Main content

William Smith Collection


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

William Smith was born in 1727 in Aberdeen Scotland, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (née Duncan) Smith. He was awarded a Bachelors and a Masters degree from the University of Aberdeen, and later a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin. Smith moved to Philadelphia upon the invitation of Benjamin Franklin and Richard Peters, from whom he accepted an offer to teach at Philadelphia College (now the University of Pennsylvania). He held the post of Provost of the college from 1755 to 1759. Smith was active in both the Anglican Church and the political sphere of the city, and published at least two diatrabes against the pacifist political nature of the Quakers, then the political elite, advocating for their disenfranchisement and, in some cases, execution. He was jailed for this criticism in 1758. Smith was especially enraged by the percieved inaction of the Quakers in response to the threat of a French invasion in 1755 and the attacks in the regions surrounding Philadelphia by France's Native American allies. He advocated heavily for the appointing of an Anglican bishop in America. Smith married Rebecca Moore, the daughter of William Moore, in 1758, with whom he had seven children. He died in 1803 in his country estate outside of the city.

This collection contains a handwritten copy of correspondance from William Smith, an Anglican priest and the first Provost of Philadelphia College (later the University of Pennsylvania), to an unnamed acquaintance in England regarding the political history of colonial Pennsylvania and the threat of a French invasion of the colony.

This collection is arranged in one series, Handwriten copy of pamphlet.

Processed by Alexandra Stern, completed September 2018.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Alexandra Stern
Finding Aid Date
September, 2018
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use (if there are restrictions indicated it here)

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest