Louis N. Robinson and Caroline Hadley Robinson Correspondence
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
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Overview and metadata sections
Louis N. Robinson (1880-1952), prominent economist and penologist, was born in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, a borough in Wyoming County, 31 miles northwest of Wilkes Barre. He was the son of John Marklin Robinson and Annie Elizabeth Thacher. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1905, studied at the Universities of Halle and Berlin, Germany, in 1907-1908, and was awarded a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1911. He taught economics and criminology at Swarthmore College from 1908-1917 and continued to lecture on criminology until 1934. Louis Robinson chaired the Pennsylvania Parole Commission, served as a trustee of Eastern Penitentiary, Swarthmore National Bank, and the State Parole Board and president of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons (later the Stephen Smith Home), Philadelphia. He was an expert on small business loans.
Louis Robinson joined the Society of Friends in 1905 and married Caroline Hadley under the care of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting on June 17, 1908. She was the daughter of Alice Paxson Hadley and Walter Hadley. Alice C. Paxson (1857-1919) was the daughter of Frederick Paxson and Lydia Betts Paxson, Philadelphia Hicksite Quakers. In 1883 she married Walter Hadley (1857-1896), an Indiana Quaker, and they lived in New Mexico where Walter managed a mining operation. He died in 1896 of tuberculosis, and his widow returned to Pennsylvania. Her older brother, Charles Paxson, lived with his wife, Alice Hall Paxson, and her parents, Thomas Heston Hall and Lydia Cox Hall in their home just off the Swarthmore College campus. The Paxson siblings lived in adjacent homes: Abigail Hall, sister of Alice Hall Paxson, married Chester Roberts, superintendent of the College, and they lived at 409 College Avenue. In 1899, Alice Hall and Charles Paxson built an attached house, 311 Cedar Lane. In 1905 Alice Paxson Hadley purchased the home next-door at 411 College Avenue. Alice Hadley was increasingly deaf, and the close-knit family provided fellowship and support.
Caroline Hadley Robinson graduated from Swarthmore College in 1906 and earned an M.A. in economics from Columbia University in 1907. She was a leader in supporting maternal health, serving as an officer for Planned Parenthood, Pennsylvania, and on the board of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In later years, she was active in politics.
Following their marriage in 1908, Louis and Caroline Robinson lived with her mother in the Swarthmore home. After Alice Hadley's death in 1919, Louis and Caroline maintained their residence in Swarthmore for the rest of their lives. Caroline died in 1946, and Louis married second to Marylyn Wyse. He died suddenly in 1952 and bequeathed the residence which he had inherited to Swarthmore College under the provision that it be named in honor of his first wife, Caroline Hadley Robinson. In 1970 it was established as the Black Cultural Center.
Louis N. Robinson, Swarthmore College Class of 1905, was a prominent Quaker economist and penologist. On June 17, 1908, he married Caroline Hadley (1885-1946) under the care of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting. She was the daughter of Walter Hadley and Alice Paxson Hadley and a graduate of Swarthmore College, Class of 1906. The collection contains Louis Robinson's letters 1901-1907, Caroline Hadley's letters 1895-1936, and transcripts with annotations by their granddaughter, Christine Erb. The letter vividly describe student life at Swarthmore College and during Louis's graduate study in Germany as well as family, Quaker, and social concerns. Also included are photographs of the Paxson branch of the family.
The donor, Christine Erb, Swarthmore Class of 1969, transcribed the latters of her grandparents for her mother, Alice Robinson Erb, Swarthmore 1936. Originally intended to share with the family, she annotated and included photographs.
Gift of Christine Erb, grandaughter of Louis and Caroline Hadley Robinson. Acc. 2021.013, 2021.036, 2022.058, 2023.025.
Sorted and transcribed by the donor.
Swarthmore College diploma, Caroline Hadley, B.A., 1906. Transferred to Swarthmore College diplomas.
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- Susanna Morikawa
- Finding Aid Date
- November 2021
- Access Restrictions
The 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 http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.
Valedictory speech at Tunkhannock High School. Letters received by Louis at Swarthmore College and his letters to family.
