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Joseph R. Evans Family Collection

Identifier: FMS-82

Scope and Contents

The Joseph R. Evans Family Collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and genealogical material on a Quaker family that was central to the founding and development of Earlham College. It also documents Quaker reactions to the Civil War, and contains some of the best pre-1900 photographs known of the campus.


  • 1834-1993
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1993

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restrictions.

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

Joseph Ratcliff Evans was born in Waynesville, Ohio, Nov. 16, 1840, the youngest son of Thomas Evans (1792-1852) and his second wife Elizabeth Matilda (Robinson) Evans (1802-1883). Thomas Evans was a prominent Orthodox Friend, for many years the clerk of the Meeting for Sufferings of Indiana Yearly Meeting and a leading member of the committee that established Friends Boarding School, now Earlham College, in 1847. Joseph R. Evans was a student in the boarding school from 1852 to 1857. In 1863 he moved to Indianapolis, apparently with the intention of studying law. Instead, with his brothers George and William he founded the Evans Milling Company. In 1865 Joseph R. Evans married Caroline Elizabeth Brown (1843-1918), a fellow Quaker of Waynesville, Ohio. She was an Earlham student from 1860 to 1862. Joseph and Caroline were active in First Friends Meeting in Indianapolis. In 1882 he was appointed a trustee of Earlham College, an office that he held until 1907. Joseph R. Evans died on a visit to Long Beach, California, May 24, 1908.

Note written by


1 Boxes

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

Donations. The photographs, genealogies, and marriage certificates were the gift of Elizabeth F. Evans, class of 1927, a granddaughter of Joseph R. and Caroline Evans, in 1993. She had earlier donated Caroline’s wedding dress. The two Thomas Evans letters and the typescript of Joseph and Caroline’s courtship correspondence were the gift of her great-nephew, Thomas W. Parfitt, in 2000.

Separated Materials

Caroline (Evans) Brown’s wedding dress is in the Artifacts Collection. Joseph R. and Caroline’s marriage certificate is in the map case collection of marriage certificates.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Thomas Hamm
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Friends Collection and Earlham College Archives Repository