Main content

Coffin Family Papers

Notifications

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

Elijah Coffin was born in 1793 in Guilford County, N.C., the son of Bethuel and Hannah Dicks Coffin. He married Naomi Hiatt in 1820, and the family moved to Milton, Indiana, in 1824. Elijah worked as a banker, and the family moved for a short time to Cincinnati and then to Richmond, Indiana. Benjamin and Elizabeth Hiatt, Naomi's parents, also migrated to Indiana at the same time, together with Naomi's brother, Mordecai, and his family. Charles F. Coffin, the son of Elijah, was born in 1823 and married Rhoda Moorman Johnson in 1847; he was employed as a banker. Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin were active in the peace movement, prison reform, reform of the treatment of the insane, and the temperance movement. He succeeded his father as Clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting from 1857 to 1884. Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin's youngest son, Percival Brooks Coffin, also a banker and active in Quaker and philanthropic causes, was born in 1865. He married Lucy V. Baxter and was one of the original members of the 57th Street Meeting in Chicago.

The collection contains family correspondence (1828-1913), journals of Elijah Coffin (1842), Benajah Coffin (1826), and Percival Brooks Coffin (1883-1920), business papers of Elijah Coffin and Charles F. Coffin, and miscellaneous writings. Includes documents and letters pertaining to Charles F., Rhoda M., and Elijah Coffin's prison reform activities and articles concerning the treatment of the insane, Indian rights, and temperance. Also manuscripts having to do with Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends and the Cincinnati Book Association of Friends. Correspondents include Elijah Coffin, Rhoda M. Coffin, Mordecai Hiatt, and Rufus Jones.

The collection is divided into nine series:

  1. Biographical and genealogical
  2. Business papers
  3. Correspondence
  4. Prison reform work (Charles F., Rhoda M., and Elijah Coffin)
  5. Writings
  6. Printed material
  7. Pictures
  8. Memorabilia
  9. Reference material

Donor: Mrs. Bennett Cooper (Emily Fletcher Cooper), 1961-1964

Lucy Vincent Baxter (born 1868) was a daughter of William Baxter and his second wife, Mary Ellen. She married Percival Brooks Coffin. The donor, Mrs. Bennett Cooper (Emily Fletcher Cooper), was their niece.

Sorted and filed in Record Group 5. In 2007, the photographs were removed to PA 145 and stored in two boxes.

Elijah Coffin's spectacles and case were removed to Relic [#218], July 1974.

Photographs stored in PA 145, inventory in repository.

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

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 http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.

Collection Inventory

Account of members of the immediate family of Rhoda M. and Charles F. Coffin, children, daughter-in law, grandchildren, written by Rhoda M. Coffin.
Box 1
"Brief History of the First Coffins," and other material on the same subject.
Box 1
"Chateau of Courtiton, Portledge...", etc.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Early homes of Coffin (Coffyn) family in France and England, with some account of members of the family.

Coffin coats-of arms.
Box 1
Brief history of early New England Coffins (Coffyn).
Box 1
Genealogical data on Rhoda M. Coffin's family-- Faulkner, Johnson, Arnett.
Box 1
Hiatt genealogy.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Attached is "A Long Record of Personal Friendship," between Hiatt and Coffin families.

"Narrative of the settlement of Thomas and Hannah Symons in Wayne County, Indiana in the year 1811," by Hannah Symons., 10-31-1860.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Written 10-31-1860 for her brother Elijah Coffin.

Correspondence regarding, and a list of, Elijah Coffin papers deposited with Henry County Historical Museum, New Castle, Indiana.
Box 1
Elijah Coffin's will and letters of administration, 10-22-1860.
Box 1
Physical Description

copies

Elijah Coffin(?) "Mem. Book of Trip East", 1844.
Box 1
Percival Brooks Coffin, diaries, 1883-1920.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

See boxes 1a, 1b, 1c.

Physical Description

22 diaries

Benajah Hiatt, Diary of a trip to Carolina, 1826.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Chronologically arranged. See also marriage certificates in chart case.

Benajah Hiatt and Elisabeth White, 3-8-1797.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Parents of Naomi, wife of Elijah Coffin.

