ECU | Joyner Library | Special Collections | Digital Collections
ECU Digital Collections Banner

Fry Family Papers, 1837-1993

Manuscript Collection #1197

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Fry Family Papers
Creators: Fry, James Woods, 1862-1930
Fry, Mary Estelle Crawford
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: The largest portion (1911-1947) of this collection (1837-1993) contains correspondence, photographs, publications and ephemera related to the extensive charitable interests of Mary Estelle Crawford Fry, her husband James Woods Fry and son Gilbert Crawford Fry, all of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The charities include the Bethel Mission operating out of Hong Kong at the time of this correspondence (1938) due to war in China, the San Miao Orphanage in Saratsi (Suiyuan Province) of Northern China [later became part of Nei (Inner) Mongolia], the China International Famine Relief Commission, missions dealing with French and Belgian orphans of WWI, and the International Students’ House conducted by the Christian Assoc. of the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier correspondence (1837-1869), unrelated to the above mentioned charities, is mainly written between Mrs. Mary M. Crawford of Boston, MA, Mrs. Addie A. Stien of Norristown, PA, and Sower family members in Boston and Norristown. Also included are family photographs and family history information related to the Chitty, Stroup (Strup, Strupe, Strub), and Ruede families of Forsyth Co., NC.
Extent: 1.85 Cubic feet, 3 archival boxes and 2 oversize folders, consisting of correspondence, photographs, publications, ephemera and certificates

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

April 2, 2012, ca. 460 items, 1.75 cubic feet; The largest portion (1919-1940) of this collection (1837-1987) contains correspondence, photographs, publications and ephemera related to the extensive charitable interests of Mary Estelle Crawford Fry, her husband James Woods Fry and son Gilbert Crawford Fry, all of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bulk of this material concerns the Bethel Mission operating out of Hong Kong at the time of this correspondence (1938) due to war in China, the San Miao Orphanage in Saratsi (Suiyuan Province) of Northern China [later became part of Nei (Inner) Mongolia], the China International Famine Relief Commission, missions dealing with French and Belgian orphans of WWI, the International Students’ House conducted by the Christian Assoc. of the University of Pennsylvania, and correspondence with Dr. William Kelly, a medical missionary in China.

Earlier correspondence (1837-1869), unrelated to the above mentioned charities, is mainly written between Mrs. Mary M. Crawford of Boston, MA, Mrs. Addie A. Stien of Norristown, PA, and Sower family members in Boston and Norristown. Other Crawford family material is a school notebook belonging to Mary Estelle Crawford when she was attending Friends Central School in Philadelphia. Besides arithmetic lessons, songs and an order of exercises, there are also diary entries for September 1, 1882, to July 4, 1883.

Also included in the collection are family photographs, family history information related to the Chitty, Stroup (Strup, Strupe, Strub), and Ruede families of Forsyth Co., NC, papers related to the DAR and the Colonial Dames, certificates and a history of the Women’s Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Purchased from Ian Brabner with funds from the Elizabeth P. Crockford Missionary and Church Endowment Fund

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Fry Family Papers (#1197), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Acquisition Information

  • Purchase from Ian Brabner, Bookseller.

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

James Woods Fry was born on December 12, 1862, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the only child of Elizabeth Woods Blackwell and her first husband. Elizabeth was originally from Chapel Hill, NC, but had fled during the Civil War. An account of her departure can be read in her 1917 letter to Mrs. Charles W. Bain, cited below. James became a salesman and a spinner of worsted yarns, according to U.S. Census records. He may possibly have been affiliated with the firm of Fry & Pancoast of Philadelphia, PA. James passed away in 1930.

Mary Estelle Crawford was born in March 1864 in Pennsylvania, the only child of Matthew Hines Crawford and Mary Matilda. She married James Woods Fry in 1898. The couple had one child during their marriage, Gilbert Crawford Fry. Mary died in 1940.

