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Sharpless-Reeve 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

Blakey Sharpless and Mary Offley Sharpless were Quakers who married under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting in 1820. Blakey taught at Westtown School early in his career and then moved to Philadelphia where he became a partner to Thomas Kimber in a book publishing and selling business. He and his wife retired to Haddonfield, New Jersey, where she lived until her death.

Their children were Daniel, Isaac, Anna N. Martha P., Mary (1828-1834), Edward Sharpless, and Mary (1837-1909). Martha P. Sharpless married Edward Bettle (prominent in New Jersey politics), and Mary (1837-1909) married William Bettle (farmer, near Haddonfield, New Jersey. Anna N. Sharpless (1825-1891) married John Newbold Reeve of Medford, New Jersey, in 1857 under the care of Haddonfield Monthly Meeting. He was the son of John Newbold Reeve and Priscilla W. Sheppard Reeve.

Anna and John Newbold Reeve had three children: Walter S. Reeve, Mary Offley Reeve, and Edward Blakey Reeve. Walter married Adelaide Buzby in 1881 under the care of Burlington Monthly Meeting, New Jersey. In 1891, Edward B. Reeve married Virginia Antrim, a non-Quaker, and they had three children. In 1922, their daughter Mildred married Leon A. Fritchman who worked in Shanghai, China, in the 1930s.

Mary Offley Reeve attended Westtown School and briefly taught school in Medford, New Jersey. After Westtown, Mary O. Reeve lived with various family members in New Jersey and Ohio, and later, in Bedford, Pennsylvania, with her friend Anna Way Smith.

Annie Way Smith was the daughter of Samuel and Jane Wilson Way of Deer Creek Monthly Meeting in Harford, Maryland. Samuel was a farmer, and Jane W. Way was an Elder in the Meeting. They had four children: Annie, Mary, John, and Edwin S. Way. Annie Way married Edmund Landus Smith in 1900. Both had worked as teachers and subsequently Edmund became a family physician, settling his practice in Fishertown, Pennsylvania. Annie Way Smith was widowed in 1932, and the two women continued to live on Julianna Street, Fishertown, until Annie's sudden death in 1938.

The collected papers of the Sharpless and Reeve family of New Jersey and Philadelphia. Much of the correspondence is between Edward Sharpless (1831-1894), a New Jersey Quaker minister, and his sister, Anna N. Sharpless, who married John Newbold Reeve in 1857. Their daughter, Mary Offley Reeve, worked as a school teacher when young and became involved in temperance and evangelical Christianity. She shared these interests, reflected in diaries and other writings, with Annie Way Smith, a long-time friend. The collection illustrates Quaker responses to early twentieth century social and religious trends.

Arranged in four series.

Purchase, Accession 2016.031

Publisher
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Susanna K. Morikawa
Finding Aid Date
January 2020
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence of the Sharpless and Reeve family of New Jersey and Philadelphia. Much of the correspondence is between Edward Sharpless (1831-1894), a New Jersey Quaker minister, and his sister, Anna N. Sharpless (1825-1891) who married John Newbold Reeve in 1857.

Reeve and Sharpless letters, 1819, undated.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes congratulations on marriage of Priscilla W. Sheppard to John N. Reeve and appreciation for visit of Ann Offley, mother of Mary Offley Sharpless.

Miscellaneous Sharpless and Reeve correspondence, 1852-1877.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

John Newbold Reeve was the son of John Newbold Reeve and Priscilla W. Sheppard Reeve who were married under the care of Greenwich Monthly Meeting in 1819. A letter from Thomas R. Sheppard to nephew John Newbold Reeve describes his vision of pestilence. Mary O. Sharpless to son Isaac, Esther H. Sharpless note to mother-in-law regarding subscription to "The Shelter" and note to brother-in-law Edward; Esther drowned in 1874, together with husband Daniel Sharpless and two young children. Edward Sharpless to John N. Reeve with financial advice, 1866.