Letters to family with details of his freshman year at Swarthmore College
Includes a few letters from his family. Louis was elected editor of The Halcyon yearbook. Money problems but Professor Cunningham assured him he should continue. Football and fraternity were very important on campus
Letters mailed to Caroline from Swarthmore College and subsequently from Vosburg, Pennsylvania in Tuckhannock Township when he was home on the family farm for the summer. Louis was preparing for his junior year, and Caroline, who was in New Mexico, would enter Swarthmore College in the fall. He signs letters as "Your friend." Delta Upsilon fraternity banquet program with autographs of attenders.
Left in specific library books to be exchanged.
Left in library books to be exchanged.
Folded into into small messages
Increasingly affectionate letters from Louis who spent summers with family in Vosburg in Wyoming County in western Pennsylvania. Caroline was at home in Swarthmore
Louis was studying at Cornell, Fall 1905. Letters to his family and to Alice Hadley, Caroline's mother
With descriptions of Ithaca and Cornell
Left in library books to be exchanged. Includes some notes from Caroline's mother, Alice Hadley, to Louis
Caroline began studies at Swarthmore College. During the summer, she and her mother visited New Mexico.
Sent from Swarthmore, she signed as dear friend. Vacationed at Buck Hill Falls during the summer.
Caroline mentioned attending Young Friends, and she noted the differing opinions about peace between older members and the younger members. She and her mother transferred their certificates of membership to Swarthmore Monthly Meeting in October. Caeroline wrote that she was impressed by the business meeting and Unity Rule. Letter dated May 30, 1905, from Floretta Samuels, Hadley's cook in Swarthmore, from Antiqua.
Alice Paul, Swarthmore College Class of 1905. She wrote that she was going to New York City to study and work in a settlement house. She wrote "I went to a Women's Suffrage Meeting at Miss Susan Lippincott's at Riverton - it was the first time I had ever been to such thing."
Letters and notes from Louis Robinson, Caroline Hadley, Annie E. T. Robinson, and other, transcribed by Christine Erb with annotations and images.
Written from Ithaca to his parents. Typed letter from Robert C. Brooke, Swarthmore College, concerning Robinson's application for the Lippincott Fellowship which expressed pleasure that he had joined the Society of Friends
In June, Louis sailed to Germany via New York City. Loving letters to Caroline who was a student a Swarthmore College
Sent from Halle, Germany
Additional letters, Jan. to June, written from Cornell and Vosburg
Includes letters from Caroline's mother, Alice, with advice to Louis. She supported Caroline's continuing her education and not marrying too early..
Caroline vacationed at the Jersey shore and Pennsylvania mountains. In a letter to Louis, she commented that women should not have housekeeping as their whole existence, but should maintain an outside life.
Caroline began studies at Columbia University
Graduation photograph of Caroline. The issue of the local publication, The Swarthmorean, includes Caroline Hadley's graduation speech entitled "A Gift at the Hands of Men."
She commented that the longer letters were excerpted.
Caroline was studying at Columbia University
Caroline studying at Columbia University
Caroline was home in Swarthmore, and Louis visited. This was the first time Caroline and Louis were able to see each other in over a year. Includes comments on Alice Paul who was in Germany to study the language.
Includes local news including the rumor that Professor Hoadley was marrying Fannie Kilgore, Swarthmore College Class of 1903. Professor Brooks controversy
Creolinr commented on the debate on campus about accepting Jeanes Fund; she noted that Dean Bond was in favor of the limits it set on college athletics. Caroline's grandmother Lydia Betts Paxson was ill and dying in their home in Swarthmore.
Visited Paris, London, Berlin
Visited Swarthmore in the summer. The letters reflect their debate about announcing their engagement.
Working at Cornell
By Christine Erb with annotations and images.
Louis living in Ithaca, working on thesis. In February he proposed that Caroline's mother should live with them in Ithaca while he sought a job near Swarthmore.