Gilbert Crawford Fry was born on December 2, 1901 in Pennsylvania. He attended Haverford College between 1919 and 1923, and later became an investments broker. In 1929, he married Mary E. McKelvie at the Home Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC. The couple returned to live in Philadelphia, until Gilbert’s death in 1962. The Fry family was involved in many charities concerning China, WWI orphans in Belgium and France, and the International Students House at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1910s through the 1940s. They were also interested in their genealogical heritage, applying for membership in societies such as The Sons and The Daughters of the American Revolution, which is reflected in the collection.

Resources Ancestry.com. 1900, 1910, 1940 United States Federal Censuses [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004, 2006, 2012.

Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

Find A Grave. 2012. “James Woods Fry (1862-1930) – Find A Grave Memorial.” Accessed April 3, 2014. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=91488385.

Find A Grave. 2012. “Mary Estelle Crawford Fry (1864-1940) – Find A Grave Memorial.” Accessed April 3, 2014. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=91488410.

Find A Grave. 2012. “Gilbert Crawford Fry (1901-1962) – Find A Grave Memorial.” Accessed April 3, 2014. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=91488375.

Hollingsworth, Biff. 2008. “What is it that binds us to this place as to no other?” Southern Sources: Exploring the Southern Historical Collection, August 28. https://blogs.lib.unc.edu/shc/index.php/2008/08/28/what-is-it-that-binds-us-to-this-place-as-to-no-other/.

Mrs. Charles W. Bain Letter, #1327-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The Fry Family Papers includes three boxes and additional oversize materials of documents and photographs in connection with James Woods Fry, Mary Estelle Crawford Fry, and Gilbert Crawford Fry of Philadelphia, PA.

The first box is composed primarily of correspondence with associated photographs and other materials. It includes family letters between Mrs. Mary M. Crawford of Boston, MA, Mrs. Addie A. Stien of Norristown, PA, and Sower family members in Boston and Norristown. The correspondence displays the family’s extensive and international charitable interests, primarily through Christian church organizations. The family provided financial support for relief work in China through sponsorship of orphans in the San Miao Orphanage in Suratsi, Suiyuan Province, N. China, and missionaries with the Bethel Mission in Hong Kong. The orphanage correspondence primarily includes letters about or from two orphaned children, Hsing-seng-tsi and Ma-li-ia. They also sponsored orphans from WWI in Belgium and France. They were involved with the Christian Association of the University of Pennsylvania, providing financial support for their Building Fund Campaign and The International Students House.

The family’s correspondence is continued in the second box, which also includes family history and genealogical material. It includes correspondence from individuals in China and India who had been adopted by the Fry family. A portion of correspondence is to Gilbert C. Fry and his family from individuals in Belgium, Germany, and Holland. The majority of this correspondence is from the van Steenberghe family in Belgium, with whom Gilbert seems to be a friend of the father, Joseph van Steenberghe. The collection includes Mary’s applications to The Pennsylvania Society of the Colonial Dames of America and The Daughters of the American Revolution. These applications and the associated correspondence, as well as other materials, provide family history and genealogical information related to the Crawford, Darrah, Thompson, Stroup, Chitty, and Ruede families. The box also contains an abundance of CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Everywhere Inc.) Package Receipts, a school notebook belonging to Mary Estelle Crawford while attending Friends Central School in Philadelphia, and a book on the 1987 History of the Women's Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Many letters throughout the collection are in French or Chinese, with or without an accompanying translation.

The third box is comprised primarily of photographs, though some associated letters and other materials are included. The majority of the box is family photographs. Also included are photographs of sponsored orphans from WWI in Belgium and France, as well as the “adoption” papers of one girl. There are many photographs of the van Steenberghe family, in addition to photographs of the damage in Belgium during Joseph van Steenberghe’s time serving in WWI. Photos from Dr. William Kelly showing his work and travels in China are also included.