Miscellaneous undated correspondence, Anna N. Reeve, undated, circa 1870.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Correspondence received by Anna N. Sharpless Reeve, includes correspondence with Rachel Sheppard, wife of John W. Sheppard of Cincinnati who gives advice to Anna as a young mother.

Mary O. Sharpless, Haddonfield, to son, Edward Sharpless, 1852-1877 and undated.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

After death of her husband Blakley Sharpless in 1853, Mary turned to son for advice and comfort. She wrote that she had been reading her husband's diary. A letter of 1857, 2 month, mention of a member marrying out of unity, but unlike Edward, she thinks that not only marriage within the Society bring happiness.

J. Newbold Reeve, Greenwich, to wife Anna N. Reeve, 1866, 1873, 1881.
Box 1
Anna Reeve, Medford, to brother Edward Sharpless, 1871-1879.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Affectionate and newsy letters to her brother, including during his travels to Europe.

Anna and J. Newbold Reeve family correspondence, 1862-1877.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes letter from Anna's mother, Mary Offley Sharpless, and letter from her brother Isaac Sharpless, sister-in-law Esther H. Sharpless, Anna to sister-in-law Rachel Sheppard.

Anna Reeve, Medford, to brother Edward Sharpless, 1883-1886.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Anna Reeve to brother Edward Sharpless. She wrote that she did not hesitate to speak in Quarterly Meeting when she believed she had to.

Anna Reeve, Medford to brother Edward Sharpless, 1887-1889 and undated.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Anna Reeve to brother Edward Sharpless. 1887 letter includes a reference to Phebe Elkington losing all her investments due to a fraud, and Joseph Elkington and friends will help make restitution.

Edward Sharpless correspondence, 1877-1879.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes letters to Friends in London, and a letter of introduction from Edward Scully of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting recommending him as a minister and interested in English history. Poem about Christmas written for him by Anna. Postcards received by Edward in England.

Edward Sharpless correspondence, 1884-1887.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes two letters from Asa Garretson, Barnesville, Ohio, concerning Edward's proposed visit to Hickory Grove and other Quaker meetings. Advice to Edwin Sprague regarding acceptance of plainness as a requirement for convincement. Advice to Tong Ling after his visit to San Jose. A recommendation from minister at First Presbyterian, Oxford, Pa., confirming the appropriateness of Edward's Orthodox Christian views.

Edward Sharpless to Anna S. Reeve, 1879.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Descriptive letters to his sister of his travels in Great Britain and Europe.

Edward Sharpless to Anna S. Reeve and Mary O. Reeve, 1886-1891.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Edward was touring California, visiting Quaker meetings. He wrote that he did not like the climate in San Diego County and intended to return to the East, transferring his membership from Medford to 12th Street Meeting which he expected to find more congenial. Soon after, he decided to stay when the William Evans and family arrived at Elsinore. Mentions controversy in Philadelphia Monthly Meeting concerning granting certificates to evangelical Quaker meetings with paid ministry and singing. He wrote that he found a group of Friends with silent worship in Pasadena. Continued his visit north to San Jose. Found many familiar Quakers. He stayed with Joel Bean and traveled with him to West Branch, then Bean continued to Philadelphia for the Yearly Meeting. In 1887 5 month, Edward wrote that he was staying with Elisha Bye in West Branch, Iowa, and then moved on to Friends Boarding School, Barnesville.

Samuel Morris, Olney, to Edward Sharpless, 1856-1874.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Member of Frankford Monthly Meeting. Samuel Morris (1827-1905) served as clerk of Indian Committee. He mentioned committee meetings, encouraged Edward in ministry, and was providing catalog of books at Westtown School for Aaron Sharpless.

J. Wistar Evans to Edward Sharpless, 1861.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Mentions the effort to exempt Friends from draft

Elizabeth Pierson to Edward Sharpless , 1866-1879.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Elder of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Northern District and served as clerk of the Yearly Meeting. She died in 1882. Her letters reflect discomfort with message and dress of visiting London Friends.

