BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE
Anna Margaret “Nan” Davis
Anna Margaret “Nan” Davis was the daughter of David H. Davis, a New York textile merchant, and Susan (Price) Davis. Her father's
sister, Elizabeth Ann, married the architect, William Eyre, and her mother's father, Ichabod Price, was a prominent New York
City hatter. Anna M. Davis was born on May 15, 1848, in Greenwich Village and graduated from New York Friends Seminary in
1864. In 1869, she married William Morris Jackson, who had been a teacher at that school, and they moved to Richmond, Indiana,
where Jackson was appointed Principal of Friends Academy. Seven years later they returned to New York City when William Jackson
decided to leave teaching as a career and joined his bother, Edwin Atlee Jackson, in partnership in the family business of
manufacturing fireplace accessories.
Anna Margaret Jackson was deeply involved in reform activities in New York City. She served as Chairman of the Women's Prison
Reform Committee and was involved with the Woman's Municipal League of the City of New York. She was on the Boards of the
Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City and of the Schofield Normal and Industrial School from before 1902 until her death
in 1920. Both she and her husband served as Delegates to the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 and to the World's
Peace Conference held in Cleveland. She was a Charter member of the Political Study Club of New York. She became involved
in the Young Friends Aid Association after her sister's death, was active in the Friends Temperance Union, and was on the
Peace Committee of New York Yearly Meeting. She attended the First Day School General Conference in Yarmouth, Ontario, in
1888, and from that time until her death continued to attend and work toward development and improvement of what became the
Friends General Conferences.
The bulk of her correspondence in this collection involves prison reform for women and includes letters from other prominent
female reformers as well as prison and municipal officials.
William M. Jackson
William M. Jackson (1937-1919) was the son of James M. and Mary Ann (King) Jackson of Philadelphia and later of Richland,
Pennsylvania. He served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College from 1887 until his death in 1906 and on the Board
of Schofield Normal and Industrial School from 1887 or 1888 until after 1892. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees
of Friends Seminary in New York.
Anna Morris Jackson Branson Theiss
Anna Morris Jackson, nicknamed “Pansy,” was born in New York City on Dec. 27, 1881, the youngest child of William Morris and
Anna Margaret Jackson. Although she was not a birthright Quaker because her mother did not join Friends until 1890, her name
was entered into the rolls of New York Monthly Meeting soon after her birth in 1882. She attended Friends Seminary, the Chappaqua
Mountain Institute, and then Swarthmore College for two years. At the latter she was a member of Pi Beta Phi, the Joseph Leidy
Scientific Society, and the Somerville Literary Society, but left in 1902 after a nervous breakdown. In 1909, she earned a
B.S. in Education from Columbia University. After graduation she went on to establish a domestic science Department in the
Mt. Vernon, New York, public schools and taught at Butler High School in New Jersey.
Anna Morris Jackson married Charles Fox Branson, the son of Lindley M. Branson and Anna Miller (Fox) of Cadiz, Ohio, at the
Friends Meeting house in New York City on 4mo 30 1910. Their daughter, Anna Florence, was born in Pittsburgh in 1913, and
son, Charles F. Jr., in Cleveland in 1916; the latter died within a month of his birth. The Bransons remained in Ohio and
Western Pennsylvania until the early 1920's; in 1922, Anna M. Branson was received on certificate from New York Monthly Meeting
(she never transferred her membership to Ohio) by Green Street Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia, and her husband was received
by Green Street from Short Creek Monthly Meeting in 1924. She attended Summer School at Pendle Hill in 1935. Some time in
the 1930's, Charles F. Branson moved to California where he died in 1945. The couple was divorced in 1939, and she remarried
Dr. Lewis E. Theiss, head of the Department of Journalism at Bucknell University, on June 9, 1939. She transferred her membership
from Green Street to Millville Monthly Meeting in 1944.
