, visits from friends, references to Bertrand Russell, Quakers and Quaker Meeting, particularly in Philadelphia, as well as British Women's Meeting, temperance, living a simple Quaker life, writing of her new book, health issues, and old age.

Accession # 6980

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

Letters, 1899-1903.
Box 36 Folder 1
Letters, 1904-1911, undated.
Box 36 Folder 2
Transcriptions of letters, undated.
Box 36 Folder 3
Poems and Christmas cards, undated.
Box 36 Folder 4

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