Main content

Gibbons Home (Springfield, Pa.) records


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

The Gibbons property in Springfield Township, Delaware County, PA, was acquired in 1765 by Joseph Gibbons, a Quaker. He was the son of Joseph Gibbons, was a member of Concord Monthly Meeting and married Margery Hannum under the care of that meeting in 1759. He received a certificate to transfer from Concord Monthly Meeting to Chester Monthly Meeting in 1767, but was disowned for delaying presenting his certificate until 1771. He purchased 150 acres of land in what was then a part of Chester County. The house was built about 1830. Margery Gibbons was disowned for disunity in 1782. The property descended through the family to Joseph Gibbons who died in 1853 and then to Joseph Gibbons (1799-1880) who married Hannah Powell (d. 1882). In addition to the farm, the family had a cotton mill on the property on Whiskey Run, built in 1832, and destroyed by fire in 1865. Joseph Gibbons was a farmer and banker.

Joseph and Hannah Gibbons had eight children, seven who survived to adulthood: Joseph P., John, Mary, Lydia, William, Sallie P., and Emma. None of the children married. Joseph Gibbons was not a member of the Society of Friends, but Ashmead's biographical sketch in the History of Delaware County reported in 1884 that he attended Quaker worship. Joseph bequeathed the property to his sons, Joseph P. and John Gibbons. John died intestate in 1892, and Joseph P. Gibbons died intestate in 1913. At his death, the property went to his surviving sisters, Emma and Sallie. Sallie P. Gibbons, died in 1918.

The family had been involved in philanthropic work. In 1903, they gave funds to the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church towards a Sunday School building, in memory of their adopted niece, May Loeffler. When Sallie P. Gibbons died in 1918 with no survivors, she left her property to executors in trust to keep and maintain a home for dependent Protestant women over forty to be called the Gibbons Home. Since there were some stipulations concerning the residual estate, the local Court interpreted this to mean that the Home could not be established until all the stipulations were fulfilled. Finally in 1939, the Court released the assets to the trustees to establish a Home. The Gibbons Home was incorporated in 1939 and opened in 1940 in the Gibbons family homestead.

Responding to population growth and business development in Springfield Township, the property was sold in 1970 to make way for the Springfield Mall. The Home moved to a new facility nearby on Lincoln Avenue. As patterns of social services changed and with residency diminished, the Gibbons Home was closed in 2000, and its assets turned over to PresbyHomes and Services.

The collection contains legal, property, and financial records of the Gibbons Home, and Gibbons family pictures and some memorabilia.

The collection is divided into 5 series:

  1. Historical
  2. Legal and Property papers
  3. Board papers
  4. Financial
  5. Miscellaneous.

  1. Ashmead, Henry Graham, 1838-1920. History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania / By Henry Graham Ashmead . Philadelphia : L.H. Everts & co., 1884.

The collection was given to Friends Historical Library by the Board of the Gibbons Home upon its dissolution.

Donor: Gibbons Home, 2000, 2003 (Accession 2000-056)

The records were transferred from the Gibbons Home when it was sold in 2000. The collections included office records, Gibbons family pictures which remained in the Home, family oil paintings and memorabilia. The pictures were processed separately. Materials which belonged to former residents were returned to the Board of the Gibbons Home. In 2003, a small amount additional papers was added to the collection including survey plans and the Gibbons cemetery plot and memorial plan. Includes survey plans, Gibbons cemetery plot and memorial plan, and miscellaneous papers. In 2007, oil portraits of Joseph and Hannah Gibbons and glass portraits of Emma and Sallie Gibbons were placed on long-term loan at Rosemont Presbyterian Village, Rosemont, PA.

The following material, originally part of the collection, has been removed to FHL Picture Collection:

  1. Gibbons family large format travel photos.
  2. Gibbons family travel album, loose pages .
  3. Kodak snapshots of family, trips.
  4. Gibbons family and estate, large format photos.
  5. Photographs of May Loeffler.
  6. Copies of engravings of Joseph Gibbons and property, used in Ashmead's History of Delaware County, 1884.
  7. Photographs used in Philadelphia Bulletin feature, 19-- (b&w).
  8. Photographs of Joseph and Hannah Gibbons Gibbons family and house 1959.
  9. Color snapshots of Gibbons Home and grounds.
  10. 16 cased pictures, unidentified, but include Joseph and probably the seven Gibbons children, including possibly son William Gibbons who is said to have died in the Civil War.
  11. "Crystalotype" pictures, made from Gutekunst photographs of Hannah and Joseph Gibbons.

The following material, originally part of the collection, is on long-term loan to PresbyHomes and Services at Rosemont Presbyterian Village. In March 2007, Pat O'Donnell and Susanna Morikawa attended the event marking the transfer of assets.

  1. Oil painting of Joseph Gibbons (1799-1880)
  2. Oil painting of Hannah P. Gibbons (d. 1882)
  3. Glass portrait in ornate frame, Emma Gibbons (?)
  4. Glass portrait in ornate from, Sallie Gibbons (?)

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL Staff
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Collection Inventory

History and clippings, n.d.
Box 1
Minutes of the first meeting of the Board, including a explanation of the history of the Gibbons Home, April 24, 1939.
Box 1
Publicity for the opening of the Home, 1939.
Box 1
Proposed Sears Store, 1967.
Box 1

Legal Papers, 1892-1968.
Box 1
Drawings for alterations of house, George Ewing, architect, 1939.
Box 1
Inventory and appraisals of contents, 1940.
Box 1
Property records concerning road change, 1948-1949.
Box 1
Drawings, Alterations to the House, 1957.
Box 1
Drawings, Alterations to the Home, 1965.
Box 1
Survey, Gibbons property, 1961.
Box 1
Gibbons Home, interior Sketches of new, n.d.
Box 1
Appraisal, Mobil Station, built on property previously part of the Gibbons Property, 1975.
Box 1

Reports and estimates submitted to Board, 1939.
Box 1
Board of Directors, rules for residents, n.d.
Box 1
Reports to Board, 1941-1944.
Box 1
Report to Board, Edith Verlenden Paschall, 1946.
Box 1
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1939-1951.
Box 1

Financial statements, 1939-1952.
Box 2
Financial reports, 1940-1951.
Box 2
Budgets and estimates, 1954-1962.
Box 2
Bank statements, etc., 1963-1969.
Box 2
Timber sale, 1957.
Box 2
938 Lincoln Avenue property, 1970.
Box 2
Miscellaneous financial, 1971.
Box 2
Financial papers, 1976-1979.
Box 2

MS, Emma Gibbons' commencement address from Glenwood School, n.d.
Box 2
Diploma, Emma Gibbons, n.d.
Box 2
Autograph book presented to May Loeffler. "Presented to little May by Her friend Lydia Gibbons", 1887-1892.
Box 2
Silver spoon, with note: "Margery Hannum married 1759 Joseph Gibbons/ This spoon probably was part of her wedding silver. First Gibbons Family to own our Property.", lt.18th century.
Box 2
Companion portraits on glass in ornate frames of Gibbons sisters (Emma and Sally?), n.d.
Box 3
Gibbons family memorial monument and cemetery plans (fragile), n.d.
Tube 1
Photograph of memorial window in First Baptist Church, Media.
Scope and Contents

Color photograph of stained glass window in memory of Josph and Hanna Gibbons, John Gibbons, William Gibbons, Geoge Gibbons, nad May Loeffler.

Photographs and illustrations, circa 1880-1910.
Map Case oversize
Scope and Contents

Photographs and illustrations of the building, as well as portraits and photographs of people

Print, Suggest