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Collins Family Papers

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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

Abel Collins (1770-1834) was born in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, one of the eleven children of Amos and Thankful (Clark) Collins. Other children were John (b. 1781) and Hannah Earle (1786-1819). Abel was a birthright Quaker and a minister recorded by Hopkinton Monthly Meeting. He married Mary A. Wilbur (d. 1858) of Hopkinton in 1790. Between 1794-1809, Abel and Mary Collins had eight children who survived to adulthood: Deborah, Mary W., Phebe, Timothy Clark, Abigail, twins Amos Wilbur and Thankful, and Abel Francis.

Abel Francis Collins (b. 1809) lived on the Collins farmstead, which he named Prospect Vale, in North Stonington, Connecticut. In 1844 he married Electa Jane Collins (1818-1896), the daughter of Job Scott and Ruth Hall Collins of Utica, New York. Electa Collins had two brother, both medical doctors, Chalkley Collins, who died in his twenties, and Clarkson Thomas Collins (1821-1881). Clarkson T. Collins married Lydia Coffin in 1844 and established a medical practice in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where he founded the Invalid's Hotel for the treatment of chronic diseased.

Abel F. and Electa J. Collins had three sons, Francis Wendell (1845-1887), Clarkson Abel (b. 1853), and Abel Chalkley (b. 1857). All three sons attends Friends Boarding School in Providence, Rhode Island, and continued their studies at Brown University. Chalkley Collins practiced as an attorney in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Clarkson was a lawyer in New York City. Francis W. Collins moved to Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, where he taught elementary school. In 1877 he married Alice V. Burdick. They moved to Woodland, California, where Francis operated a nursery business, "Ornamental Trees." They had one son, Francis Winfield Collins.

The collection contains correspondence, journals of Francis W. Collins, including descriptions of his student days at Friends Boarding School in Providence; family business and financial papers; miscellaneous papers, photographs, and genealogical material on the Collins and Burdick families.

The collection is divided into five series:

  1. Biographical and genealogical
  2. Correspondence
  3. Journals
  4. Business and Financial
  5. Miscellaneous

Purchase, Tolles Fund, 1993; Accession number: 1993.056. Apparently the collection was preserved by Francis Winfield Collins; he compiled much of the genealogical information and identified individuals in the family album in 1954, according to a pencil notation.

Gift of William Cox, Acc. 2017.021. Per donor's suggestions, four letters written in 1876 by Clarkson Collins to family and one undated letter written by Rebecca Coffin to Electa Collins were added to Series 2.

Received unprocessed, sorted into general topics.

The following materials have been removed from the collection:

  1. 2 volumes of genealogy transferred to book stacks; genealogical charts photocopied from the back of these volumes and included in folder 1: Noyes Genealogy, descendants of Rev. James Noyes, Vol. I and II, collected by Henry E. and Harriet E. Noyes (Boston, Mass, 1904.)

Publisher
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
1994
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/.

Collection Inventory

Archival Resource Key. Genealogical charts and records: Collins, Burdick, Durfee, Lamb, Hall, Wilbur, Hoxsie.
Box 1 Folder 1
Archival Resource Key. Biographical information, wills, marriage certificates:.
Box 1 Folder 2
Scope and Contents

Includes biopgraphical sketches of Amos M. Collins, Mary A. Collins, Abel Collins, and Charles Coffin; biographical sketches of Francis W. Collins, and of the Burdock family. Also includes marriage certificate of Francis W. Collins and Alice Burdick; will of Mary A. Collins.

Archival Resource Key. Genealogical correspondence, 1858-1931.
Box 1 Folder 3
Archival Resource Key. Genealogical forms, Burdick family.
Box 1 Folder 4
Archival Resource Key. Typescript of genealogical research, Capt. George K. Collins.
Box 1 Folder 5
Archival Resource Key. F. W[infield] Collins, Genealogy, bound typescript.
Box 1 Folder 5
Archival Resource Key. Miscellaneous, Collins family.
Box 1 Folder 6
Archival Resource Key. George Sherwood correspondence, 1931-32.
Box 1 Folder 7

Archival Resource Key. Abel and Mary A. Collins (1796-1861) from John and Elizabeth Collins, 1807-1831.
Box 1 Folder 8
Scope and Contents

re: family news, move to Chatam, Quaker issues, hope to found a new school.

Archival Resource Key. Abel and Mary A. Collins from Lewis Clark, 1823-1824.
Box 1 Folder 9
Scope and Contents

re: Quaker testimony and discipline

Archival Resource Key. Abel and Mary A. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1801-1856, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 10
Archival Resource Key. Mary W. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1812-1819.
Box 1 Folder 11
Archival Resource Key. Mary W. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1820-1829.
Box 1 Folder 12
Scope and Contents

re: descriptions of school life from both a student's (Lydia Wilbur, 1821) and a teacher's (Timothy Clark Collins, 1821) perspective. From Lewis Clark (5mo. 5, 1822) re: "Philadelphia Friends" and Quaker Testimony; from Charles D. Longworthy (April 19, 1825) re: Scriptures and Quaker Testimony.

Archival Resource Key. Mary W. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1830-1856, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 13
Scope and Contents

re: opening colored school in Plainfield, Phebe C. Monroe (6mo. 9, 1833); re: ode to "life and character of grandfather Collins" from T. Monroe (11mo. 22, 1840).

Archival Resource Key. Abel F. Collins from G[eorge] F[ox] Collins, 1835-1841.
Box 1 Folder 14
Scope and Contents

re: observed changes in society after returning to upstate NY from 9 yrs. at sea, including the visit of Lindly M. Hoag, slavery and abolition, tensions between North and South, and the details of establishing a medical practice.

Archival Resource Key. Abel F. Collins from Electa J. Collins, 1843-1880.
Box 2 Folder 15
Scope and Contents

Includes one letter from before they were married, and then on several occasions when she was visiting her family (includes some letters from Abel to Electa during the same period, re: conscription in Utica).

Archival Resource Key. Abel F. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1832-1869, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 16
Scope and Contents

From miscellaneous family, includes criticism of Virgile (sic) by G. Foster, 1836; an account of the state of the Society in Indiana, and of a visit to Quaker Meetings (H) in New York by William Morris, 1861; an account of teaching school, medical practice; and the situation of the Society by Emmeline Collins, 1837-41.

Archival Resource Key. Electa J. Collins (1818-1896) from Job Scott and Ruth Collins, 1844-1871, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 17
Scope and Contents

Includes some letters from Chalkley Collins, while he lived at home with his parents, re: Mexican American War, 3mo. 1847

Archival Resource Key. Electa J. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1848-1883, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 18
Archival Resource Key. Abel F. and Electa J. Collins from Clarkson and Lydia Collins, 1845-1864.
Box 2 Folder 19
Scope and Contents

Includes some letters written by Rebecca A. Coffin, who was a part of their household.

Archival Resource Key. Abel F. and Electa J. Collins from Francis W. Collins, 1860-1872.
Box 2 Folder 20
Archival Resource Key. Abel F. and Electa J. Collins from Francis W. Collins, 1873-1877, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 21
Archival Resource Key. Abel F. and Electa J. Collins from Francis W. Collins, 1877-1886, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 22
Scope and Contents

Written at the time of Francis's marriage and subsequent move to California. Includes letters from Alice V. Collins

Archival Resource Key. Abel F. and Electa J. Collins from Clarkson A. and A. Chalkey Collins, 1867--1880.
Box 2 Folder 23
Archival Resource Key. Family letters to Clarkson A[bel] Collins (b. 1853), 1856-1876, n.d.
Box 3 Folder 24
Scope and Contents

Includes letters addressed jointly to A. Chalkley Collins, while the brothers attended Providence Friends Boarding School and later Brown University.

Archival Resource Key. Clarkson A. Collins from Francis W. Collins, 1868-1880, n.d.
Box 3 Folder 25
Archival Resource Key. Clarkson A. Collins from Abel and Electa Collins, 1869-1873.
Box 3 Folder 26
Archival Resource Key. Clarkson A. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd.
Box 3 Folder 27
Archival Resource Key. A. Chalkley Collins (b. 1857) from Clarkson A. Collins, 1869-1879.
Box 3 Folder 28
Archival Resource Key. A. Chalkley Collins (b. 1857) from Francis W. Collins, 1870-1881.
Box 3 Folder 29
Scope and Contents

Includes letters from Alice V. Collins

Archival Resource Key. A. Chalkley Collins from Abel and Electa Collins, 1872-1880.
Box 3 Folder 30
Archival Resource Key. A. Chalkley Collins, miscellaneous rec'd.
Box 3 Folder 31
Archival Resource Key. Job Scott and Ruth H. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd.
Archival Resource Key. Clarkson T. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1843-1880.
Box 3 Folder 33
Scope and Contents

Note: Francis W. Collins refers to Francis Wendell Collins, and Francis W[infield] Collins refers to his son.

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1857-1862.
Box 3 Folder 34
Scope and Contents

Letters written while he attended Friends Boarding School, Providence

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1863-1868.
Box 4 Folder 35
Scope and Contents

re: visit to Washington, D.C. including meeting President, touring White House; visit to War Dept.; news about warl; fire at Smithsonian Institute (Feb. 4-5, 1865)

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1869.
Box 4 Folder 36
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1870-1872.
Box 4 Folder 37
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1873.
Box 4 Folder 38
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1874.
Box 4 Folder 39
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1875-1877.
Box 4 Folder 40
Scope and Contents

re: visit to Columbia S.C.; speech of Secretary of State Hayne; meeting of Negro Assembly (March 12, 1875)

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Abel F. and Electa J. Collins, 1878-1886, n.d.
Box 4 Folder 41
Scope and Contents

Includes letters to Alice V. Collins.

