Biddle Family Papers, 1793-1951

(8 boxes; 4 linear ft.)

RG 5/ 177


©Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399  

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
This collection contains the papers of Philadelphia Quaker Owen Biddle (1737-1799), his son, Clement Biddle (1778-1856), and numerous descendants. Owen Biddle, a scientist and merchant, was a member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting and helped in the establishment of Westtown School (1799). Owen Biddle's papers, 1772-1793, (Series 1) include correspondence, and journals, some of which relate to his Revolutionary War activities. Three of his letterbooks, 1778-1779, have been microfilmed. The collection contains correspondence, journals, letterbooks, and account books, together with other manuscript material reflecting the social and cultural life and religious activities of a prominent Quaker family of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Papers of Lucy Biddle Lewis (1861-1941) are important for association with the women's suffrage movement and for early activities of the American Friends Service Committee. Other names represented in the collection are Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Clement Biddle, Clement Miller Biddle, William C. Biddle, Dorothy Biddle James, Henry Hollingsworth, Thomas Mifflin, Thomas Parke, Thomas Richardson, Lydia Biddle Rickman, and Ann Biddle Stirling.

Background note:
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL This collection contains the papers of Philadelphia Quaker Owen Biddle (1737-1799), his son, Clement Biddle (1778-1856), and numerous descendants in six generations. The Biddles, who aligned themselves with the Hicksites following the separation of Philadelphia Quakers in 1827, were active in various causes, including Quaker education, public health, and the peace movement. Clement M. Biddle (1838-1902), Clement Miller Biddle (1878-1959), and Lucy Biddle served on the Board of Managers at Swarthmore College. Additionally, Lucy Biddle was responsible for the gift that was the basis of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Lydia Biddle Rickman's notes on the family genealogy are included in the collection.

For more detailed information, see the collection summary (below).

Scope and content
SCOPE AND CONTENT The collection contains correspondence, journal, letterbooks, and account books, together with other manuscript material reflecting the social and cultural life and religious activities of a prominent Quaker family of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Owen Biddle (1737-1799) was assistant forage master for the army of the American Revolution and some of the papers relate to that work. Papers of Lucy Biddle Lewis (1861-1941) are important for association with the women's suffrage movement and for early activities of the American Friends Service Committee. Other names represented in the collection are Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Clement Biddle, Clement Miller Biddle, William C. Biddle, Dorothy Biddle James, Henry Hollingsworth, Thomas Mifflin, Thomas Parke, Thomas Richardson, Lydia Biddle Rickman, and Ann Biddle Stirling.

Item level checklist available in repository.

Arrangement
The collection is divided into five series:


Added entries

Subjects
  • Austria - Quakers
  • Biddle family
  • Charities -- Quakers
  • Delaware -- Quakers
  • Friends' Relief Mission
  • Pennsylvania -- Quakers
  • Quaker businesspeople
  • Quakers -- Delaware
  • Quakers -- Diaries -- 18th century
  • Quakers -- Pennsylvania
  • Quakers -- Social life and customs
  • Quakers -- Social Service
  • Reconstruction (1914-1939) -- Austria
  • Reconstruction (1914-1939) --France
  • Social Service -- Quakers
  • Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania
  • Society of Friends -- War relief and reconstruction.
  • Suffrage - Quakers
  • United States -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
  • United States-- History-- Revolution, 1775-1783
  • War relief --Quakers
  • Women and peace -- History
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Congress (1st: 1915: Hague, Netherlands)
Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Balch, Emily Greene, 1867-1961
  • Biddle, Clement M. (Clement Miller), 1876-1959
  • Biddle, Owen, 1737-1799
  • Biddle, William Canby, 1864-
  • Hollingsworth, H. (Henry), 1737-1803
  • James, Dorothy Biddle
  • Lewis, Lucy Biddle, b. 1861
  • Mifflin, Thomas, 1744-1800
  • Parke, Thomas, 1749-1835
  • Richardson, Thomas, 1816-1867
  • Rickman, Lydia Cooper Lewis, 1885-
  • Stirling, Anne Biddle, 1857-
  • Swarthmore College
  • Westtown School
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Woolman School (Swarthmore, Pa.)
Credits
Processed by: FHL staff
Date: 1988
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.

COLLECTION SUMMARY
1. Owen Biddle
1711-1887

Owen Biddle, a scientist and merchant, served as Deputy Forage Master General during the American Revolution. He became a member of the Free Quakers during the Revolutionary War, but in 1783 he was reinstated in Philadelphia Monthly Meeting and helped in the establishment of Westtown School (1799). Owen Biddle's papers, 1772-1793, (Series 1) include correspondence, and journals, some of which relate to his Revolutionary War activities. Three of his letterbooks, 1778-1779, have been microfilmed.


2. Clement Biddle (1778-1856), his wife Mary Canby Biddle, their children, relatives and friends
1792-1860

Clement Biddle (1778-1856), a sugar refiner in Philadelphia who was active in Quaker philanthropic work such as helping to establish Friends Asylum in Frankford in 1813 (now Friends Hospital), aligned with the Hicksites following the separation of Philadelphia Quakers in 1827. His papers (Series 2) contain mostly family correspondence, 1792-1860, of Clement Biddle, his wife, Mary Canby Biddle (1780-1849), their children, Martha C. Biddle (1811-1833), Robert Biddle (1814-1902), William Canby Biddle (1816-1887), Clement Biddle (1819-1895), Anne Biddle (1822-1901), relatives, and friends


3. Clement Biddle (1838-1902), and his son, William C. Biddle
1747-1929

Clement M. Biddle (1838-1902), grandson of Clement Biddle (1778-1856), was the son of William Canby Biddle, who founded with his brother Robert the R. and W. C. Biddle Company, a hardware firm in Philadelphia. Clement was involved in the hardware firm until 1873, when he became involved with the Centennial Exposition of 1876, serving on the Centennial Board of Finance. He had a special interest in Quaker education, serving on the Swarthmore College Board of Managers from 1874-1894 (his father also served on the Board), supporting Friends' Central School, participating in the Committee on Education of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite). His correspondence is in Series 3 along with papers relating to the Centennial Board of Finance. Also included in this series are papers of William C. Biddle (1864-1942), oldest son of Clement M. Biddle (1838-1902). William Biddle's papers pertain to war relief work in France with the American Friends Service Committee, 1918-1920, and to Quaker adult education at the Woolman School, 1928-1929.


4. Clement Miller Biddle (1876-1959)
1787-1921

Clement Miller Biddle (1876-1959) was the youngest son of Clement M. Biddle (1838-1902). Active in civic and philanthropic affairs in New York where he lived, Biddle was president of Biddle Manufacturing Company and served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College from 1927-1950. His papers (Series 4) include material on the Friends' Relief Mission in Vienna, 1920-1921, operated jointly by American and British Quakers. Biddle was involved in the child feeding program and other war relief efforts in Austria and Poland which were based at the Mission in Vienna. Also in the collection are an account book, 1835-1856, of Clement Biddle (1778-1856), and an account book, 1855-1871, of William Canby Biddle (1816-1887), other Biddle family papers, and papers of his wife, Grace Anna Brosius Biddle (b. 1877), which relate to her family and to her Swarthmore College Class (1897).


5. Lucy Biddle Lewis and her daughter, Lydia Lewis Rickman
1593-1951

Lucy Biddle Lewis (1861-1941) was the oldest child of Clement Biddle (1838-1902). A resident of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, she was active in Quaker postwar reliefwork and the peace movement, serving on the American Friends Service Committee, as National Chairman of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and for over thirty years, 1908-1941, on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College. Her papers in Series 5 are letters, mostly to her family, about the International Congresses of Women held in the Hague in 1915 and in Zurich in 1919 and war relief work. While a member of the Swarthmore College Board of Managers, Lewis in 1930 persuaded Jane Addams of Hull House to donate her papers relating to peace and social justice to Swarthmore College. With this gift the Swarthmore College Peace Collection was established. Other papers of Lucy Biddle Lewis can be found in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (see Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection). Also in this series are papers of Lydia Lewis Rickman, daughter of Lucy Biddle Lewis, pertaining to her trip to Russia, 1917-1918, with the American Friends Service Committee for war relief work there and papers she collected about the Biddle family's English ancestry, 1593-1711.




Inventory

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE RECORDS
Notes
Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below:

Item level checklist available in Library

Ser. 1. Papers of Owen Biddle, 1711-1887
Full inventory available in repository.


