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Wood Family 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

Samuel Wood (1760-1844) of New York was a convinced Friend, and he married Mary Searing. He taught school until 1803 when he moved to New York City and operated a book store and printing press producting children's books. By 1815 he had established a publishing company, Samuel Wood & Sons, which became a successful business operated by succeeding generations.

In 1822, he and his son, William Wood (1797-1877), operated the printing house. In 1835 William Wood was married to Mary S. Underhill (1805-1894) under the care of New York Monthly Meeting. William and Mary Wood were active in Quaker concerns, and he served as clerk of New York Yearly Meeting for twenty years. William Wood retired in 1868, and the business was continued by his son, William H. S. (Henry S.) Wood (1840-1907) and his sons.

Mary and William's daughter, Elisabeth Underhill Wood (1842-1922), was married to David S. Taber (died 1914) in 1869.

Mary S. (Underhill) Wood (M. S. (Mary Sutton) Wood) was an author and poet and known in the family as an enthusiastic creator of scrapbooks. In an article entitled "Our Autograph books" in Friends Review in February 1868, Mary Wood described her efforts to preserve autographs and letters of Friends, modeling her collection on similar public and private collections. The scrapbook of letters was made for her grandson, David S. Taber, II, son of David S. and Elizabeth U. Taber. A note by Mary S. Wood, indicates that this scrapbook was compiled in 1879 and intended for her eldest grandson. The family scrapbook was compiled for her granddaughter, Mary Underhill Wood, in 1885.

The Wood Family Papers contains papers from a Quaker family active in 19th century New York City Friends affairs, compiled by M. S. (Mary Sutton) Wood. Included are business correspondence concerning the printing house founded by Samuel and William Wood, correspondence from prominent Friends concerning abolition, the Civil War, freedmen, prisoners, First Day schools, peace, and other Quaker concerns. Also included is a scrapbook of genealogical material, writings, and reminiscences by Mary S. Wood compiled in 1885 for her granddaughter, Mary Underhill Wood. It includes her reminiscences about life in New York City as a Friend active in such concerns as abolition, First Day Schools, and prison visitation. The collection includes letters from Elihu Burritt, Angelina Grimke, and others.

The scrapbook of letters has been dismantled and placed in folders in the order of the original. The second scrapbook, of reminiscences and family memorabilia, is retained in its original form as a bound volume.

Accession information:

Donor: Ruth and David Taber, 1948

Donor: Purchase, Tolles Fund, 1976

The scrapbook of letters was given by Ruth and David Taber, and, according to the donor, it was made by Mary S. Wood for David S. Taber. The genealogical and reminiscences scrapbook by Mary S. Wood was purchased from a rare book store.

The scrapbook of letters which was received in 1948 was dismantled in 1976, and the letters were placed in folders in the order in which they had been pasted into the album. The second scrapbook, purchased in 1976, was rebound by bookbinder Shihadeh in 1977 and added to the collection. The collection was formerly known as Wood Manuscripts and was transferred to RG 5 in 1988. A new finding aid was prepared in 11/2001.

A similar scrapbook compiled by M. S. Wood is deposited in the Quaker Collection, Haverford College.

Scrapbook and journal by M. S. Wood entitled "History of the Society of Friends in the City of New York/New York Yearly Meeting/ Compiled by Mary S. Wood, 1880" is in the manuscript collection of the New York Historical Society.

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

Scrapbook collection of letters, 1784-1874 (1879).
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Compiled by Mary S. Wood in 1879. (Dismantled)

Account of Ancestors by Mary S. Wood.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of biographical information and reminiscences, etc., bound.

Print, Suggest