BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE
Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874) was a Hicksite Quaker who worked for the reunification of the Society of Friends in the 1860's
and 1870's. He wrote a number of religious tracts and published a book, A Persuasive To Unity, in 1874. This collection includes
materials which relate to his writing and to his other religious activities, particularly to the efforts regarding the distribution
of his book before and after his death.
Joseph Bancroft, a birthright Friend, was the son of John and Elizabeth Bancroft. Born in Manchester, England, he attended
the Ackworth School, and was apprenticed to his uncle, Jacob Bright, at the age of 14 years. In 1824 he emigrated to Wilmington,
Delaware, to join his family which had preceded him and were engaged in the manufacture of cloth.
Joseph Bancroft married Sarah, daughter of William and Sarah Poole in 1829. They had two sons, William Poole (1835-1928) and
Samuel Jr. (1840-1915), who became his partners in 1865, forming the firm of Joseph Bancroft & Sons, manufacturers of cotton
During the Separation of 1827-28, Joseph retained membership in the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends, but devoted
most of his efforts in the latter years of his life to effecting a reconciliation and reunion. After 1855 he became increasingly
involved in a group of Quakers, “Friends of Truth,” which met at Bethany Mission School House at 15th and Brandywine Streets
and elsewhere in Philadelphia, and signed his name as Clerk of “Some Friends Who Met in Philadelphia” after 1865. He also
wrote a number of religious tracts, and, in the last months of his life, published a book on this subject, A Persuasive to
Unity. Joseph Bancroft left a trust fund to secure the free circulation of this book among members of the Society of Friends
after his death. His son, William Poole, continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890.
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF THE RECORDS
This collection includes materials which relate to Joseph Bancroft's writing and other religious activities, particularly
to the efforts regarding the circulation of A Persuasive To Unity before and after his death. His son, William Poole Bancroft,
continued to promote its distribution until at least 1890.
The collection is divided into five series:
Biographical and genealogical
Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below: