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Collection of Signatures


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

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was born December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was the son of John Whittier and Abigail Hussey Whittier, Quaker farmers, and began to write poetry at the age of 14. Whittier's first poem was published by William Lloyd Garrison in 1826, and he persuaded his parents to send him to Haverhill Academy for two terms. His poetry, influenced by Byron, Burns, and Wadsworth, was well-received, and he also edited several New England newspapers and served one term in the Massachusetts legislature. In 1833, Whittier published a tract proposing immediate and unconditional emancipation of enslaved persons. He became a leading abolitionist, writing poems and essays supporting anti-slavery, lecturing, and editing newspapers. Believing that the anti-slavery movement needed a political vehicle, he helped found the Liberty Party in 1839, and supported the efforts of Massachusetts legislators to influence decisions in Washington, D.C. Poor health forced his retirement after 1840 to a house in Amesbury, Massachusetts, where his poetry focused on New England rural life and traditions. In particular, his poems "Snow Bound" and "Tent on the Beach" were critical and financial successes, and he was widely accepted as a major American poet. His poetry focused on religious and moral themes, but was not encumbered by theological issues; he appealed to both Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers, combining Quaker quietism with a respect for the Bible. In 1881, he was awarded an LL.D. from Harvard University, and he died September 7, 1892.

Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847) was a Quaker banker in Norwich, England. He was born at Earlham Hall near Norwich in 1788, the son of John Gurney. Educated by a tutor at the University of Oxford, in 1818, Gurney was a recorded a Quaker minister, and was involved in prison reform and traveled to prisons throughout Great Britain. He was also involved in abolition efforts and campaigned for abolition on trips to the United States from 1837 to 1840. In his travels to the United States, Gurney's belief in the importance of the text of the Bible lead to the spilt in Quakerism between the Gurneyites and the Wilburites. Gurney was also an early supporter of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He died in 1847.

This collection contains the signatures of Howard Pyle, Helen Hunt Jackson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Stephen Pike, Rachel Barker, Thomas Chalkely, Priscilla Hunt, Joseph John Gurney, and Margaret Drabble.

This collection is arranged in a single folder.


Processed by Alexandra Stern; completed March, 2019.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Alexandra Stern
Finding Aid Date
March, 2019
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

Signatures, undated.
Box 57

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