Mahlon Moon to Edward Sharpless, 1872-1877.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Moon (1814-1887) owned a tree nursery, Morrisville Nursery, in Bucks County, Pa. His sons continued the Moon family horticulture legacy with the William H. Moon Company, founded in 1872. Mahlon Moon was a member of Falls Monthly Meeting and an Elder. The letters mention news of Quaker meetings and encouragement to Edward Sharpless in his faith and ministry.

Phebe W. Roberts to Edward Sharpless, 1864-1872.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Phebe W. Roberts (1810-1893) was a long-time Quaker minister and served on the Westtown Committee.

Joseph Snowdon to Edward Sharpless, 1865-1872.
Box 1
Correspondence from Friends, 1863-1867, 1873-1885.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Recommendation of place to board from a cousin in Salem, New Jersey. Words of encouragement in his unemployment which offered time to devote to ministry

Joseph S. Scattergood to Edward Sharpless, 1883.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Updates on fellow Quakers

William Evans to Edward Sharpless , 1887.
Box 1
Correspondence to Edward Sharpless from Friends in Europe, 1879-1880.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Concerning his travels

Miscellaneous correspondence to Edward Sharpless, 1886.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Concerning finances, etc.

Correspondence to Edward Sharpless, death of his mother, 1891.
Box 2
Sympathy letters to J. Newbold Reeve on death of wife , 1891.
Box 2
Edward Sharpless to niece Mary O. Reeve and related correspondence, 1891-1894.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

"Mame." A letter concerns writing his Will, with trustees to manage her inheritance. A letter from Friends Asylum to Mary describes his death and reimbursement to estate of family, and a letter from a family member expressed guilt about his dying alone.

Miscellaneous copy poetry and documents, 1857-1882, undated.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Includes copies of poetry for J. N. Reeve

Mary O. Reeve, Westtown, to her mother and brother Walter, 1872.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Mary was a student at Westtown. In her letter of 9 month 16 she wrote that her uncle Edward Sharpless visited the School and preached. Described death of a fellow student, possibly typhoid fever.

Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, 1873-1879.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Letters to Mary ("Mame") and her brothers at Westtown. 8 month her letter reported that bodies of her brother Daniel Sharpless and family had been found two miles at sea off Atlantic City. Daniel, his wife Esther, and two of their children were drowned in a boating accident on 7 month 10, 1874,

Anna N. Reeve,, Medford, to Mary and brothers, folder 1, 1870s.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Undated letters sent to children at Westtown

Anna N. Reeve,, Medford, to Mary and brothers, folder 2, 1870s.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Undated letters sent to children at Westtown

Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, 1877-1879.
Box 2
Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, 1880-1883.
Box 2
Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, 1884-1885.
Box 2
Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, 1886-1889.
Box 3
Anna N. Reeve, Medford, to daughter Mary, undated.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

After Westtown, Mary O. Reeve lived with various family members in New Jersey, especially uncle Edward Bettle and she vacationed in Atlantic City.

Siblings and friends to Mary O. Reeve, 1875-1878.
Box 3
Family letters to Mary O Reeve ("Mamie"), Cincinnati, 1881-1886.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Brother Edward B. Reeve to sister from Westtown; J. E. Reeve, Medford, to Auntie Mamie

Relatives and friends to Mary O. Reeve, 1881-1883.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Mame was staying at home of John W. Sheppard in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mostly birthday greetings. In spring of 1883, she returned to Medford with cousin Lil Sheppard and Bernie Allinson. An account from Locust Hill, 9mo 18, 1883, relays the girls' activities.

Relatives and friends to Mary O. Reeve, 1884-1893, undated.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Letters received in Cincinnati, Medford, and Atlantic City. A note from niece Alice Reeve from Moorestown, NJ., 1893.

Ella Walker, Columbus, Pa., to Mary Offley Reeve, 1880-1891.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Letters to "Mame" with a description of her wedding in January 1888.

Friends to Mame, Medford, New Jersey, 1890-1892.
Box 3
Letters from Anna and Lily to cousin Mary O. Reeve and her mother, Aunt Anna., 1886-1891.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Cousin Anna M.S., San Francisco

To Mame, regarding death of her mother , 1891.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Sympathy notes reflect close relationship of their relationship. Oakland is in Camden, New Jersey.

