Oliver 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
The collection contains the papers of the family of Wendell French Oliver (1893-1953), the son of William Theodore Oliver and Elma French Oliver of Lynn, Massachusetts. The Oliver family descended from Gamaliel Wallis Oliver (1772-1849), a successful Lynn shoe manufacturer. Gamaliel Oliver married Charlotte Breed in 1807, and they had three sons: William Breed Oliver (1808-1885), James Purinton Oliver (1810-1873), and Theodore Breed Oliver (1813-1832). William Breed Oliver was a professor of astronomy and friend of William Lloyd Garrison; he married three times: First, Huldah A. Purinton of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1835; she died in 1838, no children. Second, Sarah Jenkins, in 1841, North Berwick, Maine; and third, Rachel Buffington in 1862, who had three children.
He had four children by his second wife, Sarah Jenkins Oliver (1814-1854), three who survived to maturity. Charlotte (1848-1903) married Isaac Packard, a Methodist minister. James Wallis Oliver (1850-1938) in 1884 married Mary Anne Otis, daughter of James D. and Mary M. Otis of Nantucket Monthly Meeting. In 1885 they removed to Poplar Ridge (Otisite) Monthly Meeting, New York, where they are buried. James was a member and minister of Nantucket Monthly Meeting.
The third child, William Theodore Oliver (1854-1933) was a draughtsman and scientific illustrator. He married three times. He and his first wife, Elma French ( 1860-1895) had two sons, Wendell French Oliver (1893-1953) and William Theodore Oliver (1895-1978). In 1897, William T. Oliver married a second time, Georgianna Willard (1868-1912), and they had two children, Herbert W. Oliver (1901-1919) and Elizabeth Brattle Oliver (born 1905). Herbert was a wireless operator and died at sea in 1919. In 1914 William T. Oliver married a third time, to Emma Talbot (1871-1944).
Both Wendell and W. Theodore Oliver attended Westtown School. After graduation, Wendell worked with the William H. Moon Nursery in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. He transferred from Nantucket Monthly Meeting to Falls Monthly Meeting (Orthodox) in 1917. In 1918 he was accepted into the Friends Reconstruction Unit, serving in the Tree Distribution Project in France, and in 1920 he married Mary Sydney Satterthwaite at Fallsington Meeting. She was the daughter of Henry W. and Lucy Sharpless Satterthwaite. Wendall and Mary had four children: Lucille, William Wendell, Elizabeth B., and Miriam. Wendell was a landscape architect and worked with the William H. Moon Company in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River from Trenton. In 1948-1950, he served on the Westtown School Committee and acted as superintendent of the grounds.
The second son, W. Theodore Oliver (1895-1978), was adopted by his aunt and uncle, James and Mary Anna Oliver; his mother is variously in sources as Elma F. Oliver and Mary Anna Otis Oliver, and Wendall is described variously as brother and cousin. Theodore also was a conscientious objector in WWI and served with the AFSC in European Reconstruction. Theodore married Sarah Wright Wood in 1924. She was the daughter of Edward Wood and Marianne Valentine Wood, members of Perry City Monthly Meeting. In 1933 they transferred their membership from Nantucket to Perry City Monthly Meeting and were members of Ithaca Monthly Meeting at the time of their deaths. Sarah's great-aunt, Freelove Owen Pyle (1834-1920) lived in the Woods' home in the latter years of her life.
The Purinton family of Lynn, Massachusetts, was related by marriage in multiple generations. Gamaliel Oliver married Charlotte Breed, granddaughter of James Purinton and Anna Breed Purinton. Their nephews, James and Ebenezer Purinton, married sisters, Tamesin and Bethia Frye. Ebenezer and Bethia were the parents of Huldah Purinton (1809-1838), the first wife of William Breed Oliver.
The collection contains the papers of the family of Wendell French Oliver, New England and Pennsylvania Wilburite Quakers. Gamaliel Wallis Oliver (1772-1849) was a successful Lynn, Massachusetts, shoe manufacturer who married Charlotte Breed in 1807. Two grandsons, Wendell French Oliver and William Theodore Oliver, were conscientious objectors in WWI and served with the AFSC in European Reconstruction. The collection includes journals, photographs, and related papers of Wendall, Theodore, and Theodore's wife, Sarah Wood Oliver, a member of Perry City Monthly Meeting. Also a small amount of correspondence, a journal kept by Freelove Owen Pyle, 1909-1920, and genealogical and miscellaneous papers of the Satterthwaite and Buzby families of New Jersey and the Lane family of New York State. In addition to the WWI conscientious objectors material, of special interest are a letter from Quaker minister Mehetabel Jenkins and a letter from William Lloyd Garrison.
