Main content

William Canby diary and commonplace book


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 Canby was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 11, 1822, to James Canby and Elizabeth Roberts. He began attending Haverford College in 1837, graduating two years later in 1839. On April 30, 1846, he married Ann Tatnall. Canby was a member of the 4th and Arch streets body of Friends, a farmer, and a "prominent and esteemed businessman." He died in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 15, 1897, at the age of 75.

In his diary, William Canby records his involvement as a member of the Haverford Loganian Society and the Penn Literary Society, becoming a teller in the latter. As a member of these societies, he participated in discussions concerning a new greenhouse and debated different social and historical questions. He documents sermons at the Quaker Meeting House and, although he occassionally mentions other lecturers, Canby mainly focuses on lessons form D.B. Smith in Moral Philosophy, Religion, and Anatomy. At Haverford, Canby documents his run-ins with the school disciplinarian, "Old John," for staying up past bed time, staying out late in the evening, drinking, smoking, and making "milk toast" after hours; he was punished with isolation for most of these transgressions. Canby's final examinations at Haverford were in History, Philosophy, and Surveying.

Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Copied from photostat- December, 1933, by Anna B. Hewitt, Assistant Curator of Quakeriana.

The William Canby diary was loaned to Haverford College in 1930 by Henry S. Canby to create photocopic.

Processed by David Canada; completed October, 2016.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
David Canada
Finding Aid Date
October, 2016
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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

Collection Inventory

William Canby diary photostatic copy, 1837 November 01-1839 April 08.
Volume 1
commonplace book, 1839.
Volume 2
William Canby diary transcription, undated.
Volume 3

Print, Suggest