An Inventory of the Coffin Family Papers, 1797-1932

(6 boxes; 3 linear ft.)

RG 5/029

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

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
The Coffin family were Quakers of Wayne County, Indiana. Elijah Coffin was born in 1793 in Guilford County, N.C., the son of Bethuel and Hannah Dicks Coffin. His son and daughter-in-law, Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin were active in the peace movement, prison reform, reform of the treatment of the insane, and the temperance movement. Father and son both served as Clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting. The collection contains family correspondence, journals, business papers, and miscellaneous writings. Includes documents and letters pertaining to Charles F., Rhoda M., and Elijah Coffin's prison reform activities and articles concerning the treatment of the insane, Indian rights, and temperance. Also incldues manuscripts having to do with Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends and the Cincinnati Book Association of Friends.

Background note:
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE Elijah Coffin was born in 1793 in Guilford County, N.C., the son of Bethuel and Hannah Dicks Coffin. He married Naomi Hiatt in 1820, and the family moved to Milton, Indiana, in 1824. Elijah worked as a banker, and the family moved for a short time to Cincinnati and then to Richmond, Indiana. Benjamin and Elizabeth Hiatt, Naomi's parents, also migrated to Indiana at the same time, together with Naomi's brother, Mordecai, and his family. Charles F. Coffin, the son of Elijah, was born in 1823 and married Rhoda Moorman Johnson in 1847; he was employed as a banker. Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin were active in the peace movement, prison reform, reform of the treatment of the insane, and the temperance movement. He succeeded his father as Clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting from 1857 to 1884. Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin's youngest son, Percival Brooks Coffin, also a banker and active in Quaker and philanthropic causes, was born in 1865. He married Lucy V. Baxter and was one of the original members of the 57th Street Meeting in Chicago.

Scope and content
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF THE RECORDS The collection contains family correspondence (1828-1913), journals of Elijah Coffin (1842), Benajah Coffin (1826), and Percival Brooks Coffin (1883-1920), business papers of Elijah Coffin and Charles F. Coffin, and miscellaneous writings. Includes documents and letters pertaining to Charles F., Rhoda M., and Elijah Coffin's prison reform activities and articles concerning the treatment of the insane, Indian rights, and temperance. Also manuscripts having to do with Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends and the Cincinnati Book Association of Friends. Correspondents include Elijah Coffin, Rhoda M. Coffin, Mordecai Hiatt, and Rufus Jones.

Arrangement The collection is divided into nine series:

Added entries

  • Indians of North America
  • Mental illness -- Treatment -- History
  • Prison reformers
  • Quakers -- Indiana
  • Quakers -- North Carolina
  • Social reformers
  • Temperance
  • Wayne County (Ind.)
Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Cincinnati Book Association of Friends
  • Coffin, Charles F. (Charles Fisher), 1823-1916
  • Coffin, Elijah, 1798-1862
  • Coffin, Percival Brooks, 1865-1935
  • Coffin, Rhoda M., (Rhoda Moorman), 1826-1909
  • Hiatt, Benajah, 1773-1847
  • Hiatt, Mordecai, 1799-1873
  • Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Jones, Rufus Matthew, 1863-1948
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


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

Ser. 1. Biographical and genealogical material, 1797-1920, n.d.

Account of members of the immediate family of Rhoda M. and Charles F. Coffin, children, daughter-in law, grandchildren, written by Rhoda M. Coffin Box 1

“Brief History of the First Coffins,” and other material on the same subject. Box 1

“Chateau of Courtiton, Portledge...”, etc.
Early homes of Coffin (Coffyn) family in France and England, with some account of members of the family.
Box 1

Coffin coats-of arms Box 1

Brief history of early New England Coffins (Coffyn) Box 1

Genealogical data on Rhoda M. Coffin's family-- Faulkner, Johnson, Arnett. Box 1

Hiatt genealogy.
Attached is “A Long Record of Personal Friendship,” between Hiatt and Coffin families.
Box 1

“Narrative of the settlement of Thomas and Hannah Symons in Wayne County, Indiana in the year 1811,” by Hannah Symons.
Written 10-31-1860 for her brother Elijah Coffin.
10-31-1860 Box 1

Correspondence regarding, and a list of, Elijah Coffin papers deposited with Henry County Historical Museum, New Castle, Indiana Box 1

Elijah Coffin's will and letters of administration 10-22-1860 (copies) Box 1

Journals, 1826-1920:

Elijah Coffin(?) "Mem. Book of Trip East" 1844 Box 1

Percival Brooks Coffin, diaries
See boxes 1a, 1b, 1c.
1883-1920 (22 diaries) Box 1

Benajah Hiatt, Diary of a trip to Carolina 1826 Box 1

Marriage certificates, 1797-1847:
Chronologically arranged. See also marriage certificates in chart case.

