An Inventory of the Sarah Hopper Palmer Papers, 1705-1883

(6 boxes; 3 linear ft.)

RG 5/115

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

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Sarah Hopper Palmer (1796-1885) was the eldest child of Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), noted Hicksite Quaker abolitionist and social reformer. The collection was apparently compiled as a basis for Lydia Maria Child's Life of Isaac T. Hopper, which was first published in 1853. The original manuscript of the published book is included in the collection. The collection contains material on the Palmer, Hunn and Jenkins families, family correspondence, legal and financial papers, and memorabilia. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Isaac T. Hopper which includes references to his work with Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Anti-slavery Society of New York, and the New York Prison Association.

Background note:
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL Sarah Hopper Palmer (1796-1885) was the eldest child of Isaac T. Hopper (1771-1852), noted Hicksite Quaker abolitionist and social reformer. The collection was apparently compiled as a basis for Lydia Maria Child's Life of Isaac T. Hopper, which was first published in 1853. The original manuscript of the published book is included in the collection.

1771-1787 Isaac Tatem Hopper was born 12/3/1771 on a farm in Woodbury, New Jersey. His grandfather had been a Quaker, but was disowned for marriage to a non-Quaker. His father, Levi Hopper, attended Meeting but never became a member. Rachel Tatem, his mother, was born a Presbyterian, but joined the Society of Friends twenty-four years after her marriage. Isaac was sent to Philadelphia at age 16 to learn tailoring from his mother's brother.
1793-1811, 1811-1820 On 9/18/1795 Isaac married his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Tatum, daughter of Quakers John and Sarah (Ward) Tatum) of Woodbury, NJ, he having joined Friends about two years earlier. Living in Philadelphia, Hopper soon became involved with the Pennsylvania Abolition Society as an active and leading member and became widely known as a friend and advisor to fugitives in emergencies. In the course of these experiences he gradually developed a strong interest in prisoners and those released from prison. He helped found a society for the employment of the poor, was an overseer of the Benezet school for colored children, taught in a free school for colored adults, was an unsalaried inspector of the prison, and was always on call to the poor or sick. He also had a large family to support, and with so many demands on his time gradually got into debt and was disowned for that reason by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District in 1811. He was eventually able to pay off his debts, and was reinstated in membership in 1820.
1822-1830 In 1822 his wife Sarah died, leaving nine children. In 1824 he married Hannah Attmore, daughter of a close friend. After the Separation of 1827, he was offered a job running a Hicksite bookstore in New York City, so the family moved there. In 1830 he made a trip to Ireland to settle some disputed claims his wife, Hannah, had on the estate of her maternal grandfather. There are several letters in the collection written from Ireland and England, some regarding the prejudice which had been stirred up against him by Orthodox Friends in America. Back in New York he became active in the New York Anti-Slavery Society and also very active in the New York Prison Association.
1841-1852 In 1841 Lydia Maria Child came to New York to edit the National Anti-Slavery Standard and lived with the Hopper family for some years. On 8/4/1841 Isaac T. Hopper and his son-in-law, James Sloan Gibbons, were disowned by the New York Monthly Meeting (Hicksite). The cause of the disownment was the publication in the National Anti-Slavery Standard on March 25, 1841, of an article entitled “A Rare Specimen of a Quaker Preacher”, written by Oliver Johnson, a non-Quaker. The article denounced the inflammatory preaching against Abolitionists done by George F. White, a minister at Rose Street Preparative Meeting. Both Hopper and Gibbons served on the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society which published the newspaper, and therefore were considered to approve the article, which was regarded as derogatory by New York Hicksite Friends. In addition, some New York Friends objected to Hicksite Friends working with Friends from the other branch of Quakerism, and with non-Friends. Hopper accepted the disownment with good grace and continued to attend meeting for worship until the end of his life.
1845 His labors on behalf of released prisoners were aided greatly by his daughter, Abby Gibbons. With the help of other women she established an asylum for these women, in which Hopper took a deep interest. This institution still exists, and is called the Women's Prison Association and Isaac T. Hopper Home, on Second Avenue in New York City. Descendants of Hopper still serve on the Board in 1978.
1852 Isaac T. Hopper died at Abby Gibbon's home on May 7, 1852, surrounded by all but two of his ten surviving children.
Scope and content
SCOPE AND CONTENT The collection contains material on the Palmer, Hunn and Jenkins families, family correspondence, legal and financial papers, and memorabilia. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Isaac T. Hopper which includes references to his work with Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Anti-slavery Society of New York, and the New York Prison Association.