Mame Letters received, 1917-1922.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

Mame lived with her brother Walter Reeve in Riverton, and subsequently 1922-1930s in Bedford. Pennsylvania. Includes notes from niece, a student at Mount Holyoke.

Mary O. Reeve letters received, 1930-1935.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

In the 1930s, Mary O. Reeve ("Mame") was living in Bedford. Pa. Notes from niece. a student at Mount Holyoke. Letters from sister-in-law Virginia A. Reeve from Shanghai, China, 1933, where she was living - her son-in-law Leon A. Fritchman was working there. Her granddaughter was a student at the American School.

Mary O. Reeve letters received, 1937-1938.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

1930s in Bedford. Pa. Notes from niece student at Mount Holyoke. Letters from sister-in-law Virginia A. Reeve from Shanghai, China, 1933, where she was living, her son-in-law Leon A. Fritchman, working there. Granddaughter a student at the American School.

Letters received from "niece" Margaret ("Peg") Smith Satterthwaite, 1922, 1936-1938.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Peg was the daughter of Annie and Edmund Smith, the letters addressed 211 Juliana Street, Bedford, Pa. Loving letters, in 1930s to her "Auntie," living in Cleveland, Ohio. She married William F. Satterthwaite, and their daughter was named Margaret "Margie"

Letters received from niece Mildred Reeve Fritchman, 1934-1938.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Mildred was the daughter of Mary's brother Edward B. Reeve and Virginia Antrim Reeve. She married Leon A. Fritchman in 1922. From 1934-1937, the family was in Shanghai, China, where Leon was working. They returned to the US just before political situation deteriorated, and Leon developed health issues.

Mary O. Reeve and Smith family correspondence and miscellaneous, 1945-1957, and undated.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Mary Wilson Smith, daughter of Annie Way Smith, married Howard Paton Vincent in 1931, a prominent professor and Fulbright lecturer in Europe. Letters between "Auntie" Mary O. Reeve from Fishertown and from Mary. W. Letters between Mary and Howard Vincent and Mary Smith Vincent to her mother Annie and "Auntie" Mary O. Reeve.

Undated letters: Reeve, Smith, Vincent, undated.
Box 4

Mary O. Reeve diaries (2), 1880-1882.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Intermittent entries. Mary taught at Medford Friends School and did not enjoy teaching. Draft of a letter to students with words of encouragement. In her diary, she commented "Oh the trials of school teaching" and couldn't wait to be released. Her brother Walter married a non-member in 5 month 1881, and Mary expressed concern whether Addie (Adelaide) would be accepted.

Mary O. Reeve diary, circa 1930.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Incomplete. She mentioned activities of Smith children, attending meetings.

Notes on a yearly meeting , circa 1900.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Willis R. Hotchkiss spoke

Mary O. Reeve financial records, circa 1916=1939.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Bank accounts, cancelled checks, etc.

Mary O. Reece miscellaneous essays, undated.
Box 4
Report on 26th Annual conference of the Pennsylvania Women's Christian Temperance Union, 1910.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Manuscript report on 26th Annual conference of the Pennsylvania Women's Christian Temperance Union

Report on national conventions, 1913.
Box 4
Report on convention held in Lancaster, 38th annual, circa 1921.
Box 4
Draft proposals for support from doctors and druggists, 1921.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Mary O. Reeve was the Chairman of the Bedford County Health and Morals Committee

Temperance writings, lecture notes.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Temperance poem and writings. Mary was active in organizing a local Union, wrote an introduction to organizing a temperance group.

Notes on a Ladies Temperance League lecture, Marta E. Lockwood, circa 1921.
Box 4
Scope and Contents

Women's Christian Temperance Union, Michigan

Lay Women's Conference on Social Morality, 1922.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Mary O. Reeve's report. She attended the conference held in Pittsburgh, Pa., with heads of Health departments across State. Problem of venereal diseases, prostitution, double standards for men and women

Invitations, announcements, circa 1876-1895.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Marriages, graduations, etc., addressed to Newbold and Anna Reeve and Mary O. Reeve

Mary O. Reeve memorabilia, circa 1922-1951.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Birth notices, etc. A greeting card from Peg [Smith Satterthwaite] "Just as though you were my mother."