Correspondence 1772-1793 Box 1

Letterbooks of Owen Biddle 1771-1775 Box 2

Letterbooks of Owen Biddle [access is through microfilm] 1778-1779 Box Film MS-B5

Letterbooks of Owen Biddle 1779-1781 Box 2

Journals: Diaries of Owen Biddle 1779-1782 (6 vols.) Box 3

Family correspondence. Letters of the descendants of Owen Biddle 1822-1887, n.d. Box 3

Miscellaneous Biddle family papers 1711-1831 Box 3

Ser. 2. Papers of Clement Biddle (1778-856); wife, Mary Canby Biddle (1780-1849), and family and friends; 1792-1860
Approx. 1,000 letters and related papers, arranged alphabetically by author and/or recipient.


Biddle, Anna Miller (1823-1891), wife of Robert Biddle 1842, 1847, n.d. (3 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Anne (1801-1850) 7mo 1843 (2 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Anne (1822-1901), to Clement Biddle (1819- 1895) and others 1834-1892 (25 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1740-1814), letter to W. James Lapeire (1798) and other business papers 1788-1798 (5 items) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1778-1856), to Clement Biddle (1819- 1895) and others 1826-1851 (26 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1778-1856) to wife Mary Canby Biddle, 16 letters, Includes accounts of visits to New York and Ohio.
Includes accounts of visits to New York and Ohio.
1830-1833. (16 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1778-1856) to Clement Biddle (1819- 1895) and other family members 1826-1851 (26 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1778-1856) business and other papers 1809-1829 (5 items) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1778-1856) received by Clement Biddle 11mo 1835 undated (2 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Clement (1819-1895) to Clement Biddle (1778-1856) and other family members 1832-1850 (19 letters) Box 4

Biddle, John (1773-1815) to brother Clement Biddle (1778-1856) 1803-1809 (3 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Martha C. (1811-1833) to mother Mary Canby Biddle and other family members
Includes description life at Westtown School.
1826-1832 (32 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Mary Canby (1780-1849) to husband Clement Biddle (1778-1856) and others, mostly family 1829-1844 (35 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Owen (1737-1799) 10mo 10, 1789. n.d. (2 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Rachel (wife of William Canby Biddle), to family 1842-1854 (3 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Rebecca Owen 1792, 1794 (2 items) Box 4

Biddle, Robert (1814-1902) 8mo 17 1837, 8mo 21 1841 (2 letters) Box 4

Biddle, Robert (1814-1902) and other family members to Clement Biddle (1819- 1895) 1842-1892 (21 items) Box 4

Biddle, William C. (1816-1887) to Clement Biddle (1819- 1895) 1834-1870 and n.d. (9 letters) Box 4

Biddle, William Walton (1842-1900) to father Clement Biddle (1819-1895),
Letters and grade reports from Westtown school
1858-1859 (14 items) Box 4

Cadwallader, S.T. letter to sister 4mo 19 1857. Box 4

Canby, Frances (later Ferris) to mother Martha Canby and other family members 1798-1811 (6 letters) Box 4

Canby, Mary receipts and miscellaneous business papers 1810 (10 items) Box 4

Canby, Merrit 1806-1847 (3 letters) Box 4

Canby, William (1748-1830), letters sent
Includes an 1802 letter to John Dickinson and a copy of an 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson.
1802, 1813, n.d. (4 letters) Box 4

Comly, John (1773-1850) letter to Martha Biddle (1811-1833) 10mo 15 1831 Box 4

Ferris, Fanny Canby to sister Mary Canby Biddle (1780-1849) 1798- 1833. (146 letters.) Box 5

Field, Hannah and others to Mary Canby Biddle 1808-1849 (10 letters) Box 5

Ferris, Benjamin to Mary Canby Biddle and her father, William Canby 1804-1825 (22 items) Box 5

Garrigues, Mary R. to Mary Canby Biddle 1802-1808 (5 letters) Box 5

Gibbons, Mary to Mary Canby Biddle 1830-1834 (13 letters) Box 5

Hartshorne, Isabel, will 1792. Box 5

Kimber, Emmor, and others to Clement Biddle (1778-1856) 1828-1849 (9 letters) Box 5

