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S. Francis Nicholson 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.

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Samuel Francis Nicholson, born on May 29, 1900 in Baltimore, MD, graduated from Westtown School in 1917 and, after serving with the American Friends Service Committee in the rebuilding of French villages in 1919, from Earlham College in 1921. After earning an MBA at Harvard Business School, Nicholson was hired by the Provident Trust Company where he served as Vice President in charge of the Investment Department for the next 42 years. Nicholson pioneered the idea of minimizing risk by creating a diverse common trust fund, as well as the idea of conceptualizing the value and risks of common stocks through attention to the price/earnings ratio. He published an article on the latter in 1960 in the Financial Analysis Journal.

Nicholson served Westtown School on its General Committee from 1967-1994, and on its Investment Committee from 1968 through 1994. He also served the Friends Fiduciary Corporation for 60 years. He was an early practitioner of "socially responsible investing," and published many of his ideas in the Pendle Hill Pamphlet Quaker Money. Nicholson died on January 10, 2005. He was married to Evelyn Hope Haworth.

Evelyn Hope Haworth entered Westtown School in the fall of 1919 from Primos, PA. She graduated with the Class of 1921, and later studied for a year at Swarthmore College. She married S. Francis Nicholson, Westtown class of 1917, in 1925. They had three children: James Vincent (Tim) Nicholson, Frances Hope Nicholson Beer, and Joan Haworth Nicholson. Evelyn was appointed registrar of the Westtown Old Scholars Association in 1944, and was involved in many activities throughout her life. She died in 1994.

The papers of S. Francis Nicholson that relate to Westtown School include correspondence regarding dinners and programs of the Friends of Westtown; Westtown Alumni Association (WAA) correspondence, fliers, and pamphlets regarding Alumni Days--especially the 50th reunion of the Class of 1917--and fundraising efforts; and agendas and correspondence from Nicholson's years as Alumni Association President (1960, 1961, and 1962). A gathering of General Committee minutes from 1968-1997 (not exhaustive) and its By Laws is also included here.

The collection also includes a considerable body of documents relating to Nicholson's role as a financial advisor to the school. There are notes on investing and on questions to ask on stock performance; and correspondence and proposals regarding annuities, pooled life funds, and the "value approach" to investing. There are notes, article drafts, and letters concerning the application of Quaker principles to investment and endowment; materials connected with his participation in the 11/7/1998 "Quaker Values in the World of Commerce Symposium;" and correspondence about his contribution to the Bicentennial book Westtown in Word and Deed. Collected here also are minutes, agendas reports and "internal reports" of the Investment Committee, a subcommittee of the General Committee, and Annual Reports and correspondence regarding the Westtown Pooled Life Income Fund from 1978-1997 (not exhaustive).

The file of materials from Nicholson's "Student Years" include programs, the constitution of the WAA, By Laws and an Honorary Membership Certificate of the Westtown Literary Union, report cards for 1916-1917, graduation materials, a note on his room, two notebooks and several essays and letters.

Nicholson also served on the "Alumni Music Committee," and so one folder is included that contains correspondence regarding purchases of instruments, rules for Victor victrola use, record library purchases, expenditures, committee membership, and music for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the school.

An addition to the collection includes Westtown course work in forestry and English; class of 1917 list; and a 1940s letter to James Walker concerning admission of "colored" children to Westtown School.

The papers of Evelyn Haworth Nicholson date from her time as a student and also relate to her involvement in planning reunions for the Westtown Class of 1921. Student material includes grade reports, certificates, essays, and a note from Carroll T. Brown. Reunion planning material includes correspondence from classmates, programs, and notes following the gathering.