Arranged in five series: 1. Journals and albums; 2. Wendell French Oliver and William Theodore Oliver family; 3. Miscellaneous correspondence; 4. Legal and financial; 5. Genealogical research.
Gift of Lucille Koenig and Miriam Swartz, daughters of Wendell French Oliver
Photographs removed to FHL Photograph Collections.
Two handwritten "Family Records" (and accompanying keepsakes) were added to the genealogical file in PG7.
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- Susanna Morikawa
- Finding Aid Date
- September 2020
- 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/.
The author mentioned his 30th birthday and brother William T. Oliver. Well-knwn in Lynn, James W. Oliver (1850-1938) married Mary Anm Otis in 1891, and they strictly adhered to Quaker plainness.
Multiple small volumes, mostly daybooks with short entries kept by William T. Oliver (1854-1933). On Nov. 23, 1919, he recorded the death of son Herbert who fell overboard when on duty, USS Gulf Coast. Entry of June 10, 1920, recorded that son Wendall French Oliver and Mary S. Satterthwaite were married at Meeting. Daughter Elizabeth was maid of honor. He attended WCTU and Quaker meetings. Financial accounting at end of books.
Lacking 1909, 1916
Multiple small volumes. Wendall French Oliver (1893-1953) lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1915 and wrote about attecning school and meeting. 1916, he lived and worked in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, at the Moon Nursery. In 1917, he wrote about attending local Orthodox Quaker, Methodist and Hicksite meetings. 1920, he served with the AFSC in France in January, then went sightseeing in England where he attended Quaker meetings. He mentioned German prisoners of war and sailed home in March.
Multiple volumes. The daughter of Edward and Maryanne (Valentine) Wood of Perry City Monthly Meeting, Sarah (1892-1973) married William Theodore Oliver in 1925 and transferred to Nantucket Monthly Meeting. In 1932, she wrote about their move to Ithaca, New York. Attended Quaker meetings, recorded daily activities in short entries.
Single volume, unsigned but attributed to Freelove Owen Pyle (1834-1920) who was Sarah Wood's great-aunt. She was married in her fifties (1889) to Edward Pyle and lived most of her life in the homes of her siblings and nephew. Freelove wrote about attending meetings and quarterly meetings, Wood, Mekeel and other relations, deaths of Friends and relatives. Widowed in 1901, in 1910, she lived briefly with Hannah Williams in Pasadena, California, returning to Ithaca, New York, later in the year. In 1920 she lived in the household of her nephew Edward Wood and wife Maryanne. Also in household was their daughter Sarah W. Wood who married W. Theodore Oliver in 1924.
Likely kept by a Satterthwaite, possibly Mary S. Oliver and her mother? Includes deaths of Olivers and Satterthwaites through Wendall's death in 1953.
Margaret Haines married Joseph Buzby in 1813, Moorestown Monthly Meeting, New Jersey. Most entries concern Gummeres
Collected postcards of France, war-torn scenes and travel. Explanatory notes, dated, by Theodore and Wendall. A few posted, either to James W. Oliver (father) or Rebecca Otis, Lynn, Massachusetts. Also collected postcards of tourist sites in Europe (not labeled).
Oliver family's hometown
For relief work in France. Also, authorization for his return to Lynn, Massachusetts, 1920.
Carbon copy of a typed poem by Wendall F. Oliver, Vanault-les-Dames, Marne
Carbon of notes typed by H.J. Moon, "largely from letters of Wendall." Intended to circulate among AFSC conscientious objector workers. Describes start of group's work in France.
Typed transcript account of his journey to France in 1919. It ends with his arrival at his workplace, edited by son William Wendall Oliver. Also typed essay of Mishaps of a Mission Motorcyclist.
Albums stored in Photograph Collection with duplicate copy of index.
Including House and Garden Magazine
Includes Moses Head farm papers, Albany, New Hampshire, and the article he based on papers found in the abandoned Heald farm.
Published in Westonian. Poem by his widow after his death, business cards.
Third wife of William T. Oliver. Photo of her birthplace in Ohio. Letter copied by Annie Preston, to Miriam Oliver and her family which related the story of how Emma met William T. Oliver when attending a First Day Meeting of Conservative Friends, held at James W. Oliver's home. Handwritten essay description of Hicksites.
Presented to [Lynn Lyceum ?] on topic of astronomy. Also, a manuscript of a debate
Includes a handwritten manuscript of a poem describing climbing Mount Chocorua, New Hampshire. Published poem celebrating May Day 1914; undated Iona Lake poem with illustration
Pencil, faded. Market Street, with notes.
Box 5 and oversized published maps stored in Oversize folder.
