The Families

Francis Reeve Cope and Anna Stewardson Cope 60th Wedding Anniversary, December 1907.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, 1732-1911 consists of approximately 2,900 items including letters, certificates, photographs, friendship books, and account books. A full description of the collection is available here.

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.

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Family Tree

Explore this family dendogram, a horizontally-oriented family tree, to see the Copes' and Evanses' familial connections. This family tree encompasses thirteen generations of Quakers dating back to the late sixteenth century with the birth of John Cope. In this tree you can see how prominent Quaker families such as the Copes, Evans, and Drinkers are closely connected by marriage.

Important People

Thomas Pim Cope (1768-1854), was a prominent Quaker merchant who was actively involved in the economic and social development of Philadelphia. He was born in 1768 to Caleb and Mary Cope in Lancaster, PA. Thomas P. Cope married Mary Drinker in 1792 and they had seven children: Henry (1793-1865), Francis (1794-1816), Caroline (died in infancy), William (1798-1873), Caroline R. (1802-1873), Alfred (1806-1875), and Eleanor (1807-1847) (refer to the Cope Family Tree) (Evans, 144; G. Cope, 51).

Thomas P. Cope Sr. Cope Evans Family Papers. Tri-College Digital Library.

In late 1785 or early 1786, he arrived in Philadelphia from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania "to commence the acquisition of practical mercantile knowledge" (Chandler, 358). During his life, he served as a member of the Philadelphia City Council, Pennsylvania Legislature, and President of the Mercantile Library Company. Cope found financial success in his import-export business. His line of packet ships expanded networks between Philadelphia and Liverpool, England. Cope also provided financial support for one of the city’s major projects, the Pennsylvania Railroad. Cope identified as an Orthodox Quaker (Baltzell, 501, 440-441, Barbour and Frost, 187).

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