Main content

Richard Tapper Cadbury Papers


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

Richard Tapper Cadbury was born on October 11, 1853, in Philadelphia, the son of Richard and Lydia Shinn Cadbury. He graduated from Haverford College in 1868 and received an M.A. from Harvard in 1878. Cadbury was a teacher, writer, businessman, and art connoisseur; as a child, he was very much influenced by his uncle (his mother's brother), Earl Shinn, Jr., art critic for The Nation. Among his various employments were serving as superintendent for the Deaf and Dumb Institute of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and as a trust officer at Provident Life and Trust Company. He also lectured on art topics.

Richard Tapper Cadbury was married to Helen Nathans on August 28, 1884, and the couple lived in Haverford, PA, where Helen ran a school for small children. The couple had four children: Richard Cadbury (1885-1926) who donated the papers; Helen (1886-1974); Earl Shinn (1888-1970); and Leah Tapper (1892-). Richard Tapper Cadbury died October 29, 1929.

The collection contains correspondence and memorabilia of the Cadbury, Comfort, Haines, and Shinn families. The correspondence provides a detailed picture of life in Philadelphia Quaker families of the mid 19th century, and of the hardships of those who participated in the California gold rush. Also includes the journal of Richard Tapper Cadbury while he was a student at Haverford College, and the correspondence of Cadbury's uncle, Earl Shinn Jr., who often used pseudonym "Edward Strahan" and was an art critic for the Nation with artists with well-known artists of his day.

Earl Shinn Jr. corresponded with the following artists: Thomas Eakins, Howard Roberts, William Chase, John Sartain, Carroll Backwith, B.C.Champney, and William T. Richards, Howard Nelmick, A.Quartley. Possible correspondents: R. Swain Gifford, Edward L. Scull, F.A.Bridgman, William Walton, R. Sturgis, P.F.Rothermel, G.W.H.Boughton, Henry Bacon, Jas. Hamilton, and R. Wylie.

Artists with whom Shinn was acquainted in the Tile Club (or otherwise) include: Hopkinson Smith, Abbey, Reinhart, Walter Paris, O'Donovan, Laffan, Baird, Harry Bispham, Weber, Winslow Homer, Kenyon Cox, Roger Haydock, S.J.Ferris, John Yaber, Bradford, Heaton, T.B.Read, D.R.Knight, Humphrey Moore, and George Wood.

The collection is divided into three series:

  1. Genealogical and biographical
  2. Writing by Richard T. Cadbury and others
  3. Correspondence

Donor: Richard Cadbury, 1951

Gift of Richard Cadbury, the son of Richard Tapper Cadbury.

The following material has been removed from the collection and recatalogued:

  1. Marriage certificate of David Comfort and Beulah Walton, great- grandparents of Richard T. Cadbury, dated 3-13-1799. See marriage certificate files, FHL
  2. Nero, A Tragedy, by Richard Tapper Cadbury, pub. Phila. 1880, under pseud. "Richard Comfort". See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18N4
  3. Writ, By Richard Tapper Cadbury, pub. Haverford, 1923. See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18W9
  4. The Earl Shinn correspondence (Series 3, folders 15, 15a-16) was microfilmed in 1985 by the Smithsonian Institution (Archives of American Art, Philadelphia Project).
  5. Copy of microfilm received January, 1987: FHL microfilm MS-C2

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
Before 1967
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Access Restrictions

Access to Earl Shinn correspondence is through microfilm. Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Collection Inventory

"An Attempt to Reconcile Spencer with Kant, in their Ultimate Principles of Knowledge.".
"The Greek Comedy in Philadelphia.".
"The Influence of Gymnastics on Greek Art.".
"The Quaker Dialect.".
"Was Seneca's Moral Character in Harmony with his Ethical Philosophy?".
Scope and Contents

Most of his plays are unittitled.

"The Bronze Vase.".
"Divine Discontent.".
"Finger Marks.".
"Time's Call.".
Untitled poem.
"The Burnt Down Mill.".
"Count Esherhazy on Trial.".
"Does the Mind Ever Sleep?".
"The Elf Man.".
"The Fight in Charlie Allan.".
"The Football Season of 1912.".
"Homo Omnium Mensura.".
"How Far?".
"How Two Little Girls Were Seven.".
"How Debby Was Seven.".
"Lincoln Enfabled.".
"Mag and Sal in Their Leathers.".
"The Magic coat.".
"My Paruvian Jar.".
"Near Dead.".
"Pasty's Ghost.".
"The Quack Doctor: A Movie.".
"Shorty's Latest.".
"Time and Space.".
"Washington Enfabled.".
Untitled Stories.

Genealogical chart of Richard Tapper Cadbury's ancestors.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes members of Comfort and Shinn families.

