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Marriott C. Morris collection on cycling


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 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

Marriott Canby Morris (1863-1948) was a resident of the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marriot was born into the prominent Morris family, Quakers who can trace their lineage back to Anthony Morris, who immigrated to Philadelphia in the 1680s. Marriott's parents were Elliston Perot Morris and Martha Canby Morris and his paternal grandparents were Samuel Buckley Morris and Hannah Perot. Marriott was educated at the traditional Quaker institutions of Westtown School and Haverford College. He was an avid cyclist and accomplished photographer, both of which he became interested in during his time at Haverford. Throughout his life Morris captured thousands of images of his family, friends, various travel locations, and other subjects. Morris married Jane Gibbons Rhoads in 1897 and they had three children: Elliston Perot Morris Jr., Marriott Canby Morris Jr., and Janet Morris. He and his family traveled often to their summer home in Sea Girt, New Jersey.

In the 1880s Morris and several friends went on a bicycle tour of Europe and Great Britain. He also traveled to Bermuda in 1886, a trip for which he sent ahead his bicycle. He embarked on at least two more European tours in 1890 and 1894. When Morris married Jane Rhoads in 1897, they went to Europe for their honeymoon and they both rode bicycles. Marriott was a member of various cycling groups, including the League of American Wheelmen, and participated in a number of races and bicycle rallies. He loved to ride and show of his ability with the penny-farthing (high wheel) bicycle after the advent of the safety bicycle in the late 1880s. After the safety bicycle became popular, many did not know how or have the skill to ride the high wheel. Morris rode bicycles for as long as he was able up until about a year before his death.

The Marriott C. Morris collection on cycling, 1881-1980 (bulk 1881-1897), consists of materials that Morris collected regarding cycling and cycling organizations, including various published items and ephemera. The collection also contains scrapbooks, photographs, journal entries from cycling trips taken by Morris, including a trip to Europe, and other materials.

Most of the collection consists of printed matter and published materials. The printed matter series includes items such as advertisements for bicycle related products and small pamphlets and booklets on various topics, including women and cycling, building roadways that are safe for bicycle travel, and bicycle care. Printed sheet music for a song about a wheelman (cyclist) is also in this series. There are also several brochures and informational pamphlets for various cycling tours in Europe and one in North America. Flyers, brochures, and other printed matter from various bicycle organizations such as the League of American Wheelmen and the Veteran Wheelmen's Association are present in this series. There is also the constitution and bylaws of the Boston Bicycle Club, 1911. Additionally there are a small number of advertisements for gas cooking ranges, a booklet with the rules for lawn tennis, and a pamphlet from the Novelties exhibit at the Franklin Institute in this series. Of special interest in the printed matter series is a large number of creative and colorful advertisements related to cycling. Some of them contain jokes or have pop-up portions. Another interesting item in this series are the remnants from a catalog for cycling suits, which includes swatches for the various fabric options.

The published materials series consists of whole issues and clippings from newspapers and magazines related to cycling, as well as newsletters and journals from various cycling groups. Some of the serials that are best represented in this series are the League of American Wheelmen Bulletin, the Bicycling World Bulletin, American Bicyclist, American Athlete, and the Wheelwoman and Society Cycling News. There is also a small number of published books, including the Pennsylvania Road Book and the Cyclist's Road Book. Some of the materials in this series relate to women in cycling.

The personal series contains photographs, photograph albums, a scrapbook, pocket diaries, a small number of letters to Morris, and other personal items collected or created by Morris, including ephemera from his European cycling tour in 1890 and two tickets to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. There are also five volumes relating to Morris's 1890 cycling tour across Europe: a scrapbook with clippings, cyanotypes, maps and other printed matter; a photograph album split into two volumes featuring photographs taken by Morris; and two editions of "Wheel Tracks in Foreign Lands: Recollections of a Cycling Tour through Europe During the Summer of 1890" by James Wilkinson. This book was written and compiled by one of Morris's friends who was on the European cycling tour in 1890. Locations visited during the tour include France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. Wilkinson was elected the group's historian for the trip and Morris was elected the assistant historian. The book contains published text about the group's experiences in Europe and features photographs (actual photographs, not replicas of the image printed on the page) of the cyclists and various European sights. Many of the photographs in this book were taken by Morris. The two editions of this book in the collection are slightly different. They have different binding and at least one of the photographs which is captioned in one of the volumes is not captioned in the other. The photograph album in two volumes that Morris compiled of the 1890 trip mostly contains images of the sights they saw in Europe and not as many images of people on the trip. There are two pocket diaries from Morris's 1894 European trip: an account book and a journal. There were several loose items in the journal, including clippings, receipts, a letter of credit, a list of European dentists, business cards, and other materials. These items were removed and placed into a folder.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu.
Finding Aid Date
; 2017.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Collection Inventory

Bicycle care and products, 1883-1930s.
Box 1
Bicycle event flyers and other printed matter from bicycle organizations, 1883-1930s.
Box 1
European tours, 1883-1930s.
Box 2
Roads, 1883-1930s.
Box 2
Women in cycling, 1883-1930s.
Box 2
Other printed matter, 1883-1930s. 1980.
Box 2, 10, 15

American Athlete, 1880s-1900.
Box 3
American Bicyclist, 1880s-1900.
Box 3
Bicycling World, 1882-1883.
Box 11
The Bicycling World Bulletin, 1880s-1900.
Box 3
The Cycling West: Holiday Edition (2), 1894.
Box 4
The Cyclist: Christmas Number [British periodical], 1883.
Box 5
The Cyclist's Road Book, 1892.
Box 7
League of American Wheelmen Bulletin, 1880s-1899.
Box 3
Pennsylvania Road Book Eastern Section (2), 1898, circa 1900.
Box 6
The Wheelwoman and Society Cycling News, 1880s-1900.
Box 3
Miscellaneous clippings, 1880s-1937.
Box 3, 15
Miscellaneous publications, 1880s-1900.
Box 3, 15

Photographs, 1890, 1920s.
Box 3, 15
Photographs, 1930s.
Box 3, 15
Photographs, 1930s.
Box 3, 15
Miscellaneous letters, 1890s.
Box 3, 15
Items removed from journal in box ten, 1893-1894.
Box 3, 15
Wheel Tracks in Foreign Lands: Recollections of a Cycling Tour through Europe During the Summer of 1890, 1890.
Box 8
Wheel Tracks in Foreign Lands: Recollections of a Cycling Tour through Europe During the Summer of 1890, 1890.
Box 9
Scrapbook from 1890 European tour, 1890.
Box 12
Photograph album volume 1 from 1890 European tour, 1890.
Box 13
Photograph album volume 2 from 1890 European tour, 1890.
Box 14
Account book from 1894 European tour, 1890.
Box 10
Journal from 1894 European tour, 1890.
Box 10

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