There are two folders of oversize materials. The first folder contains drawings and photographs, primarily panoramic photos of banquets attended by Mr. & Mrs. James Woods Fry. It also includes an etching of Rothenburg, Germany, a color Japanese ukiyo-e print by Hiroshige Ando, and the artwork and printed proof for the Fry family’s 1928 Christmas card. The second folder contains membership and graduation certificates for James Woods Fry and Mary Estelle Crawford Fry, as well as a map displaying areas of work done in China (1920-1932) by the China International Famine Relief Commission.

Preliminary Inventory Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

  • Box 2#1197.2
    Correspondence, Genealogical Material, Miscellaneous Items
    • Folder a#1197.2.a
      Correspondence written to Mrs. James W. Fry (Mary Estelle Crawford Fry) from China and India. 2 photographs are attached to the correspondence. 1930-1938. 11 items.
    • Folder b#1197.2.b
      Map representing work done in China (1920-1932) by the China International Famine Relief Commission. 1932. 2 items.
    • Folder c#1197.2.c
      Correspondence to Gilbert C. Fry, wife Mary and their daughter Eleanore mostly from the Steenberghe family in Belgium, but also correspondents in Germany and Holland. Some letters also relate to the International Students' House at the University of Pennsylvania. 4 photographs are attached to correspondence. 1926-1947, 1966. 27 items.
    • Folder d#1197.2.d
      Telegrams, correspondence, invitation and programs re the Memorial Service of Music for Mr. James Woods Fry presented by his International Friends at the International Students House on February 22, 1931. 1931. 12 items.
    • Folder e#1197.2.e
      Diary containing entries (May-June 1938) and genealogy notes relating to the Stroup (Strup, Strupe, Strub), Chitty and Ruede families of Forsyth County, North Carolina. 1938. 1 item.
    • Folder f#1197.2.f
      Correspondence (1921-1923), genealogy notes and a clipping related to Chitty Family history. 1921-1923, undated. 9 items.
    • Folder g#1197.2.g
      Correspondence and documents related to Mary Estelle Crawford Fry's admittance into (based on her ancestor William Darrah) and membership in The Pennsylvania Society of the Colonial Dames of America. 1922-1928. 11 items.
    • Folder h#1197.2.h
      Correspondence and documents related to Mary Estelle Crawford Fry's admittance into and membership in The Daughters of the American Revolution. Genealogy material and correspondence discuss the Crawford, Darrah and Thompson families. 1917, 1936. 20 items.
    • Folder i#1197.2.i
      1987 History of the Women's Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. 1987. 1 item.
    • Folder j#1197.2.j
      Chinese characters painted on construction paper. undated. 49 items.
    • Folder k#1197.2.k
      Care Package Receipts (many of the packages were delivered to Mr. & Mrs. Werner Thiel of Berlin, Germany. 1947-1959. 55 items.
    • Folder l#1197.2.l
      Miscellaneous items include a written expression of appreciation to James Strong and India Fry Strong for the reviewing stand they had outside their home for viewing the 1899 Peace Jubilee celebration of the ending of the Spanish American War; a list of China pieces (1897); 2 cloth bookmarks with Chinese characters embroidered on them; and 2 undated clippings about the arrival of White Russian Baptists in Shanghai and the exodus of UNRRA officials from China . 1897, 1899, undated. 6 items.
    • Folder m#1197.2.m
      School notebook belonging to Mary Estelle Crawford while attending Friends Central School, Philadelphia, PA. Also includes diary entries dated 9/1/1882 to 7/4/1883. 1882-1883. 1 item.
  • Box 3#1197.3
    Photographs & Etchings
    • Folder a#1197.3.a
      Photographs of Chitty family members of Salem, N.C. Also includes 3 tintypes. 1865-1870, 1934, undated. 9 items.