Benajah Hiatt and Elisabeth White
Parents of Naomi, wife of Elijah Coffin.
3-8-1797 Box 1

John Johnson and Judith Faulkner
Parents of Rhoda M., wife of Chas. F. Coffin
5-22-1816 (also, negative copy) Box 1

Mordecai Hiatt and Rhoda Dicks
Mordecai was closely associated with Elijah Coffin and brother of Naomi, Elijah's wife.
9-29-1819 Box 1

Elijah Coffin and Naomi Hiatt
Parents of Charles F. Coffin
2-20-1820. Box 1

Charles F. (Fisher) Coffin and Rhoda M. (Moorman) Box 1

Johnson 3-25-1847 (negative copy) Box 1

Samuel Fletcher and Elizabeth D. Hiatt 4-3-1840 Box 1

Memorials to Chas. F. Coffin
In The American Friend, cover picture and pp. 730-732.
1916 9mo 21 Box 1

Memorial of Rhoda M. Coffin 11-17-1909. Box 1

Ser. 2. Business papers, 1848-1901
Chronologically arranged.

Elijah Coffin, 1959-1866:

Notebook, income and expenditures Box 1

Statement of property owned, and income 1859-1862 Box 1

Estate executors papers: C.F. and Wm. H. Coffin.
Includes Inventory and Appraisal of personal property, 1862, and “List of Books presented by the heirs of the late Elijah Coffin, deceased, to the Library of Richmond Preparative Meeting of Friends, 6mo 20 1866.”
1862, 1866 Box 1

Charles F. Coffin, 1848-1901:

Account book 1848-1851 Box 1

Agreement and membership certificate in The Publishing Association of Friends 9-9-1901 Box 1

List of articles received from the children of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin, to be retained by them as part of a Memorial Library to the same. Box 1

Ser. 3. Correspondence, 1828-1913, n.d.

Correspondence by Elijah Coffin 1846-1862 (copies, 2 bound volumes)

Vol. 1 1846-1851; Box 1

Vol. 2 1851-1862 Box 1

Miscellaneous, by various authors
Authors include Elijah Coffin; Judith Johnson, mother of Rhoda M. Coffin; Rachel Arnett, aunt of Rhoda M. Coffin; Rhoda M. Coffin, Rufus Jones; Mordecai Hiatt, friend and brother-in-law of Elijah Coffin.
Box 1

Ser. 4. Documents and letters pertaining to Chas. F., Rhoda M., and Elijah Coffin's prison reform work, 1860-1888

Rhoda M. Coffin's certificate of membership in American Female Guardian Society June 1860 Box 1

Chas. F. Coffin's certificate of appointment as Commissioner of House of Refuge by Gov. Conrad Baker of Indiana. 7-16-1872 Box 1

Rhoda M. Coffin's 2 certificates of appointment as member of Board of Managers of the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls, signed by Gov. James D. Williams
Also signed by Gov. Albert G. Porter, 3-30-1881.
3-7-1877 Box 1

Letters of introduction and commendation for Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin by Indiana Governors
Letters particularly for their use on their trips abroad, as in cases of prison visitations.
Box 1

Permissions for Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin to visit various English prisons Box 1

Prisons and Criminal Treatment
Issued by the Howard Association, London.
1894 (ms.) Box 1

Ser. 5. Writings by members of Coffin family, 1848-1919, n.d.
Box 2
Arranged alphabetically by author, and alphabetically by subject under each author.

Charles F. Coffin, 1848-1853, n.d.:

“Memoir of Elijah Coffin by his son" Box 2

“Reflections and Aspirations” 1848-1853 Box 2

Percival Brooks Coffin: “Quaker Mantras”
Includes correspondence regarding the writing.
1-31-1919 (typewritten) Box 2

Rhoda M. Coffin:
Includes typewritten ms. of addresses and articles) Also includes 2 lists and portions of a letter, on letterhead of her son Percival Brooks Coffin, regarding publication of his mother's addresses

“Care and Treatment of the Insane" Box 2

“Children of the Street" Box 2

“Convict Labor Issue" Box 2

“General Grant's Indian Policy” Box 2

“Hospital for the Insane at Dunning" Box 2

“Journey Abroad" Box 2

“Nobody Cared for Me" Box 2

“The Organization of the Home Mission Association of Women Friends of Indiana Yearly Meeting" Box 2

