Meet the Drexels

"...every dinner party had to start with a list of relatives. This meant that before anybody else could be invited, the table was almost filled with Cassatts, Devereuxs, Cadwaladers, Mills, Van Rensselaers, Munns, Fells, Drexels, and Biddles..."

        - My Philadelphia Father (1955), by Cordelia Drexel Biddle as told to Kyle Crichton

Francis and Catherine Drexel had six children: Mary Johanna, Francis Anthony, Anthony Joseph, Joseph Wilhelm (or William), Heloise, and Caroline. As the family grew in number and in social prominence, the Drexels married into established Philadelphia families. 

The children of the three brothers, Francis, Anthony, and Joseph, continued the Drexel line. Anthony J. Drexel married Ellen Bicking Rosét, the daughter of a distinguished merchant. Their children's spouses and the next generation brought the names Biddle, Paul, Fell, Van Rensselaer, and Troth into the family tree. The youngest brother, Joseph, married Lucy Wharton, whose family had settled in Philadelphia in the late 17th century. The marriages of their four daughters connected the family with the Penrose, Dahlgren, Emmet, and Henry families, whose members were leaders in the United States government and military.

Anthony and Ellen Drexel were especially close with Francis A. Drexel’s daughters Elizabeth Langstroth Drexel Smith and Katharine Mary Drexel after they took the girls into their home following the death of their mother, Hannah Langstroth. Francis A. Drexel had a third daughter, Louise Bouvier Drexel Morrell, with Emma Bouvier, his second wife.

Visit the Further Resources page for more information on genealogy.

Family Gallery

Select a family member to read more about their life and view related material, or use the captions to explore other parts of the exhibit. 

Meet the Drexels