An Inventory of the Richard Tapper Cadbury Papers, 1799-1924

(6 boxes; 3 linear ft.)

RG 5/025

© Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.  
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399 U.S.A.  

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Richard Tapper Cadbury (1853-1929) was a Quaker businessman, teacher, writer, and art connoisseur. His mother's brother, Earl Shinn, Jr., (1838-1886) was a well-known art critic. The collection contains correspondence and memorabilia of the Cadbury, Comfort, Haines, and Shinn families. The letters give a detailed picture of life in Philadelphia Quaker families of the mid 19th century, and of the hardships of those who participated in the California gold rush.

Background note:
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE Richard Tapper Cadbury was born on October 11, 1853, in Philadelphia, the son of Richard and Lydia Shinn Cadbury. He graduated from Haverford College in 1868 and received an M.A. from Harvard in 1878. Cadbury was a teacher, writer, businessman, and art connoisseur; as a child, he was very much influenced by his uncle (his mother's brother), Earl Shinn, Jr., art critic for The Nation. Among his various employments were serving as superintendent for the Deaf and Dumb Institute of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and as a trust officer at Provident Life and Trust Company. He also lectured on art topics.

Richard Tapper Cadbury was married to Helen Nathans on August 28, 1884, and the couple lived in Haverford, PA, where Helen ran a school for small children. The couple had four children: Richard Cadbury (1885-1926) who donated the papers; Helen (1886-1974); Earl Shinn (1888-1970); and Leah Tapper (1892-). Richard Tapper Cadbury died October 29, 1929.

Scope and content
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF THE RECORDS The collection contains correspondence and memorabilia of the Cadbury, Comfort, Haines, and Shinn families. The correspondence provides a detailed picture of life in Philadelphia Quaker families of the mid 19th century, and of the hardships of those who participated in the California gold rush. Also includes the journal of Richard Tapper Cadbury while he was a student at Haverford College, and the correspondence of Cadbury's uncle, Earl Shinn Jr., who often used pseudonym “Edward Strahan” and was an art critic for the Nation with artists with well-known artists of his day.

Earl Shinn Jr. corresponded with the following artists: Thomas Eakins, Howard Roberts, William Chase, John Sartain, Carroll Backwith, B.C.Champney, and William T. Richards, Howard Nelmick, A.Quartley. Possible correspondents: R. Swain Gifford, Edward L. Scull, F.A.Bridgman, William Walton, R. Sturgis, P.F.Rothermel, G.W.H.Boughton, Henry Bacon, Jas. Hamilton, and R. Wylie.

Artists with whom Shinn was acquainted in the Tile Club (or otherwise) include: Hopkinson Smith, Abbey, Reinhart, Walter Paris, O'Donovan, Laffan, Baird, Harry Bispham, Weber, Winslow Homer, Kenyon Cox, Roger Haydock, S.J.Ferris, John Yaber, Bradford, Heaton, T.B.Read, D.R.Knight, Humphrey Moore, and George Wood.

Arrangement The collection is divided into three series:

Added entries

  • Cadbury Family.
  • California -- Gold discoveries
  • Comfort family.
  • Haines family.
  • Philadelphia -- Social life and customs
  • Quakers - art criticism
  • Quakers -- Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Quakers -- Social life and customs
  • Shinn family.
Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Cadbury, Richard Tapper, 1853-1929
  • Champney, Benjamin, 1817-1907.
  • Chase, William Merritt, 1848-1916.
  • Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916.
  • Haverford College
  • Richards, William Trost, 1833-1905.
  • Sartain, John, 1808-1897.
  • Shinn, Earl, 1838-1886.
Processed by: Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Date: Before 1967
Restrictions: Use Restrictions Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.
Sponsor: Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries


List of writings by Richard Tapper Cadbury, NOT part of the collection.


“An Attempt to Reconcile Spencer with Kant, in their Ultimate Principles of Knowledge.”

“The Greek Comedy in Philadelphia.”

“The Influence of Gymnastics on Greek Art.”

“The Quaker Dialect.”

“Was Seneca's Moral Character in Harmony with his Ethical Philosophy?”

Most of his plays are unittitled.


“The Bronze Vase.”

“Divine Discontent.”

“Finger Marks.”

“Time's Call.”

Untitled poem.


“The Burnt Down Mill.”

“Count Esherhazy on Trial.”

“Does the Mind Ever Sleep?”

“The Elf Man.”

“The Fight in Charlie Allan.”

“The Football Season of 1912.”


“Homo Omnium Mensura.”

“How Far?”

“How Two Little Girls Were Seven.”

“How Debby Was Seven.”


“Lincoln Enfabled.”

“Mag and Sal in Their Leathers.”

“The Magic coat.”

“My Paruvian Jar.”

“Near Dead.”

“Pasty's Ghost.”

“The Quack Doctor: A Movie.”

“Shorty's Latest.”

“Time and Space.”

“Washington Enfabled.”

Untitled Stories.


Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below:

Ser. 1. Genealogical and biographical material, 1799-1869, n.d.