“Prison Reform" Box 2

“Some Accounts of the origin and conduct of the Women's Prison and Girl's Reformatory at Indianapolis" Box 2

“Sufferings of the Friends of Virginia and North Carolina on account of their Peace Principles" Box 2

“Woman in Home for Friendless" Box 2

“The Women's Christian Temperance Union" Box 2

“Women's Prisons" Box 2

Printed writings by members of Coffin family:

Chas. F. Coffin, 1859-1909:

Address read at the Johnson Picnic near Richmond, Indiana 7-6-1859 Box 2

British and American Prisons
An address delivered before the National Prison Congress at Pittsburgh, Pa.
10-14-1891 Box 2

“Eastern Indiana Early Pioneers”
Article in New Castle, Ind. paper.
2-19-1909 Box 2

Extract from letter regarding semi-centennial an-universally of Iowa Yearly Meeting Box 2

Our Prison
An address delivered before the Indiana Social Science Association, at Indianapolis.
6-9-1880 Box 2

“When Clay Visited Richmond. And What He Said in 1842."
Published in The Henry County Tribune.
11-14-1907 Box 2

Elijah Coffin, 1855-1859, n.d.:

Concise Statement of the Christian Doctrines of the Society of Friends.
Prepared by Elijah Coffin, approved by the Meeting for Sufferings, in 1855. Published Richmond, Ind., by The Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends. No.32
ca. 1855 Box 2

Condensed extract from the Journal of Elijah Coffin 9-20-1858 Box 2

"The Mother's Catechism of Christian Doctrine and Practice..."
Published in Richmond, Ind., by Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends.
1859 Box 2

“Remarks by a Member of the Society of Friends on the Subject of War..." by E.C. [Elijah Coffin?] Box 2

Rhoda M. Coffin, 1885-1886, n.d.: Box 2

“Friends' Work Among the Indians”
Read at a meeting on the Indian missionary work, held at Friends' Meeting House, Chicago. Printed in Worker and Expositor, 8-6-1885.

Rise of Foreign Missions Amongst Friends Box 2

“Visit to Chicago” Box 2

Woman's Ministry, John Morris Co., Cgo. 1886 Box 2

“Women's Prisons”
Published in The Daily Inter Ocean.
10-19-1885 Box 2

Ser. 6. Printed material about members of Coffin family, 1898-1932
Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

Clipping, "A Story of the Past”
Clipping about group of 27 persons who left N. Car. for Ind. 53 years earlier. Among those still living was Chas. F. Coffin.
1898 Box 2

Clipping from The Chicago Daily Tribune, “Yoke Fellows 60 Years”
re: wedding anniversary of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin, including biographical information. “...President Grant appointed Mr. Coffin head of the Committee of Friends in America in charge of Indian affairs at the time when the care of Indian tribes was allotted to the different churches....”
3-26-1907 Box 2

Clipping from The American Friend, regarding 60th wedding anniversary of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin
Including biographical information. “...For six years a prayer meeting was held weekly in C.F. Coffin's house which resulted in establishing Richmond, Indiana Monthly Meeting of Friends....”
4-4-1907 Box 2

Several clippings of obituary notices and sketches of Rhoda M. Coffin's life and reform work 1909. Box 2

Notices and reviews of Rhoda M. Coffin, Her Reminiscence, Addresses, Papers and Ancestry, edited by Mary Coffin Johnson
Published by Grafton Press, N.Y. 1910. Includes The American Friend, 2-23-1911.
1910-1911 (4 notices) Box 2

“Women's Prisons”
Article by Helen Buckler in Good House-keeping referring to Rhoda M. Coffin's prison reform work
February 1931 Box 2

“Elijah and Naomi Coffin Scholarship Founded”
Article in The Earlhamite.
April 1932 Box 2

Ser. 7. Pictures, 1842-1908

Photographs of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin Box 2

Photographs of Elijah and Naomi Coffin Box 2

Snapshots of various members of the family
Includes snapshots of relatives, and of family residences in Richmond and vicinity, and in New Garden, N.C. area from which family migrated.
Box 2

Copies of portraits of early ancestors
Copies begin with Elizabeth, widow of Richard Coffin, born 1571.
Box 2

Miscellaneous photographs
Includes J.B. Braithwaite, Earl of Shaftesbury, Thos. Ellwood's residence, Jordan's Meeting House and graveyard, Joseph Sturge.
Box 2

Album Box 2

Album of photos of Percival Brooks Coffin 1908 Box 2

Album of photos of Rhoda M. Coffin at age 81 1906 Box 2

Photograph of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin and family, on their 60th anniversary Box 2

Ser. 8. Memorabilia, 1842-1883, n.d.

