Fry Family Papers

1837-1993
Manuscript Collection #1197
Creator(s)
Fry, James Woods; Fry, Mary Estelle Crawford
Physical description
1.85 Cubic Feet, 3 archival boxes and 2 oversize folders, consisting of correspondence, photographs, publications, ephemera and certificates
Preferred Citation
Fry Family Papers (#1197), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

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.


Biographical/historical information

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.


Scope and arrangement

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.


Administrative information
Custodial History

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

Source of acquisition

Purchase from Ian Brabner, Bookseller.

Processing information

Processed by Allison N. Miller April 2014.

Copyright notice

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


Container list
Box 1 Folder a Correspondence mainly of Crawford, Stien (Stein), and Sower Families of Boston, MA, and Norristown, PA. Discusses the celebrations of Fourth of July and Christmas, and time spent visiting other family members. Letter from March 10, 1869 includes a small book of music, "Responses at High Mass in the Hof-Kirche in Dresden." 1837-1869
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence to Mrs. James W. Fry (Mary Estelle Crawford Fry). 10 photographs are attached to the correspondence, 1911-1940
Box 1 Folder c Letters and receipts for contributions from the Fry family to the Christian Association of the University of Pennsylvania, including donations for the Building Fund Campaign, 1912-1933
Box 1 Folder f Correspondence between Mr. & Mrs. James W. Fry and Dr. Rosalie Morton of The International Serbian Educational Committee, Inc., concerning sponsorship of Dragisha Perishitch, a Serbian student getting his education in the U.S. (paid for by Mr. & Mrs. Fry), 1922-1924
Box 1 Folder g Correspondence to Mrs. James W. Fry (Mary Estelle Crawford Fry) concerning missions in France and Belgium for orphans from WWI; many of the letters are in French. 4 photographs are attached to the correspondence, 1917-1932
Box 1 Folder h Correspondence from L. F. Yang (Yang Ling Fu) and a book written in Chinese illustrating her artwork. 2 photographs of Yang are attached to the correspondence. 1928, undated
Box 1 Folder i Correspondence to Mrs. James W. Fry (Mary Estelle Crawford Fry) concerning San Miao Orphanage in Saratsi, Suiyuan Province, N. China. Primarily relates to the support of two children: Hsing-seng-tsi and Ma-li-ia. Some letters are written in Chinese and come with English translations attached. 11 photographs are attached to correspondence, 1914-1937
Box 1 Folder j Items concerning the Bethel Mission in Hong Kong, including the war's effects on the country. 1938
Box 1 Folder k Correspondence between Estelle Fry & her family and Dr. William Kelly, while working as a medical missionary in China and Mongolia. A Chinese bank note worth twenty copper coins is attached to the April 1938 correspondence. Also includes the 1993 annual report of The Presbyterian Hospital, Changteh, Hunan (China), 1932-1947, 1993
Box 2 Folder a Correspondence written to Mrs. James W. Fry (Mary Estelle Crawford Fry) from people in China and India who had been adopted by the Fry family. 2 photographs are attached to the correspondence, 1930-1939
Box 2 Folder b Correspondence to Gilbert C. Fry, wife Mary and their daughter Eleanore mostly from the van 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. Includes some correspondence in French, without translation. 3 photographs are attached to correspondence, 1926-1947, 1966
Box 2 Folder c Telegrams, correspondence, invitation, and programs concerning the Memorial Service of Music for Mr. James Woods Fry presented by his International Friends at the International Students House o, February 22, 1931
Box 2 Folder d 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
Box 2 Folder e Correspondence (1922-1923), genealogy notes, and an obituary related to Chitty family history, 1921-1923
Box 2 Folder f Correspondence and documents related to Mary Estelle Crawford Fry's admittance into and membership in The Pennsylvania Society of the Colonial Dames of America, based on her ancestor William Darrah. Includes her membership application with genealogical information, 1922-1928
Box 2 Folder g 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
Box 2 Folder h 1987 History of the Women's Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA
Box 2 Folder i Chinese characters painted on construction paper. Undated
Box 2 Folder j CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Everywhere Inc.) Package Receipts. Many of the packages were delivered to Mr. & Mrs. Werner Thiel of Berlin, Germany, 1917-1960
Box 2 Folder k Miscellaneous items include a list of China pieces given as a wedding gift (1897); a written expression of appreciation to James Strong and India Fry Strong for the reviewing stand they had outside their home for the 1899 Peace Jubilee celebration of the ending of the Spanish American War; 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
Box 2 Folder l School notebook belonging to Mary Estelle Crawford while attending Friends Central School, Philadelphia, PA. Includes notes for arithmetic, author biographies, and lyrics for songs and hymns. Also includes diary entries dated 9/1/1882 to 7/4/1883
Box 3 Folder a Photographs of Chitty family members of Salem, N.C. Also includes 3 tintypes. 1865-1870, 1934, undated
Box 3 Folder b Photographs of Woods family members. Undated
Box 3 Folder c Photographs of Belgium (1916-1917) damage from World War I) and the van Steenberghe family of Belgium, 1916-1955
Box 3 Folder 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
Box 3 Folder 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 311 South Front Street in Wilmington. 1896, 1901, undated
Box 3 Folder f Photographs of unidentified family members. Undated
Box 3 Folder 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
Box 3 Folder h Photographs of orphans from World War I in Belgium and France. Undated
Box 3 Folder 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
Box 3 Folder 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
Box 3 Folder k Two etchings of Rothenburg, Germany. Undated
Folder os2 Included are 1916 certificate for membership of James W. Fry in the Pennsylvania Society by descent from John Keyser; school certificates (1878, 1880) for James Fry from Jefferson Grammar School and Central High School in Pennsylvania; certificates (1925, 1931) for membership in the Huguenot Society of PA and the Pennsylvania German Soc.; and map representing work done in China (1920-1932) by the China International Famine Relief Commission