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Robert Heydon Gayner 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

The Gayner family were Quakers, of Sunderland, England. The papers chiefly concern John Gayner (1824-1911), and his brother, Robert Heydon Gayner (1831-1916). Topics include family affairs, various Quaker interests, including the religious welfare of sailors and evening schools for young men, American Civil War, and trips to Europe and Egypt.

Much of the correspondence in this manuscript collection was written by or to Robert Heydon Gayner, born 1831, died April 22, 1916. Most of the rest was written to the unmarried daughter, Juliet Gayner, with whom he lived after his wife's death.

In the early years of this correspondence, the 1850's and 1860s, some of the more interesting letters were written to Robert by his older brother, John Gayner, Jr. John offered Robert advice on marriage, expressions of his Quaker beliefs, monetary interests in Roberts shipping business, comments on America's Civil War, and discussions of farm land values during the settlement of their father's estate in 1863. He mentions his interest in various concerns of English Friends of this period, such as distributing copies of the Scriptures to foreign sailors from Catholic countries, evening schools for young men, and promoting the knowledge of Friends views among other people. These letters have been kept separate from the main body of correspondence, and are organized chronologically.

The rest of the correspondence is concerned with the daily concerns of various members and relatives of the Gayner family in England and on their travels. These letters are also arranged chronologically. The Gayner Family was also acquainted with members of some of the prominent English Quaker families of the period, such as Sturge, Pease, Backhouse, and Fry.

The collection is divided into six series:

  1. Biographical and genealogical
  2. Correspondence
  3. Business
  4. Memorabilia
  5. Pictorial material
  6. Reference material

Donor: Mr. and Mrs. George T. Davies, 1967

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George T. Davies. Mrs. Davies was a Gayner descendent.

Letters received in packets and loose, rest of material unsorted. Arranged in categories and placed in document boxes in RG 5.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
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

Collection Inventory

Ser. 1. Biographical and genealogical material.
Box 1

Scope and Contents

Arranged chronologically.

Correspondence, 1845-1859.
Box 1
Correspondence, 1860-1869.
Box 2
Correspondence, 1875-1909.
Box 3
Correspondence, 1910-1918.
Box 4
Correspondence, 1920-1932.
Box 5

Letters, receipts, etc., dealing with the Gayner shipping business, 1839-1863.
Box 5
Household, clothing, hotel, etc., bills and receipts.
Box 5
Tax receipts, insurance and stock interests, etc.
Box 5

Newspaper clippings, sermons, Bible study cards, sketchbook, programs, poems, etc.
Box 6
Marriage, "at home," death announcements, calling cards.
Box 6
Box 6
Student's lecture notes.
Box 6
Ser. 5. Pictorial Material.
Box 6
Ser. 6. Reference material.
Box 6

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