For information about Web accessibility, please contact the Webmaster at

Haverford College
Quaker and Special Collections
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee Records, ca. 1745-1983

AA1 through AB42 (ca. 42 linear ft.)

Table of contents

Historical background

The Indian Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYMIC) began in 1795 and continues at the present time.

Previous to this, Philadelphia area Friends formed the "Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures." The "Friendly Association" grew out of the violence of the French-Indian War of the mid-1700s and was active as a formal organization from ca. 1756-1764.

Work of the Indian Committee included teaching Indians and their children, monitoring legislation affecting Native Americans and helping them combat frauds and abuses. The committee worked primarily with the Seneca on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations in New York and with the Cornplanter Indians in Pennsylvania.

Work was centered at Quaker Bridge ("Tunesassa"), N.Y. where Friends established a boarding school in 1852 adjacent to the Allegany Reservation. Friends Indian School operated as a boarding school for Native Americans until 1938. The completion of the Kinzua Dam (Allegheny Reservoir) led to the flooding of much of the Allegany Reservation and the evacuation of Seneca families. Philadelphia Friends were active in helping the Seneca fight the construction of Kinzua.

Major topics discussed in the records include Friends' 18th and 19th century visits to Indians at various locations (Oneida, Genesanguhta, Stockbridge, etc.), the settlement at Tunesassa and later boarding school (Friends Indian School), the Ogden Land Company, Buffalo Treaty fraud of 1838 and resulting land problems, Kansas land claims, leasing of Indian land, temperance, legislation impacting on Native Americans, the "Salamanca Commission" (Joseph Scattergood), the Kinzua Dam project (Allegheny Reservoir, N.Y.) and efforts to stop it, civil rights issues and the 1972 shooting by police of Leroy Shenandoah in Philadelphia.

(See: Samuel Parrish "Some chapters in the history of the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures" (Philadelphia : Friends Historical Association, 1877) [BX7644.PZ S6]; Rayner W. Kelsey "Friends and the Indians" (Philadelphia : The Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, 1917) [BX7644 K2 F9]; Lois Barton "A Quaker promise kept: Philadelphia Friends work with the Allegany Senecas 1795-1960" (Eugene, OR : Spencer Butte Press, c1990) [BX7644 .B293 Q2 1990])

Links to images

The following list brings together all of the image links found throughout this finding aid.

Scanned Image Page 1 of ALS, New Stockbridge, 6 mo. 19, 1798, of Hendrick Aupaumut, Stockbridge chief, to John Parrish and Henry Drinker of PYMIC. Aupaumut writes of his lengthy return trip home from Philadelphia, how he found his people and farm, financial matters regarding the building of a sawmill and gristmill and thanks them for accepting an appointment from the President and Secretary of War "according to my request." Page 2 (from AA41 - Correspondence, letters to PYMIC from the Stockbridge) (each approx. 127k)

Scanned Image Page 1 of ALS, Versailles, N.Y., Dec. 14, 1891, of Thomas Kennedy, President of the Seneca Nation, to George J. Scattergood, Philadelphia, inviting him and members of the Society of Friends to attend Seneca National Council and advise the Seneca on leasing their land in Salamanca and elsewhere. Also typed reply of Scattergood on reverse. Page 2 (from AA41 - Correspondence, letters to PYMIC from the Seneca) (each approx. 78k)

Scanned Image Page 1 (1st and 2nd year) of "Prescribed course of study, Friends' School for Indian children, Tunesassa, New York." n.d., Page 2 (3rd and 4th year) Page 3 (5th year) (from AA59 - Friends Indian School "Tunesassa") (each approx. 59k)

Scanned Image Front cover of "Tunesassa Echoes," Vol. 12, 6 mo. 9, 1899. "Tunesassa Echoes" was a handwritten production "Devoted to the interests of the General Improvement Society" of Friends Indian School, containing essays on temperance, school news, lists of members, etc. Its motto "Temperance at all times; humanity to every living creature; and general elevation of morals." (from AA64 - Friends Indian School "Tunesassa") (78k)

Related collections

Other collections that contain material related to Quakers and Native Americans include: The Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs records, 1758-1929 (bulk 1892-1917), Ms. Coll. 1003; Enoch Hoag Indian letterbooks, 1870-1878, Ms. Coll. 1104; Enoch Hoag Indian papers, 1865-1883, Ms. Coll. 1034; Jonathan Richards papers, 1870-1881, Ms. Coll. 964; John Biddle Garrett papers, 1853-1961 (bulk 1863-1872), Ms. Coll. 903.