Genealogical chart of Richard Tapper Cadbury's ancestors
Includes members of Comfort and Shinn families.
Box 1

Diary of Richard T. Cadbury while attending Haverford College 1869 Box 1

Notebook record of “Dutch, Irish, & English People I Have Known,” kept by Richard Cadbury, Jr.
Includes address book, including some while at Woodbrooke, about 906
Box 1

Marriage certificate of David Comfort & Beulah Walton, great-grandparents of Richard T. Cadbury
See marriage certificate files, F.H.L.
3-13-1799 (photostat copy) Box 1

Deed of property for Byberry Friends' Meeting House, signed by David Comfort
David Comfort was the maternal great-grandfather of Richard T. Cadbury. See file of deeds, F.H.L.
1834 Box 1

Clipping from the Glasgow Gazette, “Valedictory to the Law Class of Glasgow,” by S. W. Comfort, of Glasgow, Ky. Box 1

Disownment of Rebecca Shinn 1-30-1828 Box 1

Circular regarding taking over of drug store at N.E. corner of Broad & Spruce Sts. Phila., by Thos. H. Montgomery & Samuel Earl Shinn, the latter an uncle of Richard T. Cadbury. Box 1

Miscellaneous memorabilia of Richard T. Cadbury Box 1

Ser. 2. Manuscripts, 1858-1923, n.d.

Description of Abington Friends Meeting House, author unknown.
Written from the viewpoint of a child.
Box 1

Descriptions of Friends' Select School, Haverford Grammar School Westtown Boarding School, by Earl S. Cadbury
Earl was presumably son of Richard T. Cadbury, lived 1888-1970.
Box 1

Lecture notes on art, including lecture on Leonardo da Vinci, author unknown, probably E. Shinn (2 folders) Box 1

Miscellaneous essays, plays poems, stories
Includes “An Attempt to Reconcile Spencer with Kant,” & “The Greek Comedy in Philadelphia”, presumably by Richard Tapper Cadbury.
Box 1-2

Miscellaneous “essays” by various young people
Includes binder entitled The Young Essayists, in which some of the compositions are dated 1858. Also, “Not Luck, but Work”, by Helen V. Nathans, who later became the wife of Richard T. Cadbury.
1858, other dates Box 2

Nero, A Tragedy, by Richard Tapper Cadbury
Pub. Phila. under pseud. “Richard Comfort.” See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18N4
1880 Box 2

Illustration for Nero, drawn by Earl Shinn, Jr., uncle of Richard T. Cadbury (2 copies) Box 2

Writ, By Richard Tapper Cadbury
Pub. Haverford. See printed copy in F.H.L. BX7617.C18W9
1923 Box 2

Ser. 3. Correspondence, 1818-1924, n.d.
Folders arranged alphabetically by individual, chronologically within each folder

Cadbury, Richard Tapper, rec'd & sent 1880-1924, n.d. Box 3

Cadbury, Richard, & wife, Lydia Shinn Cadbury, parents of Richard Tapper Cadbury, rec'd & sent 1858-1876 (?), n.d. Box 3

Comfort, Charles, sent 1838-1865, n.d. Box 3

Comfort, David, & wife, Beulah Walton Comfort, parents of other Comforts in this series, rec'd & sent 1818-1840 Box 3

Comfort, Edmund, sent 1840-1887 Box 3

Comfort, James, sent
Includes lines on his death by shipwreck, 2-13-1835, written by a brother.
1826-1835, n.d. Box 3

Comfort, Lydia, rec'd & sent 1820-1865, n.d. Box 3

Comfort, Martha (Patty) sent 1840-1885 Box 3

[Comfort, Richard] rec'd from H.W. Longfellow 1880 9mo 28 Box 4

Comfort, Stephen, sent 1829-1857 Box 4

Comfort, Thornton, wife, Joanna, sent 1827-1880, n.d. Box 4

Comfort, William, sent 1828-1845, n.d. Box 4

Haines, Elizabeth Shinn, & husband Henry Haines, sent
Includes correspondence by Hillborn, Fanny, “adopted daughter” of Elizabeth Haines, sent, 1878-1882, n.d.
1843-1881, n.d. Box 4

Neall, Hannah Lloyd, (Mrs.James), to Earl Shinn, Jr, sent 1857-1869, n.d. Box 4

Shinn, Earl Sr., & wife Sarah Comfort Shinn, parents of other Shinns in this series, rec'd & sent 1823-1863 Box 5

Shinn, Earl, Jr., sent
All of Earl Shinn Jr.'s correspondence is available on microfilm.
1853-1886, n.d.

Shinn, Earl, Jr., letters, rec'd & sent, of special interest re: art and artists (With photocopies)

Article about Thomas Eakins, publishing two letters from this collection. By Gerald M. Ackermen. Box 5

Shinn, Earl, Jr., rec'd 1855-1886, n.d. Box 5

Shinn, James Thornton, sent 1866-1867, n.d. Box 6

Shinn, Rebecca, sent 1866-1878, n.d. Box 6

Shipley, Anna Shinn husband, Samuel R. Shipley, sent 1850-1887, n.d. Box 6

Miscellaneous 1817-1885, n.d.