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Willis B. Coale Papers

Identifier: FMS-129

Scope and Contents

Willis Branson Coale (1885-1979) was a birthright Hicksite Friend, Congregational minister, English professor at the University of Hawaii, and genealogist. This collection documents his life and preserves material that he collected for Coale family history. The Coale Papers consist of two main groups of material. The first reflects the life of Willis B. Coale, and includes autobiographical writings, clippings, and published and unpublished materials on his life in Illinois, at Oberlin, and in Hawaii. The second group consists of photographs that he collected to illustrate his genealogical book, The Coale Family: Nine Generations, 1569-1955,  published in 1976. Many of the photographs are duplicates, in some cases as many as ten of the same image.


  • 1885-1977

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce and to publish for commercial purposes must be requested from the Archivist.

Biographical or Historical Information

Coale was born near Holder, McLean County, Illinois, November 10, 1885, the oldest child of Arthur and Laura (Branson) Coale. Both parents came from Hicksite Quaker families and were natives of Indiana who had moved to Illinois with their families. He grew up in Bloomington and Peoria, Illinois. He attended first the Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, and then Oberlin College, where he graduated in 1912. In 1915 he married Grace Woodford (1882-1972). They had no children. After his ordination as a Congregational minister, Willis B. Coale moved to Hawaii. He taught in Lahaina 1915-1917, at McKinley High School from 1921 to 1926, at the Territorial Normal School 1928-1931, and as a professor of English in the Teachers College of the University of Hawaii 1931-1951. He did doctoral work under John Dewey at Teachers College of Columbia University 1926-1928. After his retirement, the Coales lived in Hawaii until 1966, when they moved to California, then in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where he died in 1979.

Note written by


2.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Collection acquired before 1975.

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Repository Details

Part of the Friends Collection and Earlham College Archives Repository