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Albert L. Baily, Jr. papers


Held at: Westtown School Archives [Contact Us]975 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA, 19382

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Westtown School Archives. 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

Albert L. Baily, Jr. was a teacher at Westtown School, a prominent Quaker boarding school in Chester County, Pennsylvania, from 1921 to 1955. Born in 1890, Baily was the son of Albert Baily, Sr., and Eliza Montell Lycett Baily. He graduated from Haverford College in 1912. In 1914, he married Helen Morton Smedley.

"In 1921, Albert L. Baily, Jr. began teaching French, botany, biology and Bible at Westtown School, where he also developed the arboretum, supervised the building of an outdoor theater and promoted music and drama. During the Depression he and his wife operated a student work camp in Maine, where they also helped organize a fish freezing plant. During World War II, the Bailys opened their home to conscientious objectors. Mr. Baily taught at Pendle Hill [Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation in Wallingford, Pa.] for several years and, after retiring, he and his wife opened a shop in their Parkerville home where they sold American Indian crafts they had obtained in their travels across the country.

"Baily was very interested in studies about the New Testament Gospels. His interpretation, teachings, and writings about the gospels, such as Dramatizations From the Life of Jesus (1964), were very much influenced by his teacher, Henry Burton Sharman (1865-1953). Sharman published his own parallel version of the New Testament Gospels in 1917, which he titled Records of the Life of Jesus.

"Mr. Baily wrote numerous papers and studies, including... Saltwater Ballads and Some Not So Salt (1971). He was on the board of Cheyney State College, the committee operating Westtown School, and the Associated Executive Committee on Indian Affairs, and was an elder of the Westtown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends."


Quoted text from: Obituary from West Chester Daily Local News, November 8, 1974.

Most of the collection includes materials relating to Albert L. Baily, Jr.'s studies of the synoptic gospels with Henry B. Sharman at Pendle Hill; his associations with others teaching from The Records of the Life of Jesus, and Baily's own writings interpreting the gospels. The collection also includes oral histories of the student work camp, "Three Fevers Camp," that Baily and his wife ran in the fishing town of Sebasco, Maine. A third concentration of materials in this collection includes Baily's music, especially the ballads that he wrote and performed in Maine, at Westtown, and elsewhere, and other material connected with his family and Westtown School.

Baily's materials connected with his studies in and teaching of The Records of the Life of Jesus include: notes taken during a course at Pendle Hill taught by H.B. Sharman, 1931-1932; letters from Sharman to Baily, 1935; and minutes, correspondence, brochures, and newsletters connected with seminars on the subject at Camp Minnesing, Ontario, Canada, Pendle Hill, and the Southwest Seminar in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico. Also included are materials, including articles of incorporation, correspondence, and minutes, relating to Alpha Psi Zeta Foundation and its Central Group (of which Baily was a member) which was created to spread the teaching of The Records and provide a formal association for those committed to the life it describes. There are also two typescripts, one original and one a carbon copy, of the four volumes of Baily's unpublished Jesus, an Unconventional Approach, completed in 1959; Baily's broken copy of Sharman's Records, and three of his copies of Sharman's Studies in the Records of the Life of Jesus(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1938).

The history of the Baily's "Three Fevers Camp" in Sebasco, Maine, is documented through nineteen booklet-sized volumes containing oral history interviews, letters, theses, and other documents that were produced between 1939 and 1990.

A third category of materials are miscellaneous documents associated with the Baily family. They include collections of Baily's odes (1966) and ballads (undated), written, performed, and recorded on CD. They also include a biographical appreciation by son-in-law Charles K. Brown III (undated); a short history of the Three Fevers Camp, 1946; and a letter from Albert Baily, Jr. in New Orleans to Lang Baily and Ellen Brown, 1947.

Items in the collection are grouped by accession, so some related items may be found in separated folders.

A more detailed finding aid with a container list is available on-site.

Gifts of Charles K. Brown III. Accessions 1994.12, 2010.07, 2010.09 and 2010.22

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Westtown School Archives directly for more information.

Westtown School Archives
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Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Westtown School Archives
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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