Jacob R. Elfreth Jr. diaries
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
Jacob R. Elfreth Jr. (1837-1924), the son of Jacob R. Elfreth Sr. and Abigail Pierce Elfreth, was born on October 22, 1837, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a Quaker merchant, elder, and minister. Initially apprenticed for five years to J.R. Sowers & Co., dry goods, Elfreth started a carpet business with his brother, James Elfreth. Elfreth Jr. never married and died November 14, 1924, in Landsdowne, Pennsylvania.
This collection is composed of 64 volumes of the bound, handwritten diaries of Jacob R. Elfreth, Jr. Early diaries, from 1861 to 1867, focus on military movement and battles during the Civil War, reactions to President Lincoln's assassination, and the political tensions during the aftermath of the war.
The majority of entries detail day-to-day activities, family news, news of Elfreth's carpet business, attendance at Quaker meetings, social calls, accounts of weather, and births, deaths, and marriages within the Quaker community.
In later entries, beginning in 1882, Elfreth discusses his work as the School Director for Darby Borough's schools.
Processed by Kara Flynn; completed June, 2015.
- Society of Friends -- Education
- Education -- United States
- World War, 1914-1918
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History -- Sources
- Quakers -- Diaries
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Kara Flynn
- Finding Aid Date
- June, 2015
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
Discusses military movements and battles.
Hicksite meetings described. Records Rebel troops movements, particularly General Lee's troops. New York City draft riots. This volume includes a list of remedies at the back for "bite of mad dogs," "smallpox," "broken bones," and the "bite of rattle snakes."
Descriptions of Hicksite meetings, records civil war battles.
Entries describe celebrations in the streets of Philadelphia when General Lee's army surrenders. Describes reactions to Lincoln's assasination, both personal reactions, and the reactions of the people of Philadelphia. This volume includes a typed, transcribed copy of the entry concerning Elfreth's initial reaction to Lincoln's assasination. Final entries describe the end of the war.
Includes "remedies" or "cures" for; neuralgia, hydrophobia, dyspepsia, and cholera, as well as a "cholera preventative."
Entries describe political upheaval after the end of the civil war, especially concerning new president Andrew Johnson. Legislation establishing rights for formerly enslaved people.
Entries include discussions of Hicksite meetings.
Entries include discussions about issues within the local meeting, including increases in disownment. Volume includes paper cut out with the note; "given to me by Hannah Smith 4-21-1876."
European politics discussed, particularly as related to Russia.
Darby schools discussed, including books bought for the schools, supervising the building of new school houses.
Business related to schools, including vaccinating of school children.
Entries related to the Darby Home Protection Society and school taxes. Includes school tax notices for 1882, and a pamphlet with the "list of signers for license to sell liqours for year 1887, in the Buttonwood Hotel, Darby."
Included in this volume; funreal invitation, advertisement for a "ten minute headache cure."
Obituary for Morris Cope inside.
Entries discuss urban development and the disappearance of Smith's Island.
Entries related to foreign politics, including the Boer War, China, and Russia. Inside: Six pound note (1776), New Jersey, Fifty shillings (1773), Pennsylvania.
Entries discuss the rising popularity of the automobile and Elfreth's negative reactions to them.
Workers strike in Philadelphia.
Lock of hair inside, discussion of Quaker "seperation."
Entries discuss aging and events related to WWI.
Entries discuss WWI, the Peace Party.
Foreign politics- China, Russia.
Entries related to WWI, the American government's control of foreign trade.
Foreign politics, particularly Germany, Russia, and peace treaties. Inside volume; two "fractional currency" three cent bills, dated 1863.
Entries related to gardening.
Foreign politics, particularly Eastern Europe.
Entries related to gardening.