Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

Summary Information

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Creator - col:
Palmer, Anna
Simpson, John, 1739-1811
Anna S. Palmer Collected Papers
Date [inclusive]:
circa 1840-1910
Physical Description:
.25 Linear Feet (1 box)
Language of the Material:
Family and Quaker papers collected by Anna S. Palmer (1881-1973), a member of Falls Monthly Meeting. Included is a manuscript volume containing copies of letters, genealogical information, and memorials concerning John Simpson (1739-1811), Quaker minister; collected postcards of Quaker meeting houses; and other miscellaneous Quaker manuscripts.

Preferred Citation

[Indicate the cited item or series here], Anna S. Palmer Collected Papers, RG 5/304, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

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Biographical / Historical

Anna S. Palmer, the daughter of David and Agnes (Simpson) Palmer, was a birthright member of Falls Monthly Meeting (Hicksite), born 2mo 21, 1881. Her parents served as directors of Friends Boarding Home, Newtown, Bucks County, and her mother (1842-1922) was an elder and clerk at Falls Monthly meeting. Anna graduated from the George School in 1899 and worked as a teacher. She died 9mo. 3, 1973.

Anna's mother, Agnes Simpson Palmer, was the daughter of John and Letitia Buckman Simpson, and she was a great-granddaughter of Quaker minister John Simpson. John Simpson was born in England 10 mo 23, 1739, and his parents, members of the Society of Friends, came to America when he was an infant. He married Ruth Whitson and circa 1764 was recognized as a minister. Ruth died in 1803, and he married second Ann Ingham. He traveled widely in the ministry throughout the United States, moving to Ohio in 1809. In 1810, he requested a certificate of transfer from Falls Monthly Meeting to West Branch, Ohio. A letter dated 1810, 9mo, 2, informs his son David that they are living in a cabin near West Branch Meeting and the lot he purchased.

In 1877, Mary Hadley, daughter of John Simpson's second wife, Ann Ingham, arranged publication of Memoirs and Letter of John Simpson. Mary I. Hadley was also a prominent Friend, active in Indiana Yearly Meeting. Many of the John Simpson letters and excerpts in the published Memoirs are to his daughter Hannah Shinn who had married Samuel Shinn in 1795. The letters in the manuscript volume by an unknown copyist are largely to Simpson's eldest son, David, who married Agnes Wiggins in 1795. David Simpson's son, John (1799-1878), married, Letitia Buckman (1882), the grandmother of Anna S. Palmer, the collector. All were active members of the Society of Friends.

Three of John and Letitia's children married members of the Satterthwaite family, and the youngest, Agnes (1842-1922), married David Palmer. The genealogical information in the manuscript volume includes entries for the descendants of Joseph Simpson, including Palmer, Simpson, Taylor, Shinn, and Satterthwaite branches. The last entry records the death of Mahlon Taylor in 1898.

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Scope and Contents

Family and Quaker papers collected by Anna S. Palmer (1881-1973), a member of Falls Monthly Meeting. Included is a manuscript volume containing copies of letters and memorials concerning John Simpson (1739-1811), Quaker minister. Also postcards of Quaker meeting houses collected by Anna S. Palmer and/or her mother, Agness Simpson Palmer; and other miscellaneous Quaker manuscripts. The manuscript volume complements an 1877 published selection of John Simpson's letters and memoirs compiled by his step-daughter, Mary Ingham Hadley.

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Arranged topically

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Administrative Information

Publication Statement

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

500 College Avenue Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081 URL:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Henry P. Palmer, Accession 2005.007

Processing Information

Staff determination to keep papers as a collection since they were assembled by a single person. They are arranged as received.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open to researchers

Custodial History

Henry P. Palmer, a descendent of John Simpson, acquired the papers after the death of Anna S. Palmer, his aunt. It was her wish that the papers be given to Swarthmore.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

RG5/111 Palmer Family Genealogical Manuscript and Deeds, 1722-1966 [bulk 1898] (formerly Palmer Family Papers)

Simpson, John. Memoirs and letters of John Simpson, a minister of the gospel in the Society of Friends : Printed for Mary Hadley, Philadelphia, 1877

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Lay ministry -- Society of Friends
  • Lay ministry -- Pennsylvania
  • Society of Friends -- Clergy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • Quakers -- Correspondence
  • Society of Friends -- clergy -- 18th century
  • Palmer family
  • Simpson family

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Undated copybook of John Simpson correspondence, 1773-1810, and related memorials, circa 1840-1898

Physical Description: 1 folders

Scope and Contents: Includes copies of letters to family members, memorials concerning John Simpson and others, and genealogical information on descendants of John Simpson

box 1
Published Memoirs and Letters of John Simpson, 1877

Scope and Contents: Printed for Mary Hadley. Hadley was the step-daughter of John Simpson, the daughter of his second wife, Ann Ingham. She removed with her mother and step-father to Ohio in 1809 and served as an elder of Springfield Monthly Meeting and clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting of Women Friends. The booklet is also cataloged in FHL book collection.

box 1
Copies of miscellaneous Quaker manuscripts, Undated, 19th century

Scope and Contents: Copy of Thomas Clarkson's account of his visit with the Emperor of Russia in 1815 and a copy of Joseph Hoag's Vision

box 1
Anna S. Palmer miscellaneous, circa 1869-1908

Scope and Contents: Wedding invitation for marriage of Mark Palmer and Rebecca Blackfan with carte-de-visite of Mark Palmer; invitation to wedding dinner after service at meeting house; "Quotations given in the morning at Langhorne Friends Institute, 1903-1904," by Anna S. Palmer. Mimeograph of descendants of John Palmer (1713-1746).

box 1
Scrapbook of postcards of Friends meeting houses, (circa 1905-1910)

Scope and Contents: Probably collected by Anna S. Palmer and/or her mother Agnes S. Palmer. Some have messages. Removed from acidic scrapbook and stored in acid-free envelope.

box 1
Postcards and photographs of Friends' meeting houses, (circa 1905-1910, undated)

Physical Description: 1 folders

Scope and Contents: Loose items, some may also have been represented in scrapbook.

box 1