John Johnson and Judith Faulkner, 5-22-1816.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Parents of Rhoda M., wife of Chas. F. Coffin

Physical Description

also, negative copy

Mordecai Hiatt and Rhoda Dicks, 9-29-1819.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Mordecai was closely associated with Elijah Coffin and brother of Naomi, Elijah's wife.

Elijah Coffin and Naomi Hiatt, 2-20-1820.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Parents of Charles F. Coffin

Charles F. (Fisher) Coffin and Rhoda M. (Moorman).
Box 1
Johnson, 3-25-1847.
Box 1
Physical Description

negative copy

Samuel Fletcher and Elizabeth D. Hiatt, 4-3-1840.
Box 1
Memorials to Chas. F. Coffin, 1916 9mo 21.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

In The American Friend, cover picture and pp. 730-732.

Memorial of Rhoda M. Coffin, 11-17-1909.
Box 1

Scope and Contents

Chronologically arranged.

Notebook, income and expenditures.
Box 1
Statement of property owned, and income, 1859-1862.
Box 1
Estate executors papers: C.F. and Wm. H. Coffin., 1862, 1866.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes Inventory and Appraisal of personal property, 1862, and "List of Books presented by the heirs of the late Elijah Coffin, deceased, to the Library of Richmond Preparative Meeting of Friends, 6mo 20 1866."

Account book, 1848-1851.
Box 1
Agreement and membership certificate in The Publishing Association of Friends, 9-9-1901.
Box 1
List of articles received from the children of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin, to be retained by them as part of a Memorial Library to the same.
Box 1

Physical Description

copies, 2 bound volumes

Vol. 1, 1846-1851;.
Box 1
Vol. 2, 1851-1862.
Box 1
Miscellaneous, by various authors.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Authors include Elijah Coffin; Judith Johnson, mother of Rhoda M. Coffin; Rachel Arnett, aunt of Rhoda M. Coffin; Rhoda M. Coffin, Rufus Jones; Mordecai Hiatt, friend and brother-in-law of Elijah Coffin.

Rhoda M. Coffin's certificate of membership in American Female Guardian Society, June 1860.
Box 1
Chas. F. Coffin's certificate of appointment as Commissioner of House of Refuge by Gov. Conrad Baker of Indiana., 7-16-1872.
Box 1
Rhoda M. Coffin's 2 certificates of appointment as member of Board of Managers of the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls, signed by Gov. James D. Williams, 3-7-1877.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Also signed by Gov. Albert G. Porter, 3-30-1881.

Letters of introduction and commendation for Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin by Indiana Governors.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Letters particularly for their use on their trips abroad, as in cases of prison visitations.

Permissions for Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin to visit various English prisons.
Box 1
Prisons and Criminal Treatment, 1894.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Issued by the Howard Association, London.

Physical Description

ms.

Scope and Contents

Arranged alphabetically by author, and alphabetically by subject under each author.

"Memoir of Elijah Coffin by his son".
Box 2
"Reflections and Aspirations", 1848-1853.
Box 2
Percival Brooks Coffin: "Quaker Mantras", 1-31-1919.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence regarding the writing.

Physical Description

typewritten

Scope and Contents

Includes typewritten ms. of addresses and articles) Also includes 2 lists and portions of a letter, on letterhead of her son Percival Brooks Coffin, regarding publication of his mother's addresses

"Care and Treatment of the Insane".
Box 2
"Children of the Street".
Box 2
"Convict Labor Issue".
Box 2
"General Grant's Indian Policy".
Box 2
"Hospital for the Insane at Dunning".
Box 2
"Journey Abroad".
Box 2
"Nobody Cared for Me".
Box 2
"The Organization of the Home Mission Association of Women Friends of Indiana Yearly Meeting".
Box 2
"Prison Reform".
Box 2
"Some Accounts of the origin and conduct of the Women's Prison and Girl's Reformatory at Indianapolis".
Box 2
"Sufferings of the Friends of Virginia and North Carolina on account of their Peace Principles".
Box 2
"Woman in Home for Friendless".
Box 2
"The Women's Christian Temperance Union".
Box 2
"Women's Prisons".
Box 2
Address read at the Johnson Picnic near Richmond, Indiana, 7-6-1859.
Box 2
British and American Prisons, 10-14-1891.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

An address delivered before the National Prison Congress at Pittsburgh, Pa.