William Wait Oliver was the brother of Gamaliel Wallis Oliver. He was nicknamed "Old Step-Over-to Lynn." Removed from frame; a typed anecdote on reverse signed by Israel B. Oliver, son of William Breed Oliver. Primitive black paper cut-out on foxed board. Also Lynn Directory and Register, 1841, which lists Oliver family members.
Printed catalogues, property of James P. Oliver, with his name added to list of students
Mehitabel Jenkins (1731-1815, born in Maine and recognized as a minister about 1751. A "plain" Quaker, she traveled to England and Ireland as well as the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Deliverance Purinton (1752-1785) was the aunt of Charlotte Breed, wife of Gamaliel Oliver. The note to her friend gave a health update with a postscript that the certificate she sent was accepted.
Pope wrote that he had not yet been able to flee from Boston, asked for pair of shoes for his wife if possible. Ebenezer Pope was a member of Lynn Monthly Meeting and in 1801 gave $1,000 to establish a fund for needy Friends in the Boston area. James Purinton (1723-1801) was a cordwainer (shoemaker) and grandfather of Charlotte Breed who married Gamaliel Oliver, also a shoe manufacturer in Lynn.
Letter from parents Gamaliel and Charlotte Oliver to son James Purinton Oliver in Providence. Also, letter from James to Benjamin with a description of Yearly Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, and a visit by the President of the U.S.
Concerning bills not paid. The sons of Gamaliel continued the family shoe manufacturing in Lynn, but suffered financial losses during the U.S. Civil War.
With thanks for the letter that Oliver sent concerning his mother. Garrison remarked how he had apprenticed in the shoe shop of Oliver's father (Gamaliel Oliver) in Lynn, Massachusetts. Fragile, split at fold lines
Note to "Dear Friend," in which he wrote that Oak Knolls was only his part-time residence
Cover letter from cousin R. W. Woodward enclosing faded autograph on birch wood.
Long account of a trip to New England and Long Island
Also Benjamin Breed, Jr., to James Purinton
Before the meetings of Boston and Lynn. Ebenezer Pope was a witness,.
Draft of minutes, concerning marriage intentions including Benjamin Chace and G. Breed. James Purinton represented Salem Preparative Meeting
William T. Oliver (1923)and Emma T. Oliver (1936)
Henry W. Satterthwaite, Lucy S. Satterthwaite estates
Brochure for endowment subscription to support the burial ground which no longer was owned by the Quaker meeting.
Household and cooking tips
With miscellaneous personal notes, 1920
Includes: Wendall French Oliver grammar school diploma,Lynn, Massachusetts, 1907; Mary Pim Lane diplomas: Oakwood School, Westtown, NYS entrance exam, Skidmore College.
Moorestown Monthly Meeting
Moorestown Monthly Meeting
New Garden Monthly Meeting
Poughkeepsie Monthly Meeting. Also photocopy of anniversary certificate and marriage certificate of 1819 William Lane and Mary Griffin marriage certificate.
Falls Monthly Meeting
Mary S. Satterthwaite Oliver was the granddaughter of Susan Buzby Satterwaite who married Giles Satterthwaite, Moorestown Monthly Meeting.
Printed family tree, notes, labeled copy image of Eliza Miller French, born 1832, mother of Elma French, first wife of William Theodore Oliver.
Compiled by Lucille Oliver Koenig, Miriam Oliver Swartz and others
Includes some copy photographs
Harriett Thatcher married David Lane in 1903. She was daughter of Lydia Pim and Enos Eldridge Thatcher. Harriett and David Lane's daughter Mary Pim Lane married Rev. William Swartz in 1904. Their son David Lane Swartz married Miriam Satterthwaite Oliver in 1936. Thatcher and Pim family photographs 1889-ca 1912 added to Oliver Picture Collection.
Compiled by Marian E. Thatcher
Wendall French Oliver married Mary Sidney Satterthwaite at Falls Monthly Meeting in 1920. She was the daughter of Henry Warrington Satterthwaite and Lucy Sharpless Satterthwaite. Henry W. Satterthwaite was the son of Giles Satterthwaite and Susan Buzby Satterthwaite of Moorestown Monthly Meeting, New Jersey. Includes a few family invitation, manuscript copies of William Satterthwaite certificate of removal (1734), essay on Satterthwaite genealogy, and broadside of sale of William Satterthwaite property including a grist mill (1827).
Like the Olivers, the Fosters aligned with the Wilburite (Conservative) branch of the Society of Friends in Massachusetts. The Fosters were close friends of the William T. Oliver family of Lynn, Massachusetts (illustrator). Mary C. Foster Cadbury's father, William Oliver Foster, was named for him. The Fosters and Olivers were active members of Nantucket Monthly Meeting (Otisite), and Miriam and Lucille Oliver, the donors, are distantly related.