Annie Way diary, 1884-1886.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Student at Westtown. The diary begins on her 17th birthday with details of activities at the School, classes, meetings and other activities. Annie attended Baltimore Yearly Meeting in 1885. The diary ends with partial entry of 1 month 15, 1886, the succeeding two2 pages were removed and diary not resumed.

Annie Way pocket diaries, 1896, 1898.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Annie was teaching in 1896, a vocation she found exhausting, and she gave notice in February that she would leave after the semester ended in early June. Her date books reflect regular worship attendance, also yearly meeting in April and Women's Temperance meetings. She mentioned visiting Walter Reeve in Moorestown and other Reeves and visits from ELS (Edmund Landus Smith] who became her husband. The summer of 1896 reflects her growing involvement with the religious revival movement: She attended a week of meetings, day-long preaching in July 1896 and then continued to attend meetings almost every day through November. She mentioned the conference at Swarthmore in August and the courtship with ELS. They both attended and participated in Christian Endeavor Union meetings with great enthusiasm as well as Fishertown Particular Meetings, services at various Protestant churches (A.M.E. Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.), and Annie also worked with the Salvation Army, on temperance, and the Christian Endeavor Union. In 1898 she was living in Lansdowne and mentioned Mary O. Reeve.

Annie Way Smith pocket diaries, 1901-1906.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

In 1900, Annie and Edmund were married, and by 1901, Mary O. Reeve was living with them - as well as Annie's sister Mary. Annie reveled in the early years of marriage, and she and Ed both lead Christian Endeavor meetings. She noted McKinley's death in September 1901, and she became active in Women's' Christian Temperance Union.

Annie Way Smith pocket diaries, 1909, 1913.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

The diaries record Annie's activities in religious and reform revivals as well as Fishertown Meeting. Mention of Mary O. Reeve. She and Ed had two daughters: Mary W. Smith and Margaret M. Smith. In 1913, she and Ed held Bible classes in their home, Ed had a very active family medical practice. Mary O. Reeve in the diaries become "Auntie."

Annie Way Smith pocket diary, 1931.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

This pocket diary contains more extensive entries that reflect a very stressful and difficult year. Walter Reeve died in January. Annie attended peace meeting and kept an active religious attendance, noting that preachers exchanged pulpits in different congregations. Her son-in-law Bill lost his job. Husband Ed was in poor health but insisted on continuing his medical practice. A report from Aunt Mary O. that she lost money in a Lansdowne bank, Dr. Shields arrived to help the medical practice, but Ed was stubborn and difficult, bedridden when not trying to treat patients. He apparently had a home practice with Annie helping in the office , and she was burdened with caring for sick members of the family at home. Ed died 2 month 29, 1932, described in his obituary in The Friend that "he typified the beloved family physician."

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1916-1926.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Letters to Annie Smith mention WCTU and Yearly Meetings. Includes 1919 Westtown report card for daughter Mary W. Smith and mention of Mildred Reeve's wedding.

Letters from Annie Smith to Mary Reeve, 1922-1937.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Annie Smith, Bedford, Pa. Mary O. Reeve's appointment to attend yearly meetings, a visit in 1937 of the Satterthwaites.

Annie Way Smith correspondence, 1930-1938.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Letters sent and received, family news and activities. From daughters Mary W. Vincent, Hillsdale, Michigan and Margaret ("Peg") Satterthwaite. Also, correspondence from sister-in-law Annette G. Way, a member of Lansdowne Monthly Meeting. In 1937, Annie and Mary O. (fondly addressed as "dear girls") were living in the Julianna Street home.

Annie Way Smith memorabilia, circa 1900-1931.
Box 5
Scope and Contents

Marriage notice, cancelled checks, small address book

Telegram from Mary O. Reeve notifying of death of Annie Way Smith, 1938-11-03.
Box 5

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