Organization The collection divided into eleven series, with five of the series containing correspondence grouped by the individual family member:

Added entries

  • Abolitionists
  • Genealogies
  • Gibbons family
  • Hopper family
  • New York Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Hicksite: 1828-1957: New York, N.Y.)
  • Palmer family
  • Prison reform -- Religious aspects -- Society of Friends
  • Quaker Abolitionists
  • Quakers -- New York (N.Y.)
  • Quakers -- Social life and customs
  • Society of Friends -- United States
Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880
  • Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
  • Palmer, Sarah Hopper, 1796-1885
Processed by: Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Date: ca. 1977
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, 1876-1896, n.d.

Includes material relating to the Hopper, Palmer, Gibbons, Hunn, and Jenkins families, alphabetically arranged.

Genalogical chart, Hopper-Palmer family Box 1

Journals, Sarah H. Palmer 1879, 1880 Box 1

Ledger - “Property of Halliday Jenkins.”
Contains pages of Hunn family genealogy copied from family Bible of Halliday Jenkins, 1828. Also the Jenkins family, of Rent Co., Delaware.
Box 1

Letters to Henry Palmer, mainly from Charles T. Palmer, a distant cousin, and Sarah M. Fell (cousin) 1876-1881 (19 letters) Box 1

Miscellaneous documents n.d.

Children of John Sotcher and Mary Loftus Box 1

Children of John Palmer and Christian Joses Box 1

Descendants of David Palmer and Tamar Twining Box 1

“Indexed Genealogy of Peter Troth Wright and Mary Seal Betta,” 1896 (in separate folder) Box 1

“Marriages on the Falls Monthly Meeting Records,” 14 p. (13-175) Box 1

“Record taken from the Bible of Sarah Tatum Hopper, wife of Isaac T. Hopper” (7 p.) Box 1

Notebooks, two dated 1880, 3 undated

“Genealogy of the Palmer Family” (24 p.) Box 1

“The History and Genealogy of the Palmer Family of Bucks, Co., Pa." (62 p.) Box 1

“Genealogy of the Palmer family of Bucks Co., Pa.” (66 p.) Box 1

“Genealogy of John Fell and Sarah Palmer,” 1880 (20 p.) Box 1

“Palmer Genealogy,” 1880 (27 p.) Box 1

“Gibbons Genealogy,”
Gift of James Morse Dunning (great-grandson of James S. and Abigail Hopper) Gibbons, 1977.
(bound ms. volume, 504 pp.) Box 1a

Ser. 2. Correspondence, Isaac T. Hopper, 1786-1852, and n.d.

112 letters, partially catalogued.
Most are letters from Isaac T Hopper to his eldest daughter, Sarah H. Palmer. A few are letters received from former convicts, whom he had helped on their release from prison. Also a report of the inquiry against ITM and his son-in-law, James S. Gibbons, and their subsequent disownments by New York M.M. in 1841.
1807-1852, n.d. Box 1a

Miscellaneous items, copies and incomplete fragments of letters n.d.

“Copy of a letter from a Clergyman in England to Patience Brayton,” Box 1a

Letter transcribed for Hopper by Sarah Tatum at age 15.
She later became his wife.
1786 2mo. Box 1a

“Memoirs and letters of Sarah Hopper, late wife of Isaac T. Hopper, of Philadelphia”
A brief biography of Sarah Hopper and a collection of her letters, copied by Isaac T. Hopper.
1793-1821 (23 pp.) Box 1a

Signatures, 17 fragments. 15 signatures of Hopper, cut from letters. 2 of Sarah T. Hopper. Box 1a

Ser. 3. Correspondence, Sarah Hopper Palmer and family, 1804-1883

Received and sent, about 180 letters. Mostly incoming correspondence from brothers, sisters, and children. 1804-1883

Jacob Waln, correspondence with Sarah H. Palmer
Waln was apparently a boarder with the Palmers and related to Jonathan Palmer, Sarah's husband.
1827, 1833, n.d. (about 26 letters) Box 2

Ser. 4. Correspondence, Sallie Tatem Palmer, 1839-1850, n.d.
Sallie was the daughter of Sarah H. and Jonathan Palmer.

