Collection Title: Henry S. and Patience W. Kent Papers

Collection Number: MS Coll 257

Dates of Collection: 1860-1924

Extent: 1 box; 0.4 linear feet

RepositoryChester County History Center, West Chester, PA

Language: English

Project Archivist: Stacy S. Hutcheson


Henry S. Kent (1833-1906) was born to Benjamin and Hannah Simmons Kent near Jennersville in Penn Township, southern Chester County. Kent and his parents were members of the Religious Society of Friends and he married Patience Webster, a fellow Quaker, in 1859.  Henry S. Kent taught in both public and private schools for 19 years before the couple settled on a farm in East Goshen Township.  Kent became a member of the local School Board and oversaw the building of a new school house.  They then moved to Hockessin, Delaware, where he worked in the coal and lumber businesses. In 1890, the Kents settled in Swarthmore, Delaware County, where they lived for twenty years. While in Swarthmore, Kent worked as a real estate and insurance agent until his retirement. In 1893, his certificate of membership was transferred from Birmingham Monthly Meeting to the newly established Swarthmore Monthly Meeting of Friends where he was both a member and an elder. Kent was an advocate for suffrage, temperance, and peace and was an active participant at Longwood Yearly Meetings.     

Patience Webster Kent (1841-1924) was born in West Chester, Chester County to William Webster and Sarah Lukens. After marrying Henry Simmons Kent, in 1859, she had 2 children, Gertrude Webster Kent and William Webster Kent. Patience Kent was prominent in Chester County progressive movements, and she wrote and spoke on progressive topics of the day such as education, religion, suffrage, and temperance.  She passed away in Los Angeles, California where her son and his family lived.


The papers of Henry S. and Patience W. Kent measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1860-1924.  Found within the papers are the correspondence of Henry S. Kent; a journal, journal ephemera, and a bound book of Patience W. Kent; and draft and published writings of both Henry S. and Patience W. Kent. The collection also includes biographical materials for both Henry S. and Patience W. Kent. 

Collection Scope:

Materials include biographical materials, including newspaper clippings, memorials, and eulogies.  Correspondence is related to Henry S. Kent’s business in coal and insurance.  The Kents were prolific writers, and their writings include numerous drafts of poetry and essays relating to pacifism, temperance, suffrage, education, and religion.  Many of these writings were published in newspaper editorials and Quaker publications such as the Friends’ Intelligencer

The collection includes a scrapbook containing the published writings of Henry S. Kent as well as teaching notes, account book records, and supply inventories.  There is also a bound book and journal belonging to Patience W. Kent.  The bound book details accounts, and the journal includes entries and journal ephemera on Quaker and religious topics. 

Information For Researchers:

  • Access: Collection is open for research. 
  • Publication Rights/Terms of Use: The Chester County History Center makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational, and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions.  CCHC makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions, and it is the user’s responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce, and publish materials from the collections.
  • Preferred Citation: Henry S. and Patience W. Kent papers, 1860-1924. MS Coll 257. Chester County History Center Library. West Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Acquisition Information: The papers were donated by Mary Walton Michener (Mrs. Maurice Michener), the daughter of Gertrude Webster Kent Walton, in 1991.
  • Processing History: The collection was processed and a finding aid was prepared by Stacy S. Hutcheson in 2021.

Names and Subject Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • Quakers
    • Suffrage
    • Temperance
  • Types of Materials:
    • Account books
    • Diaries
    • Essays
    • Poetry
  • Names, Personal:
    • Kent, Henry S. (Henry Simmons), 1833-1906
    • Kent, Patience W. (Patience Webster), 1841-1924

Collection Arrangement:

Manuscripts are arranged as 1 Series:

  • Series 1: Henry S. and Patience W. Kent, 1860-1924 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)

Related Material:

The Chester County History Center holds additional materials related to the Kents, including diaries, a photo of Patience W. Kent, and photos of Patience W. Kent’s maternal relatives, the Lukens. 

The Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College holds the Kent-Barnard Family Papers.

Collection Contents:

Series 1: Henry S. and Patience W. Kent papers, 1860-1924 (Box 1)

Box 1

Biographical Materials

Folder 1                           Kent, Henry S. and Patience W., 1861-1924   

Kent, Henry S.

Folder 2                           Correspondence, circa 1860

Folder 3                           Research Jayhawkers, circa 1903

Folder 4                           Writings, Drafts, 1872-1885

Folder 5                           Writings, Published, Scrapbook, 1883-1907

Kent, Patience W.

Folder 6                           Bound Book, circa 1912-1914

Folder 7                           Journal, circa 1910

Folder 8                           Journal Ephemera, circa 1887

Folder 9                           Writings, Drafts, Education, 1907-1912

Folder 10                         Writings, Drafts, Progressive, 1916

Folder 11                         Writings, Drafts, Religion, 1888-1919

Folder 12                         Writings, Drafts, Suffrage, 1888-1919

Folder 13                         Writings, Drafts, Temperance, 1888-1895

Folder 14                         Writings, Published, 1907-1919