Pugh, Sarah to Martha Biddle. 7mo 23 1832 Box 5

Ralston, Robert to Clement Biddle (1778-1856) 6mo 30 1804 (1 letter) Box 5

Smyth, Anna Canby and others to Mary Canby Biddle and others 1830-1844, undated (19 letters) Box 5

Stirling, William miscellaneous papers 1793-1828 (4 items) Box 5

Tatum, Anna Biddle to Clement Biddle (1778-1856), Mary Canby Biddle, and others 1802-1864 (44 letters) Box 5

Townsend, Ezra, to daughters Grace and Susanna Townsend at Westtown School 7mo 12, 1809 (1 letter) Box 5

Walton, James to Walton, Susan T. 2mo 2 1837 (1 letter) Box 5

Walton, Susan M. to Clement Biddle (1819-1895) and others 1842-1845. (8 letters) Box 5

Walton, Susan? to Susan Walton Cadwallader Biddle (1823-1892) 1mo 12 1848 (1 letter) Box 5

Walton, William to Clement Biddle (1819-1895) and wife Susan Townsend Biddle 1841-1843 (12 items) Box 5

Webb, Jane to Owen Biddle (1737-1799) 4 mo 28 1772 (1 letter) Box 5

Webb, William to Clement Biddle (1778-1856) 1805, 1815 (2 letters) Box 5

Williams, Hannah to Clement and Mary Biddle 1mo 28 1833 (1 letter) Box 5

Ser. 3. Clement Biddle (1838-1902) and his son, William C. Biddle (1864-1942); 1747-1929

Biddle, Clement M. (1838-1902) papers relating to the Centennial Board of Finance 1873-1890 Box 6

Biddle, William C., and others certificates of membership in organizations, receipts, and other documents 1800-1891 Box 6

Biddle, William C. papers relating to war relief work in France with the Friends Reconstruction Unit of the American Friends Service Committee 1918-1920 Box 6

Middleton Family papers 1747-1835 Box 6

Woolman School 1928-1929

Correspondence, mostly received by Clement Biddle
Full inventory available in repository
1882-1899, n.d. Box 6

Ser. 4. Clement Miller Biddle (1876-1959); 1787-1921
Includes family papers collected by him in addition to his personal papers.


Clement Biddle (1740-1814) Order received from F. Hopkinson to return sloop (Photocopy) April 3, 1787 Box 7

Clement Biddle (1778-1856) Account book 1835-1856 Box 7

Clement M. Biddle (1838-1902) Notification to C. M. Biddle of his liability for military duty 1862 Box 7

Clement M. Biddle (1876-1959) Papers pertaining to Quaker war relief
In Austria, fresh milk plan for Vienna. In Poland, forms for office use in European relief centers.
1920-1921 Box 7

Clement M. Biddle (1876-1959), Biddle family papers Box 7

Grace Anna Brosius Biddle (b. 1877), wife of Clement M. Biddle (1876-1959), family papers Box 7

Grace Anna Brosius Biddle (b. 1877), Swarthmore College Class of 1897 (removed to College Archives) Box 7

Ser. 5. Lucy Biddle Lewis (1861-1914) and her daughter, Lydia Lewis Rickman; 1593-1951.
Also includes Biddle family papers collected by Lydia Lewis Rickman. Papers are fully cataloged on cards in Repository.


Lucy Biddle Lewis (1861-1914), letters, mostly to her family
Includes letters pertaining to the International Congresses of Women held in the Hague in 1915 and Zurich in 1919. Also includes letters concerning her association with Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch and other women, and her efforts to support war relief work. See list in Repository.
1915-1922 (24 letters) Box 8

Biddle and related family papers, collected in England by Lydia Lewis Rickman. 1593-1711 n.d. (mostly photocopies) Box 8

Genealogical chart 1951 Box 8

Invitation to Clement M. Biddle from John Wels 187- Box 8

Lydia C. Lewis (later Rickman) passport to visit Russia 1917 Box 8

copy of marriage certificate, Lydia C. Lewis to Richard Rickman, Buzuluk, Soviet Union, March 19, 1918. Box 8

"Picture of Russian peasant life in the period August, 1916-Sept. 1918," by John and Lydia Rickman and other papers about Russia. Box 8