Received and sent, About 150 letters. Mostly incoming, from siblings, cousins, and friends 1839-1850, and n.d. Box 3

Letters by Sallie's close friend, Martha Mott (“Pattie”), daughter of James and Lucretia Mott, while she was away at Kimberton College, a Chester Co., Pa., boarding school 1843 (5 letters, catalogued)

Ser. 5. Correspondence concerning William Gibbons, ca. 1855

5 sympathy letters, after his sudden death in 1855
He was the son of James S. and Abigail H. Gibbons, and was in the Sophomore Class at Harvard at the time of his death.
Box 3

6. Correspondence, Lydia Maria Child, 1852-1853

Letters concerning the publication of her book, Isaac T. Hopper: a true life.
Includes a ms. copy of the title page and preface.
1852-1853 (8 letters) Box 3

7. Manuscript, 1853

Isaac T. Hopper: a true life. Original manuscript draft of biography by Lydia Maria Child 1853 Box 3

8. Legal Papers, 1705-1865
These include 3 sets of deeds, and 2 small collections of miscellaneous legal papers. Papers of the Jenkins family are grouped separately from the Palmer family. Jenkins papers refer mainly to land in Delaware and Maryland; Palmer papers to land in Pennsylvania. Item level listing available in Library.

36 deeds and other legal papers from Hunn and Jenkins families of Delaware and Maryland
Catalog cards for each deed have been prepared.

1 paper deed and 14 parchment or vellum deeds
Preserved by Jonathan Palmer, conveyancer, and Henry Palmer, attorney.
1705-1858 Box 4

Miscellaneous Jenkins family, “Papers appertaining to title of small farm lot of Henry P. Prettyman, 10mo 1861.” Calculations, bonds, receipts. 1858, 1861 (9 items) Box 4

Miscellaneous Palmer family
Jonathan Palmer was a conveyancer, and Henry Palmer was an attorney. Includes a bond, 1853, real estate announcements, papers, surveyor's maps, judgment docket.
1812-1853, n.d. (9 items) Box 4

Ser. 9. Financial papers, 1772-1865, n.d.

2 sets of miscellaneous papers, and 1 set of account and check books
Chronologically filed within each set.
1772-1865. Box 4

Book: "Jonathan Palmer, 2nd mo 5th, 1810.” Box 4

Also includes folder containing cancelled checks, dated 1858-1864. Most checks involve Peter T. Wright & Co. as signer or casher.
n.d. Box 4

Miscellaneous papers, Edward Needles
Various accounting records, receipts, credit slips, calculations, etc., some relating to his estate after his death in 1799(?). Also includes a ms. poster advertising a public auction by William Harris, 1816.
1772-1816 (41 documents) Box 4

Miscellaneous papers. Peter T. Wright & Co
Mostly promissory notes, checks and receipts. Roughly chronological, but papers concerning certain individuals or prolonged transactions have been clipped together. These groups are filed by earliest date. Items of interest include papers relating to legal action against W.W. Clark for nonpayment, 1851-1853; dividend note from Mercantile Mutual Insurance, 1853; endorsements and recommendations of Wright's patent medicines, written by various customers, doctors and pharmacists; notice of a Deposit of a Print in the Copyright Office, 2/18/1854; Indenture, 2/25/1865, Peter T. Wright, Charles W. Wright, and James Palmer of Philadelphia, Pa., to Adolph Leidensticker and Henry J. Kappes, real estate in Marion County, Indiana.
ca. 1847-1865, and n.d. (78 documents)

Ser. 10. Miscellaneous writings and poetry, Palmer family, 1814-1857, n.d.

Writings, 1814-1857, n.d., arranged alphabetically. (25 pieces) Box 5

Misc. writings 1814-1857, and n.d. (5 items)

"Almanack,” anonymous. 1827 Box 5

“An Inaugural Essay,” by Peter T. Wright
“Submitted to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.”
1844 (Manuscript, 8p.) Box 5

"Journal of Trip from Camden, Del., to Princeton, KY,” Hunn Jenkins 1857 8mo. 7 ( 50p.) Box 5

“The Proprietors of the Friends Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Line of omnibuses,”
Humorous announcement of omnibus line run by Love Brothers. Probably a family joke.
n.d. Box 5

“Sarah Hopper,” penmanship notebook. 1814 5mo. 12 Box 5

Poetr, 1824-1842, n.d.
Many of the poems are undated, and unsigned, or signed with a pseudonym. Arranged alphabetically by title.
(20 poems) Box 5

“An Epic Poem,” signed “Cousin Joshua Coffin.” Box 5

“Epitaph,” signed “Caprice for HP by her sister A.” Box 5

“For the Tribune,” signed A.W.H. 10/20/1852 Box 5

“[Frail gift go to the gay...]” Box 5

“[I know thou hast gone to the house of thy rest.]” Box 5

“Ideal Love” 2/9/1848 Box 5

“Introduction to the Address to the Clarkson Reading Association,” signed Ben. M. Hollinshead. 3/3/1842 Box 5