An inventory of this collection is as follows: Folder 1: Westtown Alumni Association: Friends of Westtown Dinners. 4/5/74. Correspondence regarding programs. Folder 2: Westtown School--Alumni Association--General. 1936 Alumni Day invitations, Westtown postcards, 150th Anniversary Fund Letter, 11/29/1945. Correspondence from members, 1920-1963. Fliers, letters, cards, pamphlets on fundraising campaigns. Folder 3: Westtown Alumni Association--SFN President, 1960, 61, 62. Annual Meeting Agenda. Invitations, other forms of correspondence about speakers and funds. Folder 4: SFN--Westtown--Investment--Pooled Fund--misc. Miscellaneous notes on investments, questions to ask on stock performance. Year end and June 30th procedure. Folder 5: SFN Westtown Writings, 7/3/06. Letters to committee, 11/1991, on "Value Approach" to investments. Gift Annuity proposal. Correspondence with S. Mays. Consolidated Fund procedures, n.d. Pooled Funds Participations, n.d. Correspondence on Westtown investments. Folder 6: Westtown--Investment Committee--Appointment--Personal. Brown & White article, "Westtown Invests in S. Africa" by D. Kessler, 6/1989. Letter of Stuart Mays on a "Book of Values," 9/14/1998. Other correspondence. Folder 7: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee Minutes, Agendas, Internal Reports, 1987-1997. Mostly handwritten notes or drafts. Folder 8: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee Minutes, Agendas, Internal Reports, 1980-1986. Mostly handwritten on legal sized paper, or in photostat of the same. Folder 9: SFN--Westtown, student years. W.O.S.A. postcard from Esther White, 11/16/1916. Westtown Oral English Contest program, 3/17/1917. W.A.A. Constitution, n.d. W.L.U. Constitution and By Laws, pamphlet, 1914. SFN Report Cards: 11/8/1916, 12/6/16, 1/17/17, 3/21/17, 5/2/17, 5/30/17, 6/22/17. W.L.U. Honorary Member Certificate, 6/21/1917. Note by SFN on his room. Commencement invitation, program & cards, in envelope addressed to Mr. & Mrs. S.E. Nicholson. Invitation to C.T. Brown's & A.H. Brown's house for supper, 5/23/1917, in envelope. Commencement program, invitation, cards, 6/22/1917. Cards for Literary Union Program, W.O.S.A. 20th Reunion, 6/9/1917. Ethics notebook. English literature notebook. Algebra I quiz. American history essay. Miscellaneous school papers (forestry, short story, history, etc.) Letters, Wm. Cheney, Lydia Bicknell, Griffith George Levering. Brown & White, 10/30/1917. Folder 10: SFN--50th Reunion Westtown, and other reunions. 1917 Class Bulletin: report on the 9/25/1921 reunion. Letters, E. Rhoads, D. Test, Wm. Chaney, J. Barclay Jones, SFN, Eleanor R. McFarland, Mary Ladd, Class of 1917 (mimeographed), H. Richardson, J. Batley, R. Sackett, G.R. Williams, R. N. Wood, T. Foster, C.P. Rhoads, D. H. Darnell, "Marion"; 1952-1967. Class Ode by Peter Donchian, for 50th Reunion. Address list, Class of 1917. List of gifts, penciled, n.d. Receipt from Westtown School to Mrs. Jos. McFarland, 1/10/1966. Class gift working notes, pencil and ink. Folder 11: SFN--Westtown--Miscellaneous, 1970's-1990's. Reports & correspondence re. long term financial planning for Westtown School. Application of Quaker principles to investing. SFN on instant expulsion for substance abuse. Westtown not to become a school only for the wealthy. On fundraising tactics. Folder 12: Westtown School Investments. SFN to Tom Farquhar on investment "gambling." Quotation for brochure. "Performance Investing at Westtown School," SFN on change at Westtown at the time of its Bicentennial. "Value approach to Investing at Westtown," 1991. "Afterthoughts on Endowment," 1993, 1995. "Quality of Life" as represented in investing. Folder 13: Westtown Commerce Symposium, 1998, and Bicentennial Book. Program: "Quaker Values in the World of Commerce," 11/7/1998. "Thoughts about Goals and Problems Referred to in Westtown Symposium"; typed text and handwritten draft. Correspondence re. the Symposium. Handout for those attending the Symposium. Correspondence