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson A. and A. Chalkley Collins, 1866-1869.
Box 5 Folder 42
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson A. and A. Chalkley Collins, 1870-1871.
Box 5 Folder 43
Scope and Contents

re: visit from Sojourner Truth at age 80; her account of being forbidden to ride a rail car in Washington, D.C.; her views on women's rights (Sept. 18, 1820)

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson A. and A. Chalkley Collins, 1872.
Box 5 Folder 44
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from A. Chalkley Collins, 1873.
Box 5 Folder 45
Scope and Contents

re: lecture by suffragist Anna Dickinson, (Nov. 9, 1873); reading by Wilkie Collins, (Dec. 14, 1873).

Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from A. Chalkley Collins, 1874, n.d.
Box 5 Folder 46
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from A. Chalkley Collins, 1875-1884.
Box 5 Folder 47
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson A. Collins, 1873.
Box 5 Folder 48
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson A. Collins, 1874-1878.
Box 5 Folder 49
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Clarkson T. Collins, 1873-1881.
Box 5 Folder 50
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins from Alvin H. Wright, 1863-1864.
Box 6 Folder 51
Scope and Contents

Written while he was a soldier in the Union army; re: Great Dismal Swamp, NC; Battle of Fredricksburg; army life.

Archival Resource Key. Alice V. Collins (1855-1937), miscellaneous rec'd, 1877, n.d.
Box 6 Folder 52
Archival Resource Key. Alice V. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd, 1877-1884, n.d.
Box 6 Folder 53
Archival Resource Key. Francis W[infield] Collins (b. 1878) from Sarah Collins, 1902-1903.
Box 6 Folder 54
Archival Resource Key. Francis W[infield] Collins, miscellaneous rec'd.
Box 6 Folder 55
Archival Resource Key. Francis W. Collins, miscellaneous rec'd.
Box 6 Folder 56

Archival Resource Key. Francis W[endell] Collins journal, 1862-63.
Box 6 Folder 57
Scope and Contents

Consists of short passages describing daily routine at Friends Boarding School in Providence

Archival Resource Key. Francis W[endell] Collins commonplace book, 1877, 1879, 1886.
Box 6 Folder 57
Scope and Contents

3 journal entries describing his wedding trip in 1877, and New Year's observation in 1879 and 1886. Volume also includes commonplace items, poetry, newspaper clippings, lecture notes, etc.

Archival Resource Key. Receipts.
Box 6 Folder 58
Archival Resource Key. Business correspondence and papers, 1842-1875.
Box 6 Folder 59
Archival Resource Key. Business papers re: Ornamental Trees, 1866-1881.
Box 6 Folder 60
Archival Resource Key. Receipts and misc. papers, 1864-1886, n.d.
Box 6 Folder 61
Archival Resource Key. Account book, n.d.
Box 7 Folder 62
Archival Resource Key. Misc. business correspondence, 1867-1886, n.d.
Box 7 Folder 63
Archival Resource Key. Receipts, 1795-1875, n.d.
Box 7 Folder 64
Scope and Contents

Reciepts of Isaac, Abel, Mary A., and Amos Collins, and others.

Archival Resource Key. Index to account book, n.d.
Box 7 Folder 65

Archival Resource Key. Correspondence regarding school and teaching, 1867-1881.
Box 7 Folder 66
Scope and Contents

Primarily associated with Francis W. Collins, including job offers and his teaching certificate.

Archival Resource Key. School attendance record for schools in North Stonington, 1881.
Box 7 Folder 67
Archival Resource Key. Connecticut school registers, 1880-81.
Box 7 Folder 68
Archival Resource Key. Misc. school materials, 1840-1874.
Box 7 Folder 69
Scope and Contents

Includes examination schedules, notices of meetings, program for school, undated list of rules from Nine Partners Boarding School, essays and lectures, report cards.

Archival Resource Key. Meeting Papers, 1804-1863.
Box 7 Folder 70
Scope and Contents

Letters addressed to New England Quarterly Meeting by George Churchman, 1804, Extract "On Spiritual Silence" from the journal of Jesse Kersey, copied for Abel Collins by Job Munroe, 1817. Minutes and correspondence from South Kingstown Monthly Meeting, and Hopkinton Preperative Meeting (these papers are primarily associated with Abel F. Collins)

Archival Resource Key. Poems and Essays.
Box 7 Folder 71
Scope and Contents

Some copied and some original poems, including several by Francis W. Collins, one by Electa J. Collins, a sewn volume entitled "Rosy the Wreath" compiled by Clarkson Collins, an anonymous poem "On the death of A.M. Collins," and several signed "Rustic Bard" in the handwriting of Francis W. Collins

Archival Resource Key. Recipes.
Box 7 Folder 72
Archival Resource Key. Album of photographs.
Box 7 Folder 73
Scope and Contents

Album belonged to Francis Wendell Collins, and depicted members of the Collins family (as identified in 1954 by Francis Winfield Collins): Electa J. and Abel F., Ruth H. and Job S., Clarkson T. and Chalkley C., Francis Wendell and Alice V., and A. Chalkley Collins, as well as many other unidentified photographs.

Archival Resource Key. Miscellaneous.
Box 7 Folder 74
Scope and Contents

Clippings, wedding invitations, birth announcements, an index to biblical passages, unidentified photographs, and a ribbon

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