Guide to the Gertrude and Hanna Monaghan Family Papers, 1811-1969

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Gertrude and Hanna Monaghan Family Papers
Monaghan family
Nantucket Historical Association
Material is in English.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], in the Gertrude and Hanna Monaghan Family Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Bequest of Hanna D. Monaghan in 1972. The addition of 2018 was transferred to the Research Library from the Gosnold Collections Center in May 2018 (Acc. RL2018.13).

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Monaghan, Gertrude, 1887-1962.
    • Monaghan, Hanna, 1889-1972.
    • Monaghan, Jay, 1891-1980.
  • Corporate Name
    • Greater Light (Nantucket, Mass.).
  • Topical Term
    • Quakers—Massachusetts—Nantucket.

Biographical Information

Hanna Monaghan (1887-1962) and Gertrude Monaghan (1889-1972) were born in West Chester, Pa., to James and Anna (Jackson) Monaghan. The sisters came to Nantucket, Mass., in the early 1920s after having studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Following several summers spent in studio apartments on island, they converted an eighteenth-century cow and pig barn (on what is now Howard Street) into a summer residence in 1929. This residence—which the sisters named “Greater Light”—served as an exhibition and gathering space for artists.

Associated with the Swarthmore Friends Meeting of Pennsylvania, the Monaghans were heavily involved in the revival of meetings at the old Quaker Meeting House by 1938. In many ways, their home on island was an expression of their faith (the name itself referring both to Genesis and the Quaker idea of “inner light”).

James Jay Monaghan IV (1891-1980), the younger brother of Hanna and Gertrude, published works on western United States history. He received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1913 and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1918. Following his studies, James served as an instructor in aerial photography during World War I and later owned sheep and cattle ranches in the West. He undertook many writing and research projects both personally and professionally.

Scope and Content

The Getrude and Hanna Monaghan family papers include correspondence, sketches, and papers relating predominantly to Hanna Monaghan (1889-1972) and other members of her family, primarily Gertrude Monaghan (1887-1962) and James Jay Monaghan IV (1891-1980). There are also various copies of Hanna Monaghan’s manuscript on George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).


Series 1: Gertrude and Hanna Monaghan Family Papers, 1811-1953

  • Box 1 Folder 1 Correspondence: Letters in, 1930-1953, undated
  • Box 1 Folder 2 Correspondence: Letter out, undated
  • Box 1 Folder 3 Religious paper, clippings, cards, etc., undated
  • Contains notebook of biblical quotations, clippings of recipes and cures, and copies of a paper on prayer.
  • Box 1 Folder 4 Architectural sketches, undated
  • Box 1 Folder 5 Pastoral, animal and street scene sketches, undated
  • Box 1 Folder 6 James Monaghan: Letters out, 1811-1873, undated

Series 2: Addition of 2018, 1897-1969

  • Box 1 Folder 7 Miscellaneous notes and poetry, undated
  • Box 2 Folder 8 James Jay Monaghan IV: Letters in, 1913-1941
  • Box 2 Folder 9 James Jay Monaghan IV papers, circa 1936, undated
  • Box 2 Folder 10 F. L. Rawson writings, undated
  • Materials on the Quaker way of life.
  • Box 2 Folder 11 George Fox manuscript handbill, undated
  • Box 2 Folder 12-14 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Hanna Monaghan’s drafts of her manuscript on George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
  • Box 2 Folder 15-18 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 19 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 20 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 21-23 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 24 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 25 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 3 Folder 26-28 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 4 Folder 29 George Fox manuscript, undated
  • Box 4 Folder 30 News clippings, undated
  • Primarily images of Charlie Chaplin.
  • Box 4 Folder 31 Notebook, undated
  • Box 4 Folder 32 Pamphlets, 1959, undated
  • Primarily materials on Quaker living.
  • Box 4 Folder 33 Pendle Hill materials, 1961-1965
  • Contains bulletin, letter and pamphlet.
  • Box 4 Folder 34 Photographs, undated
  • Photographs of Hanna Monaghan and man (possibly James Monaghan).
  • Box 4 Folder 35 Practitioner’s register booklets, undated
  • Booklets are blank with the exception of one note.
  • Box 4 Folder 36 Shih Tzu Club of America: Shih Tzu Bulletin, 1963-1969
  • Box 4 Folder 37 Materials on Shih Tzu, 1967-1969, undated
  • Contains article, newsletter and sketch.
  • OPF-89/1 Religious Society of Friends: Meeting sign, undated
  • OPF-89/2 “The Shaggy Success of the Shih Tzus, 11 July 1969
  • Article from LIFE magazine.
  • OPF-89/3 Photographs, undated
  • Photographs of Hanna Monaghan and man (possibly James Monaghan).

Items Separated

  • Oversize Paper Folders (OPF-89/1–3)

Processing Information

Processed by NHA staff.

Finding aid by Sarah Lerner and Amelia Holmes, September 2018.

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