Diary of Richard T. Cadbury while attending Haverford College, 1869.
Box 1
Notebook record of "Dutch, Irish, English People I Have Known," kept by Richard Cadbury, Jr.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes address book, including some while at Woodbrooke, about 906

Marriage certificate of David Comfort Beulah Walton, great-grandparents of Richard T. Cadbury, 3-13-1799.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

See marriage certificate files, F.H.L.

Physical Description

photostat copy

Deed of property for Byberry Friends' Meeting House, signed by David Comfort, 1834.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

David Comfort was the maternal great-grandfather of Richard T. Cadbury. See file of deeds, F.H.L.

Clipping from the Glasgow Gazette, "Valedictory to the Law Class of Glasgow," by S. W. Comfort, of Glasgow, Ky.
Box 1
Disownment of Rebecca Shinn, 1-30-1828.
Box 1
Circular regarding taking over of drug store at N.E. corner of Broad Spruce Sts. Phila., by Thos. H. Montgomery Samuel Earl Shinn, the latter an uncle of Richard T. Cadbury.
Box 1
Miscellaneous memorabilia of Richard T. Cadbury.
Box 1

Description of Abington Friends Meeting House, author unknown.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Written from the viewpoint of a child.

Descriptions of Friends' Select School, Haverford Grammar School Westtown Boarding School, by Earl S. Cadbury.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Earl was presumably son of Richard T. Cadbury, lived 1888-1970.

Lecture notes on art, including lecture on Leonardo da Vinci, author unknown, probably E. Shinn.
Box 1
Physical Description

2 folders

Miscellaneous essays, plays poems, stories.
Box 1-2
Scope and Contents

Includes "An Attempt to Reconcile Spencer with Kant," & "The Greek Comedy in Philadelphia", presumably by Richard Tapper Cadbury.

Miscellaneous "essays" by various young people, 1858, other dates.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Includes binder entitled The Young Essayists, in which some of the compositions are dated 1858. Also, "Not Luck, but Work", by Helen V. Nathans, who later became the wife of Richard T. Cadbury.

Nero, A Tragedy, by Richard Tapper Cadbury, 1880.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Pub. Phila. under pseud. "Richard Comfort." See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18N4

Illustration for Nero, drawn by Earl Shinn, Jr., uncle of Richard T. Cadbury.
Box 2
Physical Description

2 copies

Writ, By Richard Tapper Cadbury, 1923.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Pub. Haverford. See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18W9

Scope and Contents

Folders arranged alphabetically by individual, chronologically within each folder

Cadbury, Richard Tapper, rec'd sent, 1880-1924, n.d.
Box 3
Cadbury, Richard, wife, Lydia Shinn Cadbury, parents of Richard Tapper Cadbury, rec'd sent, 1858-1876 (?), n.d.
Box 3
Comfort, Charles, sent, 1838-1865, n.d.
Box 3
Comfort, David, wife, Beulah Walton Comfort, parents of other Comforts in this series, rec'd sent, 1818-1840.
Box 3
Comfort, Edmund, sent, 1840-1887.
Box 3
Comfort, James, sent, 1826-1835, n.d.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Includes lines on his death by shipwreck, 2-13-1835, written by a brother.

Comfort, Lydia, rec'd sent, 1820-1865, n.d.
Box 3
Comfort, Martha (Patty) sent, 1840-1885.
Box 3
[Comfort, Richard] rec'd from H.W. Longfellow, 1880 9mo 28.
Box 4
Comfort, Stephen, sent, 1829-1857.
Box 4
Comfort, Thornton, wife, Joanna, sent, 1827-1880, n.d.
Box 4
Comfort, William, sent, 1828-1845, n.d.
Box 4
Haines, Elizabeth Shinn, husband Henry Haines, sent, 1843-1881, n.d.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence by Hillborn, Fanny, "adopted daughter" of Elizabeth Haines, sent, 1878-1882, n.d.

Neall, Hannah Lloyd, (Mrs.James), to Earl Shinn, Jr, sent, 1857-1869, n.d.
Box 4
Shinn, Earl Sr., wife Sarah Comfort Shinn, parents of other Shinns in this series, rec'd sent, 1823-1863.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

All of Earl Shinn Jr.'s correspondence is available on microfilm.

Shinn, Earl, Jr., letters, rec'd sent, of special interest re: art and artists.
Box MS-C2
Physical Description

With photocopies

Article about Thomas Eakins, publishing two letters from this collection. By Gerald M. Ackermen.
Box 5
Shinn, Earl, Jr., rec'd, 1855-1886, n.d.
Box 5
Shinn, James Thornton, sent, 1866-1867, n.d.
Box 6
Shinn, Rebecca, sent, 1866-1878, n.d.
Box 6
Shipley, Anna Shinn husband, Samuel R. Shipley, sent, 1850-1887, n.d.
Box 6
Miscellaneous, 1817-1885, n.d.

Print, Suggest