    • Folder b#1197.3.b
      Photographs of Woods family members. . undated. 5 items.
    • Folder c#1197.3.c
      Photographs of Belgium (1916-1917 damage from World War I) and the Steenberghe family of Belgium. 1916-1955. 46 items.
    • Folder d#1197.3.d
      Photographs of the Fry and Blackwell families of Philadelphia, PA. Also includes a photograph of the parsonage for the Church of the Brethren on 6611 Germantown Ave. in Philadelphia. undated. 19 items.
    • Folder e#1197.3.e
      Photographs of the Harper and Stroupe families of Wilmington, N.C. Includes a photograph of the Capt. and Mrs. John W. Harper House at 811 South Front Street in Wilmington. 1896, 1901, undated. 5 items.
    • Folder f#1197.3.f
      Photographs of unidentified family members. undated. 10 items.
    • Folder g#1197.3.g
      Photographs of Chinese correspondents especially Dr. En Shi Tai and family of Canton, Dr. Kuang Hsun Li and family of Soochow, and the artist Yang Ling-Fu (L. F. Yang). . 1927, 1930, 1950, undated. 12 items.
    • Folder h#1197.3.h
      Photographs of orphans from World War I in Belgium and France. undated. 17 items.
    • Folder i#1197.3.i
      Miscellaneous photographs including snapshots of Dr. William Kelly and of unidentified scenes in China, photographs of Werner Thiel of Germany, Moravian Bishop J. Kenneth Pfohl and wife, Philip T. Mager (or Meagher), and photographs of the beach house belonging to John W. Harper (owner of Harper Line of Steamers) and a steamship carrying a lot of people and bearing a banner or flag that says "Wilmington" on it. undated. 17 items.
    • Folder j#1197.3.j
      Photographs of unidentified people. Also includes a tintype of a child taken in 1911 at the Palms--her name is Mary Eleanor M________(the last name has faded away). 1911, undated. 7 items.
    • Folder k#1197.3.k
      2 etchings of Rothenburg, Germany. undated. 2 items.
  • Oversize Folder os1#1197.os1 Icon to indicate that there are digitized materials available
    Oversize Materials
    • Photograph of women dressed in native costumes. undated. 1 item.  (item #1)
    • Photograph of Elizabeth Wong Chow, her husband Chintai Chow, and their 2 children. undated. 1 item.  (item #2)
    • 1924 panoramic shot of the banquet hall of the Filipino Association of Philadelphia Commemoration. 1924. 1 item.  (item #3)
    • 1927 panoramic shot of the banquet hall for the meeting of the Federation de L'Alliance Francaise in New York City. 1927. 1 item.  (item #4)
    • Etching of Rothenburg, Germany. undated. 1 item.  (item #6)
    • Color Japanese ukiyo-e print by Hiroshige Ando. ca. 1930. 1 item.  (item #7)
    • Pen & ink artwork for and printed proof of 1928 Christmas/New Year's holiday greeting card from The Fry Family. 1928. 1 item.  (item #8)
  • Oversize Folder os2#1197.os2
    Oversize Materials
    • 1916 certificate for membership of James Woods Fry in the Pennsylvania Society. 1916. 1 item.  (item #1)
    • 1880 certificate for completion of 2 years at Central High School in Pennsylvania by James W. Fry. 1880. 1 item.  (item #2)
    • 1878 certificate for completion of Jefferson Grammar School and admittance to Central High School by James Fry. 1878. 1 item.  (item #3)
    • 1925 certificate for membership in the Huguenot Society of Pennsylvania. 1925. 1 item.  (item #4)
    • 1931 certificate for membership in the Pennsylvania German Society by Estelle Fry. 1931. 1 item.  (item #5)
What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, please click on the "View Digitized Objects" link, or look for hyperlinks in the preliminary inventory
ECU Centennial Logo

Finding Aids for Special Collections and University Archives

© 2002-2011 Joyner Library, East Carolina University

Contact Us ° Digital Collections
Feedback Form
Feedback Analytics