The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee is a standing committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (PYM). The PYM records which are on permanent loan to the repositories of Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges are available on microfilm for scholars use. The records may be consulted by any scholar but may not be reproduced without written permission of PYM Records Committee.

Arrangement and description of collection

The "AA" and "AB" numbers following each link refer to the records' vault location and should be included when requesting material from the collection.

"Friendly Association" (AA1 - AA5)
Five volumes of papers, 1745-1792, of "The Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures" include original accounts, deeds, addresses, journals, minutes, notes, reports, printed material, etc.; the papers are arranged in chronological order; all of these volumes have detailed typed indexes accompanying them.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee (AA6 - AB42)
The records of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee include minutes, financial papers, account books, correspondence, addresses, speeches, reports, journals, scrapbooks, legal, land and legislative related papers, maps, lists, transcripts, published items, photographs, film, video and other material as described below:
Minutes (AA6 -AA14)
Minutes of the Indian Committee in 8 volumes, 1795-1970, plus folders of loose minutes from 1795-2003.
Financial records (AA15 - AA40)
Financial records include: PYM accounts with its Treasurer, 1783-1808; PYM Indian Committee accounts, bills, receipts, etc. 1776-1929; "Subscriptions in aid of the Boarding School for Indian Children at Tunesassa" 1856; PYM Indian Committee Treasurer's financial correspondence with related accounts, bills, receipts, etc., 1853-1983; Treasurer's vouchers, 1892-1929; Canceled checks, 1894-1901, 1921-1928; Bank statements with canceled checks, 1920-1983; Treasurer's reports, 1809-2001 [incomplete]; Account books, 1787-1999, Budgets, 1989-1998.
Correspondence (AA41 - AA41.2)
Correspondence, 1791-2000, includes letters from Stockbridge, Creek, Delaware, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora and other Native American tribes and individuals (Cornplanter, etc.); letters from Friends at Tunesassa, etc.; letters from government officials in U.S. War Department, Interior Department; addresses to Indians from Friends, etc.
Correspondence is divided into two series: letters written by individual correspondents and Native American Nations and addressed primarily to the Indian Committee are arranged alphabetically by correspondent and chronologically within folders (AA41). Those letters written by the committee or members of the committee acting for the committee are arranged chronologically (AA41.1). Addresses from U.S. Presidents (AA41.2). In most cases, a note re contents of the letters is also included.
Reports and Conferences (AA42 - AA43)
Reports of PYM Indian Committee, 1793-1922; 1976-1980 (with gaps); 1988-2002, are reports to the Committee from subcommittees, from Friends who visited Indians and were reporting their findings to the Committee, from the Indian Committee to PYM, etc.
Conferences with the Indians, 1792-1865, include accounts of meetings held in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Legal, land and legislative papers (AA44)
Legal, land and legislative papers, 1795-1915, contain papers primarily related to the Seneca Indians of N.Y. and their land problems and are arranged chronologically. Topics discussed include: Buffalo Treaty fraud of 1838, Ogden Land Company, leasing of Indian land, Federal legislation affecting the Indians, Cornplanter heirs, etc.
Salamanca Commission (AA45)
"Salamanca Commission" (U.S. Commission to locate villages in the Allegany Indian Reservation, N.Y.) includes the papers, 1871-1877, of Joseph Scattergood, who was a member of the commission. The other two commissioners were John Manley of N.Y. and Henry Shanklin of Kansas. The diary of Joseph Scattergood, 1871-1875, gives a narrative account of the commission's work and his experiences serving on it.
Miscellaneous papers (AA46)
Miscellaneous papers of the Indian Committee includes maps, 1795-1837; lists of members of the Indian Committee, 1797-1978, etc.
Friends Indian School ("Tunesassa") (AA47 - AA68)
Friends Indian School ("Tunesassa") records, ca. 1828-1964 (photographs, reports, minutes, financial records, faculty lists, maps, student publications, film, video, etc.).
