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.
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.
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.
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
Purchase from Ian Brabner, Bookseller.
Processed by Allison N. Miller April 2014.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.