"Eastern Indiana Early Pioneers", 2-19-1909.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Article in New Castle, Ind. paper.

Extract from letter regarding semi-centennial an-universally of Iowa Yearly Meeting.
Box 2
Our Prison, 6-9-1880.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

An address delivered before the Indiana Social Science Association, at Indianapolis.

"When Clay Visited Richmond. And What He Said in 1842.", 11-14-1907.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Published in The Henry County Tribune.

Concise Statement of the Christian Doctrines of the Society of Friends., ca. 1855.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Prepared by Elijah Coffin, approved by the Meeting for Sufferings, in 1855. Published Richmond, Ind., by The Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends. No.32

Condensed extract from the Journal of Elijah Coffin, 9-20-1858.
Box 2
"The Mother's Catechism of Christian Doctrine and Practice...", 1859.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Published in Richmond, Ind., by Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends.

"Remarks by a Member of the Society of Friends on the Subject of War..." by E.C. [Elijah Coffin?].
Box 2
"Friends' Work Among the Indians", 7-26-1885.
Scope and Contents

Read at a meeting on the Indian missionary work, held at Friends' Meeting House, Chicago. Printed in Worker and Expositor, 8-6-1885.

Rise of Foreign Missions Amongst Friends.
Box 2
"Visit to Chicago".
Box 2
Woman's Ministry, John Morris Co., Cgo., 1886.
Box 2
"Women's Prisons", 10-19-1885.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Published in The Daily Inter Ocean.

Scope and Contents

Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

Clipping, "A Story of the Past", 1898.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Clipping about group of 27 persons who left N. Car. for Ind. 53 years earlier. Among those still living was Chas. F. Coffin.

Clipping from The Chicago Daily Tribune, "Yoke Fellows 60 Years", 3-26-1907.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

re: wedding anniversary of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin, including biographical information. "...President Grant appointed Mr. Coffin head of the Committee of Friends in America in charge of Indian affairs at the time when the care of Indian tribes was allotted to the different churches...."

Clipping from The American Friend, regarding 60th wedding anniversary of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin, 4-4-1907.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Including biographical information. "...For six years a prayer meeting was held weekly in C.F. Coffin's house which resulted in establishing Richmond, Indiana Monthly Meeting of Friends...."

Several clippings of obituary notices and sketches of Rhoda M. Coffin's life and reform work, 1909.
Box 2
Notices and reviews of Rhoda M. Coffin, Her Reminiscence, Addresses, Papers and Ancestry, edited by Mary Coffin Johnson, 1910-1911.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Published by Grafton Press, N.Y. 1910. Includes The American Friend, 2-23-1911.

Physical Description

4 notices

"Women's Prisons", February 1931.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Article by Helen Buckler in Good House-keeping referring to Rhoda M. Coffin's prison reform work

"Elijah and Naomi Coffin Scholarship Founded", April 1932.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Article in The Earlhamite.

Photographs of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin.
Box PA 145
Photographs of Elijah Coffin family.
Box PA 145
Snapshots of various members of the family.
Box PA 145
Scope and Contents

Includes snapshots of relatives, and of family residences in Richmond and vicinity, and in New Garden, N.C. area from which family migrated.

Copies of portraits of early ancestors.
Box PA 145
Scope and Contents

Copies begin with Elizabeth, widow of Richard Coffin, born 1571.

Miscellaneous photographs.
Box PA 145
Scope and Contents

Includes J.B. Braithwaite, Earl of Shaftesbury, Thos. Ellwood's residence, Jordan's Meeting House and graveyard, Joseph Sturge.

Album.
Box PA 145
Album of photos of Percival Brooks Coffin, 1908.
Box PA 145
Album of photos of Rhoda M. Coffin at age 81, 1906.
Box PA 145
Photograph of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin and family, on their 60th anniversary.
Box PA 145

Rhoda M. Johnson's (later Coffin) cook book, 5-4-1845.
Box 3
Winnowed Hymns, 1873.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

N.Y. and Cgo., Biglow and Main. Name of Eli Johnson inside cover.