Rhoda M. Johnson's (later Coffin) cook book 5-4-1845 Box 3

Winnowed Hymns
N.Y. and Cgo., Biglow and Main. Name of Eli Johnson inside cover.
1873 Box 3

Notebook of Scripture passages selected by Chas. F. Coffin 1842 Box 3

“Clan-Coffyn” (Richmond branch) Christmas folder containing chart of relationship of three living generations, and birth and marriage dates. 1883 Box 3

Scarf made of bark of pineapple tree
Belonged to Priscilla White, given to E.D. Fletcher.
Box 3

Braided strands of hair of Elizabeth Dix Hiatt Box 3

Ser. 9. Reference material, 1820-1911, n.d

Having to do with the Society of Friends, 1820-1911, n.d.:
Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

Chronology of Indiana Yearly Meeting, and White Water Monthly Meeting of Friends
Includes a list of deaths.
1820-1855 Box 3

A Testimony of Miami Monthly Meeting of Friends, concerning Joseph Cloud
Richmond, Ind., Larsh, printer., 1832 Copy which belonged to Mordecai Hiatt.
1832 Box 3

“Book Concern” letter
Elijah Coffin was corespondent and agent of Committee of Book Agency.
10-7-1835. Box 3

A Catechism...Society of Friends, by John Kendall, N.Y., Cooledge 1837 Box 3

Circular Address to the Members of Indian Yearly concerning the distress existing in Ireland. 3-6-1847. Box 3

Memorial of Benajah Hiatt, by Elijah Coffin 1849 10mo Box 3

Accounts and correspondence regarding Cincinnati Book Association of Friends
Chas. F. Coffin was treasurer of Book Fund of Indiana Yearly Meeting during part of this period. Elijah Coffin's name is signed to several letters, and accounts appear to be in his handwriting.
1859-1860. Box 3

Report of the Deputation to North Carolina in regard to the Boarding School Debt
Signed by Elijah Coffin.
11-9-1860 Box 3

Rhoda M. Coffin's class book 1860, 1861 Box 3

Members of Richmond Preparative Meeting 1868 Box 3

List of Converts during the “Revival,” Fifth St. Friends Meeting 1869 Box 3

“Important suggestions and Facts for Christian" Box 3

"Professors: An Address on Temperance”, by Wm. Baxter.
Published by Central Book and Tract Committee of Friends, Richmond, Ind.
1876. Box 3

3 minutes to the Meetings of Friends constituting London Yearly Meeting, on behalf of Chas. F. and Rhoda M. Coffin. (copies) Box 3

Program of Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends, Richmond, Ind.
Contains picture of old Yearly Meeting House.
1904 Box 3

Annual Report of the Home Mission Committee for the Monthly and Local Meetings of Indiana Yearly Meeting 1911 Box 3

Invitation to Friends' Meeting House, Urbridge, to hear Charles and Rhoda Coffin n.d. Box 3

Clippings containing mention of members of the Society of Friends Box 3

Non-Quaker, 1814-1873, n.d.
Chronologically arranged as far as possible.

A Solemn Review of the Custom of Noah Worcester 1814 Box 3

Notes on Marion St. Sabbath School (non-denominational) begun in 1864
Includes list of scholars in R.M. Coffin's Infant Class.
Box 3

“Early History of Richmond, Indiana”
Prepared by “our venerable friend Jeremiah Cox, at the request of an Old Settlers Meeting..."
1860 (ms.) Box 3

"Extrait de la Notice sur l'Etablissement pour le Traitement des Alienations Mentales”, 1866 Box 3

“The Indiana Temperance Law” 1873 Box 3

“Speech Against Capital Punishment delivered in the Indiana Legislature...", by Wm. Baxter (Quaker) 3-10-1873 Box 3

Routes to the West (ms.) Box 3

Books, 1805-1972, n.d.:

An English Spelling Book by Lindley Murray
N.Y. Collins and Co. Used by Elijah Coffin.
1816 Box 3

Introduction to the English Lindley Murray
Published in Cincinnati by Morgan and Sanxay. Used by Elijah Coffin.
1833 Box 3

Select John Fry
Published in Stanford, Hull, 1805. Also includes History of Wayne County, Indiana, by Andrew W. Young, published in Cincinnati, Clarke and Co., printers, 1872. This mentions Elijah Coffin, p. 394, and has a portrait opposite. Used by Elijah Coffin.
1805, 1872