re. SFN's contribution to Word & Deed. Folder 14: SFN Westtown Alumni Music Committee. Correspondence re. music at Westtown, 1947, including instruments for purchase, homemade victrola, rules for use of victrola, recording library chosen by Margaret Thorp. Gilbert & Sullivan program, 1950's. Expenditures. Report of the Lending Library of victrola records. Music Committee membership. An orchestra. Music for celebration of the 150th Anniversary, 5/27-28/1949. Gilbert & Sullivan song scripts, multiple copies. Script for an Othello show, mimeographed. Folder 15: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee Minutes, Agendas, Internal Reports 1976-1979. Handwritten reports and figures (with explanatory text). Minutes. All on accounting paper. Investment Policy Statement. Correspondence re. business of Committee. Folder 16: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee Minutes, agendas, internal reports, 1971-1975. Reports, figures with explanations handwritten on accounting paper. Folder 17: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee, Minutes, Agendas, Reports to Committee. 1965-1970. Folder 18: SFN--Westtown Annuities. Folder 19: SFN--Westtown Investment Committee Correspondence. (Note penciled on folder: "Some original writings on policies removed by JVN 7/3/06".) 1969-1997. Folder 20: SFN--Westtown--General Committee Minutes and By-Laws, & Exec. Committee. 1968-1997. Set is not complete. Folder 21: SFN--Westtown Investment Management. Draft: "Investment Policy Statement"; mimeographed copy, n.d., typed. "Policy statement replacing statement dated 6/15/77"; "Confidential," typed, photostat copy, 4/1993, including second copy. Policies, handwritten, 1995. Two letters on deferred giving, SFN to J. Batley, 7/28/1995, and 10/20/1996. Investment Policy Statement, 6/15/1977; photostat copy of typed original. "Basic Principles," handwritten, n.d. Folder 22: SFN--Westtown--Accounting. Procedures for trust accounting, handwritten draft, 5/31/1977. "Westtown Accounts"; assumptions concerning accounting reports; handwritten photostat copy, 7/1977. "Thoughts about accounting, Westtown School," 7/5/1977, addressed to John Batley and Paul Brown; observations on a recent report, 7/5/1977; handwritten photostat copy. Folder 23: SFN--Westtown Pooled Life Income Fund Annual Reports. 1978-1997, not complete. All typed, some photostat copies. Folder 24: SFN--Westtown Pooled Life--Correspondence. 1984-1995. Letters between SFN and J. E. Rhoads, J. Batley, Peter Hemmenway of Hemmenway & Rhinehardt, Inc., B. Harrison, D. Battis, K.C. Mandebaum, and Mary E.R. McKinstry. Also, PA Merchant Group Ltd. Statement for 1/26/1991-2/22/1991. Folder 25: Westtown Pooled Life. Correspondence re. Pooled Life Fund, 1984-1997. Letters, reports, tax return. Involves SFN, Peter Hemmenway, J.R. Batley, Hemmenway & Rhinehardt. Folder 26: Investment Committee--Annual and Special Reports to General Committee. Mostly printed and a few handwritten drafts. Reports (handwritten original drafts, photostat copies of handwritten originals, typed and signed originals & photocopies of same). Annual Reports of Investment Committee, 1968-1997 (incomplete); handwritten personal observations of SFN, and a letter of J.R. Batley to SFN, typed and signed original. Folder 27: Notebook of essays and other course work Folder 28: Forestry Class Folder 29: Class of 1917 Commencement program and class list 1937; Letter [draft?], page one only, to "James"; presumably SFN to James Walker regarding admission of Negroes to Westtown. Mss. draft of Faculty Advisor program for Westtown. Folder 30: Evelyn H. Haworth Nicholson Papers, Westtown School years Folder 31: Evelyn H. Haworth Nicholson Papers, Westtown reunions

Gift of James V. (Tim) Nicholson, 2005 (Acc. 2006.18, Acc. 2010.08).

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.

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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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