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
Edgar Zavitz Palmer (1898-1977) was the son of Charles Palmer and Arletta Cutler Palmer of Chester, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Swarthmore College, Class of 1919. He spent 1919-1920 in Europe on relief work with the American Friends Service Committee and then taught economics at Ogden College (Bowling Green, Kentucky), the University of Kentucky, and University of Wisconsin. From 1946 to 1963, he directed the Bureau of Business Research in Lincoln, Nebraska. He married Ruth Opal Yarborough in 1924 and was a founder of Lincoln Friends Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Edgar and Opal's son Boyd Zavitz Palmer was born in 1929 while the family was living in Kentucky. He attended Earlham College, and from 1952 to 1954 worked with the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago as an alternative to military service. In 1950 he married Alice Howe (1928-2013). The couple lived successively in Wilmington, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Maryland, and Maine.
This collection documents the life of Edgar Zavitz Palmer, a Quaker business economist and author. It includes material relating to Palmer's interest in images of Quaker meeting houses, his personal and professional correspondence, and photographs from his relief work in France after World War I. It also contains documents related to his son Boyd Zavitz Palmer's application for conscientious objector status and the alternative service that he completed with the American Friends Service Committee.
Arranged in 3 series:
- Edgar Zavitz Palmer meeting house research papers, which includes correspondence and other material relating to Palmer's activities in collecting pictures (mostly photographs) of Quaker meeting houses in the U.S. and around the world.
- Edgar Zavitz Palmer personal papers, which includes Palmer's personal and professional correspondence, writings by and about him, World War I photographs, and ephemera.
- Boyd Zavitz Palmer papers, which includes materials related to Boyd Zavitz Palmer's application for conscientious objector status and his alternative service.
Gift of Opal Y. Palmer, 1978.
Gift of Caryn Lesko, 2021 and 2022.
Edgar Zavitz Palmer's collection of meeting house pictures and research papers were donated by his widow Opal Y. Palmer in 1978. The papers were processed by FHL staff and cited as "Edgar Zavitz Palmer Meeting House Research Papers." Some materials from this accession were placed in other collections - see the Separated Materials note. In 2021 and 2022 Edgar's personal papers, as well as material from his son Boyd Zavitz Palmer, were given to FHL by Boyd's daughter Caryn Lesko. In 2022 this material was processed and added to the collection, which was renamed the "Edgar Zavitz Palmer and Boyd Zavitz Palmer papers". The material from the original 1978 donation now makes up Series 1, "Edgar Zavitz Palmer meeting house research papers." The 2021 and 2022 additions were processed as series 2 and series 3.
The following material, originally part of the collection, has been removed and recatalogued:
- Pictures collected by Palmer and donated in 1978 are housed in the repository's Picture Collection. Most are in the Meeting House File, though the large slide collection has become PA 41.
- Reference material donated in 1978 was transferred to other collections. Articles and clippings were put in Pamphlet Groups, directories in PG 1, maps in map collection.
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- James Truitt
- 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
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 http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-RUU/1.0/.
2-drawer card file
Includes death notices, publication list, newspaper clippings on Palmer, family correspondence around the time of his death, and his application for a civil service exam.
Also includes a few letters from relatives of Palmer's mother.
Also includes non-Pennsylvania correspondence.
Also includes professional correspondence and non-Pennsylvania correspondence.
CV and correspondence about academic and professional employment.
Includes a 1957 letter from John F. Kennedy.
Personal and professional correspondence, much of it written while Palmer was teaching at Ataturk University.
Documents related to time Palmer spent teaching at Ataturk University.
Three letters, each written in a different year.
Palmer's mission orders from the American Expeditionary Forces 1919 and 1920; regional map of France; logistical information for relief workers heading to France after World War I; Reconstruction periodical, 1919; S.S. Baltic list of passengers; Excelsior Nov 1919 (French newspaper); 1917 Swarthmore College report card; 1920 issue of the Phoenix Vol 39; undated notebook containing event planning notes, short compositions, and 1890s Swarthmore ephemera; and materials connected to the 1920 Woodbrooke International fete.
Mortgage and insurance documents as well as ephemera, correspondence, and periodicals.
Also includes Palmer's memorial service program and a copy of his play "The Four Corners: A Play for Quaker Young People in Eight Scenes" (Lincoln, Nebraska, 1967).
Correspondence and clippings related to Edgar Zavitz Palmer's 1974 book The Plummers of Harmony Grove and his other publications.
Two photographs of Edgar Zavitz Palmer alone and two with his wife Opal.
Materials related to Boyd Z. Palmer's conscientous objector application and the alternative service he did with the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago, 1952-1954.