Notebook of Scripture passages selected by Chas. F. Coffin, 1842.
Box 3
"Clan-Coffyn" (Richmond branch) Christmas folder containing chart of relationship of three living generations, and birth and marriage dates., 1883.
Box 3
Scarf made of bark of pineapple tree.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Belonged to Priscilla White, given to E.D. Fletcher.

Braided strands of hair of Elizabeth Dix Hiatt.
Box 3

Scope and Contents

Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

Chronology of Indiana Yearly Meeting, and White Water Monthly Meeting of Friends, 1820-1855.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Includes a list of deaths.

A Testimony of Miami Monthly Meeting of Friends, concerning Joseph Cloud, 1832.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Richmond, Ind., Larsh, printer., 1832 Copy which belonged to Mordecai Hiatt.

"Book Concern" letter, 10-7-1835.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Elijah Coffin was corespondent and agent of Committee of Book Agency.

A Catechism...Society of Friends, by John Kendall, N.Y., Cooledge, 1837.
Box 3
Circular Address to the Members of Indiana Yearly concerning the distress existing in Ireland., 3-6-1847.
Box 3
Memorial of Benajah Hiatt, by Elijah Coffin, 1849 10mo.
Box 3
Accounts and correspondence regarding Cincinnati Book Association of Friends, 1859-1860.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Chas. F. Coffin was treasurer of Book Fund of Indiana Yearly Meeting during part of this period. Elijah Coffin's name is signed to several letters, and accounts appear to be in his handwriting.

Report of the Deputation to North Carolina in regard to the Boarding School Debt, 11-9-1860.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Signed by Elijah Coffin.

Rhoda M. Coffin's class book, 1860, 1861.
Box 3
Members of Richmond Preparative Meeting, 1868.
Box 3
List of Converts during the "Revival," Fifth St. Friends Meeting, 1869.
Box 3
"Important suggestions and Facts for Christian".
Box 3
"Professors: An Address on Temperance", by Wm. Baxter., 1876.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Published by Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends, Richmond, Ind.

3 minutes to the Meetings of Friends constituting London Yearly Meeting, on behalf of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin.
Box 3
Physical Description

copies

Program of Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends, Richmond, Ind., 1904.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Contains picture of old Yearly Meeting House.

Annual Report of the Home Mission Committee for the Monthly and Local Meetings of Indiana Yearly Meeting, 1911.
Box 3
Invitation to Friends' Meeting House, Urbridge, to hear Charles and Rhoda Coffin, n.d.
Box 3
Clippings containing mention of members of the Society of Friends.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

A Solemn Review of the Custom of War...by Noah Worcester, 1814.
Box 3
Notes on Marion St. Sabbath School (non-denominational) begun in 1864.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Includes list of scholars in R.M. Coffin's Infant Class.

"Early History of Richmond, Indiana", 1860.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Prepared by "our venerable friend Jeremiah Cox, at the request of an Old Settlers Meeting..."

Physical Description

ms.

"Extrait de la Notice sur l'Etablissement pour le Traitement des Alienations Mentales",, 1866.
Box 3
"The Indiana Temperance Law", 1873.
Box 3
"Speech Against Capital Punishment delivered in the Indiana Legislature...", by Wm. Baxter (Quaker), 3-10-1873.
Box 3
Routes to the West.
Box 3
Physical Description

ms.

An English Spelling Book by Lindley Murray, 1816.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

N.Y. Collins and Co. Used by Elijah Coffin.

Introduction to the English Reader...by Lindley Murray, 1833.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Published in Cincinnati by Morgan and Sanxay. Used by Elijah Coffin.

Select Poems...by John Fry, 1805, 1872.
Scope and Contents

Published in Stanford, Hull, 1805. Also includes History of Wayne County, Indiana, by Andrew W. Young, published in Cincinnati, Clarke and Co., printers, 1872. This mentions Elijah Coffin, p. 394, and has a portrait opposite. Used by Elijah Coffin.

Print, Suggest