Friends Indian School (frequently referred to by Friends simply as "Tunesassa") was active as an Indian boarding school from 1852 to 1938. Records of the school include: "Records of Indian Children at Tunesassa B.S. Tunesassa, Cattaraugus Co., New York. 1888" volume with categories for name of child, age, date of admittance, date of re- admission, date of leaving, name of parents, residence, observations (some entries have Tribe noted); grade book, 1898-1938; guest book, 1888-1943; Old Scholars Association records, 1937-1938; faculty minutes, 1936-1937; application forms, 1933-1938; duties of various positions at the school (not dated); lists of faculty, 1914-1938; history of the school; property related papers, 1806-1935; "Society for General Improvement" records, 1876-1930, includes papers written by students; photographs, ca. 1900-1964; film, ca. 1920-30? and copy video.
Published materials (AA69)
Publications, 1795-1983, includes pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, reprints, etc., many of these are publications of PYM and other Friends organizations. Issues of The Friend, 1904-1905 (giving a review of committee's work 1795-1894).
Indian Aid Association of Philadelphia (AA70 - AA74)
Indian Aid Association (IAA) records, 1869-1923, include minute books, annual reports and misc. papers. IAA began in 1869 (coincident with President Grant's Peace Policy). It was not under the jurisdiction of PYM Indian Committee, but was an unofficial organization of Philadelphia Friends. The Association arose out of the isolation that PYM found itself in at that time and was a way for Philadelphia Friends to co-operate with the other Yearly Meetings in Indian work. The IAA sent delegates to the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs and financially supported the work at Skiatook School (later Hillside) that was administered by that organization.
Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs (AA75 - AA87)
Records of the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, 1869-1975 include minute books, annual reports, misc. reports, etc. This organization began in 1869 as a direct result of President Grant's Peace Policy, which gave control of the Indians located in the Central Superintendency (Kansas and the Indian Territory) to the Orthodox branch of the Society of Friends.
Also annual reports, 1921-1923, of the Board of Missions of the Five Years Meeting (AA88)
Journals (AA89 - AA91)
Journals includes those of John Peirce, 1798-1801; John Philips, 1806; and Joseph Scattergood, 1865, relating their visits to the Indians (Seneca, Oneida).
Papers of Joseph Elkinton (1794-1868) (AA92)
Papers of Joseph Elkinton include journals, letterbooks and some misc. papers. Joseph Elkinton (1794-1868) went to Tunesassa in 1816 where he learned the Seneca language and taught school for many years. In 1831 he and his family moved to Philadelphia.
Papers of Joseph S. Elkinton (1830-1905) (AB1 - AB10)
Papers (ca. 1789-1918) of Joseph Scotton Elkinton (1830-1905, son of Joseph Elkinton) include journals, correspondence, and many papers related to the Indians. He copied and compiled volumes of material on Indians including two volumes containing original correspondence of he and his father relating to the Seneca Indians, 1795-1879.
Scrapbooks (AB11 - AB23)
Thirteen scrapbooks, 1878-1902, of newspaper clippings related to the Indians throughout the United States, a clipping service was used.
"Indian Records" (AB24 - AB40)
There are 16 bound volumes of "Indian Records" as well as many unbound sheets. They contain handwritten copies of letters, speeches, addresses, extracts, treaties, reports, legislation, minutes, journals, etc. dating from 1502-1900, having to do with Indians and PYM Indian Committee. They apparently were created by Joseph S. Elkinton with the help of Rebecca Sears, his secretary [and include copies of his and his father's papers]. There are references to them in the minutes of the Indian Committee.
Books (AB41)
Books and oversize published items.
Robert R. and Edith R. Solenberger papers (AB42)
Papers of Robert R. Solenberger and his mother, Edith Reeves Solenberger include letters, notes, essays, reports, Indian related publications, etc. They include a report on the Allegany Indian Reservation written by Robert Solenberger along with his confidential field notes of interviews, 1942 (there are restrictions re using and publishing this material). The papers also include material on Tunesassa, correspondence (much of it Edith Reeves Solenberger's) with government officials and concerned persons related to Friends' and Senecas' efforts to halt the building of Kinzua Dam and issues of various Native American publications (Kinzua Planning Newsletter, 1962-1967; Rosebud Sioux Herald, 1964-1966, etc.).
Artifacts (AB43)

Named tribes/projects (AB44)

Akewesasne Freedom School projects (AB45)

Yearly Meetings, Quaker groups, etc. initiatives (AB46)


Contact Diana Franzusoff Peterson ( or 610-896-1284) for more information about this collection. Please include the manuscript collection number in your request.

Finding Aids Return to Finding Aids