Anna Branson Theiss helped to organize the Inter-Racial Committee of Philadelphia and chaired it for three years. This bi-racial
group included Leslie Pinckney Hill, Hannah Clothier Hull, and other religious, educational, and civic leaders; its stated
purpose was to establish “contacts and [to] educat[e] each race in the viewpoint of the other.” At this time, Anna was Chairman
of the Division of Work Among Colored People for Friends General Conference (1922). Her activities within the Society of Friends
were extensive. In 1920, she attended the first All Friends Conference in London. She served as Chairman of the Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting Committee on the Interests of the Colored Race (1925-29) and was the first Chairman of the Intervisitation
Committee of the Fellowship Council of AFSC (1936-39?), working to accommodate visitors at the Second World Conference at
Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges in 1937. She also was Chairman of the Epistle Committee for several years and Assistant
Clerk of Ministry and Counsel of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. On a local level, Anna was the Clerk of Ministry and Council
for Green Street Monthly Meeting from 1925-28, and also worked as Secretary of the Monthly Meeting until her resignation in
1939. She served on the Executive Board of the Friends Historical Society when Francis Taylor was President and was a Trustee
of Schofield Normal and Industrial School for several years.
She remained deeply interested in the spiritual approach to life, and many of her writings reflect this concern. She was a
contributor to the Friends Intelligencer and served as one of its editors. In her early married life she lectured on domestic
science subjects for the State of Ohio, and after moving to Germantown gave talks to Quaker groups and Women's clubs.
She was President of the Alpha province of Pi Beta Phi, and later served as Vice President of the general fraternity as well
as treasurer of its settlement school fund. She was corresponding secretary of the New Century Club of Philadelphia, served
on the board of the local YWCA, was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was one of the founders of the
Lewisburg Chapter of the Daughters of American Colonists. She was also active in the affairs of the Lewisburg Civic Club.
Anna Florence Branson Boardman
Charles F. and Anna Branson's only daughter, Anna Florence, graduated from Friends Central School in 1931 and attended Swarthmore
College from 1931-1935. She graduated with an A.B. in June 1935, and married classmate, Myron Lewis Boardman in 1936 at Green
Street Monthly Meeting in Germantown. They had two children, Thomas and Jean. Myron worked for Prentice-Hall as an Editor.
Anna Florence and her husband spent the last years of their lives working for the Institute for Christian Living in Pawling,
New York, and were members of Housatonic (Connecticut) Meeting.
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF THE RECORDS
This collection consists primarily of the correspondence, journals, and memorabilia of Anna Margaret (Davis) Jackson (1848-1920)
and her daughter, Anna Morris (Jackson) Branson Theiss (1881-1960), Quaker activists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It also includes related materials of the Davis, Price, Jackson, and Fox families as well as some correspondence of William
M. Jackson and memorabilia of Anna Florence (Branson) Boardman, and Myron Lewis Boardman. There are significant materials
relating to prison reform, women's suffrage, peace, and equal rights for black Americans in New York City in the late 19th
century, Quaker activities throughout the period, the Schofield Normal and Industrial School in the late 19th century, and
Swarthmore College in the 1890's and 1930's. Correspondents include Mrs. Sarah J. Bird, Samuel J. Barrows, Kate Bond, Joel
Bean, Elizabeth Powell Bond, William W. Birdsall, Cornelia Bowen, George Gordon Bennett, Harriet Stanton Blaton, Antoinette
Blackwell, Ellen Collins, Susan J. Cunningham, Isaac Clothier, Anna J. Cooper, Grace H. Dodge, W.E.B. DuBois, Phebe A. Hanaford,
Cornelia Hancock, Josephine Shaw Lowell, Jacob A. Riis, Belle deRivera, Theodore Roosevelt (as New York Police Commissioner
and President), Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Schofield, Fanny G. Villard, Stephen Samuel Wise, Booker T. Washington, Rosalie
Loew Whitney, and Alice L. Woodbridge.
The collection is divided into four series:
Genealogical and biographical materials
Anna Margaret (Davis) Jackson
Anna Morris (Jackson) Branson Theiss
Anna Florence (Branson) Boardman
Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below: