Abby Hopper Gibbons Family Photographs
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. 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
Abigail Hopper Gibbons (1801-1893) was an important figure in many of the reform movements in the middle and late nineteenth century. Like her father, Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), "Abby" Gibbons was an ardent abolitionist and dedicated to prison reform. She served as a Civil War nurse and visited army camps in that period and also was a welfare worker. After the War, she established a "Labor and Aid Society" to provide work for returning veterans. Abby Hopper Gibbons was one of the founders of the Women's Prison Association and The Isaac T. Hopper Home in New York City, which was established to aid former prisoners' return to society. Many of the leading reformers of the day were entertained in her New York City home; the house was destroyed by a mob during the 1863 draft riots.
Abigail Hopper Gibbons was born in Philadelphia in 1801, the third of ten children. In 1833, she married fellow Quaker, James Sloan Gibbons, in New York City. Both before and after her marriage, she directed Quaker schools. Like her father and her husband, she was deeply committed to anti-slavery concerns. After they were disowned by the New York Monthly Meeting (Hicksite) in 1841 for their writing and testimonies against slavery, the following year she resigned her membership, along with her four minor children. Nonetheless, the family remained "Quakerly" in worship and life-style.
Abigail and James Gibbons had six children. Two boys died in infancy, and a third son died suddenly after an accident while a student at Harvard.
Abigail Hopper Gibbons remained active in reform concerns into old age, and in her later years dressed dolls in Quaker dress to present to quarantined and hospitalized children.
This collection includes: a carte de visite album compiled by Abby Hopper Gibbons; a daguerreotype of Abby with her husband James and children; and photographs of her descendents, the Dunning family. There is also a later (1990s) color photograph of a doll dressed by Abby Hopper Gibbons that was donated to the Friends Historical Library at the same time as these photographs.
This collection is arranged in roughly chronological order.
These photographs were removed from the Abby Hopper Gibbons Papers, RG 5/174. That collection was given to FHL in 1987 and 1993 by the three great-grandchildren, Sarah Dunning Schear, James Morse Dunning, and Frances Dunning Beebe.
The Abby Hopper Gibbons Photograph Album was acquired separately as a purchase from Archway Books, NH (acc. 2014.014).
In 2018, an Abby Hopper Gibbons album purchased from a bookdealer (acc. #2014.014), which was formerly processed as a separate collection as PA 174, was added to thise collection
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James Bradley Thayer (1831-1902) American legal writer. Friend of Willie's at Harvard.
William Sydney Thayer (1830-1864) Editor of NY Post, military adventurer in Nicaragua, died serving as US consul in Egypt. Friend of Willie's at Harvard. (two photos)
James Coolidge Carter (1827-1905) New York City attorney. Friend of Willie's at Harvard.
Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight Sedgwick (1801-1864) Headmistress of a school for young ladies in Lenox, Massachusetts; taught Abby's two oldest daughters.
James Walker (1794-1874) President of Harvard at time of Willie's death, consoled Abby when she visited Cambridge
Isaac Tatem Hopper (1771-1852) Quaker abolitionist; Abby's father.
Hannah Attmore Hopper (1789 -1868) Abby's mother.
William "Willie" Hopper Gibbons (1834-1855) Abby's first-born; written as "William Gibbons Hopper" in index, presumably reflecting Abby's particular attachment to him. (3 photos, including one with another boy whose name in the index is unclear.
Julia Gibbons (1837-1889) Abby's second daughter.
James Sloan Gibbons (1810-1892) Abby's husband
Lucy Gibbons Morse (1839-1936) Abby's youngest daughter.
Sarah Hopper Gibbons (1835-1918) Abby's oldest daughter.
William Emerson Jr, (1835-1864) Sarah's husband, nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson
John Hopper (1815-1864) Abby's brother
Isaac Tatem Hopper (1855-1874) Son of Abby's brother Edward; photo date 1872 on reverse
Maria Hopper (1845-1899) Daughter of Abby's brother Edward
Josiah Hopper (1813-1854) Abby's brother
Sarah Hopper Palmer (1796-1885) Abby's sister
Edward Hopper (1810/12-1893) Abby's brother
Anna Mott Hopper (1812-1874) Daughter of Lucretia Mott, wife of Edward Hopper
Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917) New York attorney; Willie's friend at HLS; helped Abby, James and their daughters when their house was attacked during the NYC draft riots
Alfred S. Hartwell (1836-1912). Willie's friend and roommate in Stoughton Hall at the time of his death. Commanded the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the two Black Massachusetts regiments. He led Union troops into Charleston, South Carolina, when it fell and worked for the Freedman's Bureau. Moved to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1868 and was appointed Chief Justice of the Hawaiian Supreme Court.
Robert S Rantoul (1832-1922). Harvard educated North Shore lawyer and politician; mayor of Salem; president of Essex Institute; friend and HLS classmate of Willie.
Harriet C. Neal (1837-1899) Wife of R.S. Rantoul; daughter of David Neal of Salem, early NE railroad executive.
Catherine Maria Sedgewick (1789-1867) novelist, sister-in-law of Elizabeth Sedgewick (above).
John Worth Edmonds (1799-1874). NY politician In 1843, he was appointed a State Prison Inspector. He was Judge of the First Judicial District from 1845 to 1847, and a justice of the New York Supreme Court (1st D.) from 1847 to 1853. Like Abby, a force in prison reform.
Rev Theodore Tebbets (1831-1863) Exeter & Harvard alumnus, tutored Willie to prepare him for Harvard.
James Jackson Lowell (1837-1862) Friend of Willie at Harvard; first lieutenant in 20th Massachusetts (the "Harvard Regiment"); wounded at Ball's Bluff, October 1861, mortally wounded during the Peninsula Campaign, June 1862
Henry Lyman Patten (1836-1864) Friend of Willie at Harvard, lived on same floor of Stoughton Hall; major in 20th Massachusetts (the "Harvard Regiment"); wounded five times, the last time fatally at Deep Bottom, Virginia, August 1864
Ezra Ripley Thayer (1866-1915) dean of Harvard Law School, 1910-1915. William Sydney Thayer (1864-1932) head of the Medical Department in the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Hopkins Medical School.
Sarah Smith Thayer (1827-1903) Sister of James Bradley Thayer and William Sydney Thayer, close friend and correspondent of Abby
Julia Parmly (1835-1914) Daughter of Eleazar Parmly, probably the most prominent and influential American dentist of the mid 19th century. Dr. Parmly and Isaac T Hopper worked together on prison reform in NY. Julia married financier, railroad tycoon and conservationist Frederick H Billings.
Rose "Bonnie" Morse (1871-1943) Daughter of Abby's youngest daughter, Lucy, and her husband James Herbert Morse. Despite a falling out between Abby and Lucy, Abby doted on Lucy's three children.
Dr. John G Sewall (1822-1874), Harvard Medical(School 1846, reform-minded New York physician, a family friend, frequently mentioned in Abby's correspondence.
Wedding, William Bailey Dunning, Sarah Dunning, James Herbert Morse, Rose M. Dunning, Lucy Gibbons Morse, James Morse Dunning, Frances Dunning, Women's Prison Association building (New York City), shoreline
Sarah Dunning, Frances Dunning, and James Dunning