The Cope Evans Project

The Cope Evans Family

The Cope and Evans families were two prominent Quaker families in Philadelphia. They were influential in their roles as merchants and businessmen, philanthropists, and educators. Through their letters and other documents we can learn a great deal about how the Copes and Evanses lived through and thought about the political, economic, and cultural changes of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Refer to the Cope Evans Family Tree to learn more about individual members of the Cope and Evans families, and to see connections between family members.

The Collection

The Cope Evans Family Papers, 1683-2012 consists of 5008 digitized items including letters, certificates, photographs, friendship books, and account books as of June 2019. The physical collection spans 7.5 linear feet (18 boxes). The collection guide is a great resource for tracking down a particular item.

Letters by Mary Drinker Cope (1766-1825) to her children are full of affection as well as practical and spiritual advice. Thomas Pim Cope's letters include those to his sons on his business interests. The letters of Anna S. Cope (1822-1916) and Francis R. Cope (1821-1909) discuss home life and children, family and friends activities; many of Anna S. Cope's letters were written from family vacation spots in New England, where she often went to escape the hot summer months in Philadelphia. Letters of Francis R. Cope include letters written while in Virginia on Freedmen's Relief Association business after the Civil War (1861-1865) as well as letters related to estate sales in Washington D.C.

The letters of sisters Clementine, Carolina, and Annette Cope include many travel letters from Europe. Clementine Cope's letters also include those written while teaching at a Freedmen's Association School in Baltimore in 1865. There are a number of letters written by children; of particular interest are those written by brothers Henry, Francis, and William D. Cope while at Westtown Bording School in the early 1800s and letters of brothers Francis R. Cope (1812-1909) and Thomas P. Cope (1823-1900) while at Haverford College in the 1830s. Topics within the letters include business, Haverford College and education, national events such as the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and McKinley. A portion of the Cope Evans Family Papers have been digitized and are available online.

The Cope Evans Project: The inception of this site

The Cope Evans Project is a project by Haverford College Digital Scholarship which explores the items in the Cope Evans Family Papers Collection (1683-2012) curated by Haverford Special Collections. The papers include letters, financial documents, diaries, and shipping information. This project engages with the collection through prose and data visualization.

In the summer of 2014, three Haverford College students, Cormac Quinn Rada '17, Brandon Smith '16, and Andrew Kafker '17, conducted archival research in the Cope Evans Family Papers for their digital project titled “The Cope Evans Project: A History of Quaker Networks During the Industrial Age.” Exploring the argument and themes of Philip S. Benjamin’s influential work The Philadelphia Quakers in the Industrial Age, 1865-1920 (1978), the students documented the numerous social, cultural, economic, and political changes that the Cope family, a prominent Quaker family in Philadelphia, faced during a period of rapid industrialization and urbanization in America.

During Summer 2019, this site was created for the project by Aleena Maryam '21. Old student visualizations and essays were moved here. A new letters map was created and an essay about J. Morris Evans, the sole contributor to the collection, was added.