“It is an agreeable business...” Box 5

“The last leaf”, “The September Gale.” Box 5

“Lines addressed to a friend...,” by E.W. Box 5

“Lines composed by Joshua Coffin for Frances & Sarah Tatem Palmer,” 12/31/1834 Box 5

“[May I my gen'rous friend...]” signed Edwin Box 5

“The Morning Glory,” by Maria Lowell Box 5

“My Birth Day,” by Thomas Moore Box 5

“The Offspring of Mercy,” Sarah Hopper Box 5

“On Seeing my Infant Niece Carolina H --- unusually playful,” signed Henry Box 5

“On the death of Richard Brinsley Sheridan,” by Moore Box 5

“Ten Years Ago,” By A. A. Watts Box 5

“The Withered Violets” Box 5

“[Written on hearing that much curiosity was excited]”, signed Ironicas. 1824 7mo. Box 5

Ser. 11. Memorabilia, 1775-1860, and n.d.
15 items. This series includes a number of portraits of different men, including Napoleon, apparently because it was said Isaac Hopper bore a resemblance to the French emperor. Items are undated, unless otherwise indicated.

3 numbered and signed shilling notes for the amounts of 1, 5 and 16 shillings. Printed in Penna. and Delaware.
dated 3/25/1775 and 1/1/1776 Box 5

Dance Program
"Ninth Social of `Les Miserables', at the residence of Miss Palmer.” Belonged to Rosalie H. Palmer, daughter of Charles and Harriet Palmer.
1/23/1868 Box 5

Envelope scrap/receipt. Addressed to Wm. Gibbons. Box 5

Log of the Yacht “Nettle”
"Nettle” was owned and raced by Louis D. Senat. Filed in separate folder.
1860-1861. Box 5

List of Life Contributors to the `Preston Retreat.' Signers include Joseph Parrish, Joseph Trotter, Eli K. Price and others. Box 5

Memoirs of Alice and Phebe Cary
By Abby Hopper Gibbons, reprinted from Pennsylvania Inquirer.
8/11/1871 (1 p.) Box 5

“N. Waln's address to the Grand Jury,” Text titled, and title signed, by Isaac T. Hopper. (3 pp.) Box 5

Petition from the 12 Inspectors of the Prisons
To Thomas Mifflin, Governor of Pennsylvania, in favor of Owen O'Hara, who was condemned to be hanged for murder.
12/20/1797 (ms. copy, 1 p.) Box 5

Picture of Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. “Presented to the patrons of the Philadelphia Inquirer on the occasion of his visit to Philadelphia, Dec. 4, 1871.” Box 5


Elias Hicks Box 5

Benjamin Lundy Box 5

Napoleon Box 5

John Howard Payne Box 5

Robert Penn Smith Box 5

Wallet. Writings on leather, no name apparent. n.d. Box 5

Ser. 12. Miscellaneous Reference, 1783-1868, and n.d.
11 items. Newspspers, pamphlets, tracts, etc. Listed chonologically.

New York Morning Post
"Exact facsimile” published by Christopher, Morse, and Skippen. Contains text of “George Washington's Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States.”
11/7/1783 Box 5

“To Our Fellow Citizens of the United States,”
A refutation of a certain announcement in the Democratic Press, a Philadelphia newspaper. Published by a “meeting appointed to represent our religious society in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the eastern parts of Maryland,” Jonathan Evans, Clerk.
10/21/1814 Box 5

National Gazette and Literary Register, Articles on the Revolution in France 9/29/1830 Box 5

Friends Miscellany, vol. V, “Biographical Memoirs of Nicholas Waln.” 1834 2mo. (144 pp.) Box 5

“Narrative of the Life of Thomas Cooper,” 4th ed. Published by Isaac T. Wopper, New York 1837. (35p, 3 copies) Box 5

“Memoir of Benjamin Lay” 1842 (35p.) Box 5

“An Excusion Among the Glaciers and the Ascent of Mont Blanc,” by a Philadelphian,
“Peter Wright” written across top of title page.
1867 (32 p.) Box 5

Cape May Daily Wave 8/15/1868 Box 5

“A New Society called the Self-Examining Society”
Tract including Constitution and By-laws of the Society. No names appear on the sheet.
n.d. Box 5