Louis worked in the law library in New York City in April on his thesis, and he was offered a position to teach at Swarthmore College which solved their problem of where to live and what arrangements to make for Caroline's mother. Due to her profound deafness, they wanted to offer a comfortable social environment for her. Includes letter of congratulations on their marriage from Jesse Holmes. Louis and Caroline married on June 17, 1908. They went camping for two weeks for their honeymoon, and Caroline soon was pregnant.
Louis and Caroline debated about when to marry, much depending of Louis's employment. Caroline worried about her mother's deteriorating hearing and resulting dependency.
She described Swarthmore Meeting and the congratulations they received. Mention of Carrie Kilgore's complaint to Swarthmore Monthly Meeting about being slandered. She was the daughter of Damon and Caroline Burnham Kilgore and became a member of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting on request in 1904. Her sister married professor George Hoadley.
A frenzy of wedding preparations and a large reception. Note of congratulations June 30, 1908, from Jeannette Curtis, Berlin She wrote that as a freshman, she had found one of Caroline's books with Louis Robinson's name. It was explained to her by a senior "That's a Swarthmore case." She added that Dr. Trotter declaed that "Matches made in Swarthmore always turn out well." Caroline and Louis went camping for two weeks for their honeymoon, and Caroline soon was pregnant.
Birth announcement. Letter to her grandfather, Hiram Hadley, written at age 12. "Private Notebook," 1899-1903, record of her goals, gifts, dates, etc. With memorabilia and photographs
Anna Hadley was Caroline's father's sister and Caroline's first teacher in New Mexico. Includes a photocopy of Alice's letter to her aunt describing the death of her father from tuberculosis in Albuquerque.
From friends and relatives
First cousins, sons of Alice Paxson Hadley's sister, Anna Pickering Paxson. She married William J. Suplee (1852-1894), and they lived in New Mexico 1892-1894 until William's sudden death. Frederick, born 1883, married Sue Sheppard. Charles was born 1885 and married Anna Lightfoot in 1908.
High school and college (?) friend
Caroline's father's first cousin, Vice-President and Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College. He had visited Swarthmore previous summer and proposed they start a correspondence.
Wife of Charles Paxson and lived at 311 Cedar Lane, Swarthmore.
Includes some correspondence, news clippings, and manuscripts by Caroline Hadley Robinson.
Includes Walter Hadley, Caroline as a child (faded), Alice P. Hadley with granddaughters
Family of William B. Paxson (1849-1909) who married Lydia M. Shoemakers under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (H). "Will" was the older brother of Alice C. Paxson Hadley, Caroline Robinson's mother. Photos include Caroline with her first cousins: Ethel, Fred, Owen, Alice, Bess (Elizabeth), and Joe Hadley. They lived in Devon, Pennsylvania.
Charles Paxson (1855-1926) was married in 1897 to Alice Hall, daughter of Thomas Heston Hall and Lydia Harlan Cox Hall. Alice transferred her members from Birmingham Monthly Meeting to Swarthmore Swarthmore Monthly Meeting in 1893, and Charles transferred to Swarthmore in 1899. Alice's father, Thomas Hall, bought the Italianate house at 409 College Avenue which was adjacent to the Swarthmore College campus and constructed about 1880 by John Kent, an early developer of the Borough of Swarthmore. Charles and Alice Hall Paxson built an adjoining house, and their children were birthright members of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting. Alice Paxson Hadley and her brother Charles were very close, and after Alice was widowed at an early age, she purchased a house next-door to Charles and his family. Eleanor Paxson, daughter of Charles and Alice H. Paxson, married Walter Keighton, and the house remained in the family.
Family of Alice Paxson Hadley's sister, Anna Pickering Paxson (1852-1939). She married William J. Suplee (1852-1894), and they lived in New Mexico 1892-1894 until William's sudden death. Sons, Frederick, born 1883, married Sue Sheppard. Charles born 1885 married Anna Lightfoot in 1908.
Mahlon B. Paxson (1859-1921) was the youngest brother of Alice Paxson Hadley. He married Rebecca ("Bessie") and their daughters were Florence and Helen.
Includes group photographs taken at the southwest corner of 411 College Avenue of Caroline's friends. Also Paxson and Chambers families of Chester County.