Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Quaker Collection, 1700-1888

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, February 2011

Summary Information
Title: Quaker collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1700-1888
Extent: 113 items
The Quaker Collection consists of miscellaneous letters, diaries, and documents relating to the religious and social history of the Society of Friends in America during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

M-2812.9 et al.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Quaker Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically with undated items at the end.


The Society of Friends (Quakers) formed the bulk of the founding European populations in Pennsylvania and West Jersey during the 1680s. Over the next two centuries, the Quakers had profound influence on the shape of provincial and national affairs in America, and contributed to various reform causes, such as the antislavery, women's rights, Indian rights, prison and asylum improvement, temperance, and pacifist movements.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Quaker collection consists of miscellaneous letters, diaries, and documents related to the religious and social history of the Society of Friends in America during the 18th and 19th centuries. These items offer insights into Quaker's daily activities and concerns, such as family life, education, and attending meetings, as well as their participation in various social reform movements, such as abolition, treatment of Native Americans, prison improvements, temperance, and pacifism. The collection also documents internal divergences of American Quakerism in the 19th century, particularly the social and doctrinal disputes that culminated in the Hicksite and Wilburite schisms.

Among the collection's notable items:

  • 1707: A manuscript copy of the death warrant of William Leddra, the last of four Quakers (including Mary Dyer) executed in Massachusetts Bay colony for their religious beliefs
  • July 26, 1755: A letter from Alexander Colden to Sir William Johnson voicing frustration with Quakers who refuse to support the war effort in Pennsylvania, and an announcement of General Braddock's defeat
  • August 4-12 and 17, 1761: Two accounts, one by an anonymous woman, of Quaker presence at Treaty negotiations held at Easton, Pennsylvania, between the government of Pennsylvania and the Six Nations tribes. Discussed are the negotiations, Quaker-Indian interactions, and the role of Quaker women in the Society
  • [After 1770]: An account by an anonymous author of a conference with Native Americans, mostly of the Minnisink Tribe
  • October 13, 1829: A letter from Phoebe Post Willis of Jericho, New York, to Isaac Post on the death of John Hicks and strife between Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers
  • March 10, 1843: A letter from Ethan Foster of Westerly, Rhode Island, to Thomas B. Gould on Wilburite-Gurneyite strife in his local meeting, and the disownment of Wilbur
  • [After 1863 July]: A letter describing a meeting between Abraham Lincoln and five Quaker prisoners of war, who had been forced into the Confederate army, captured by the Union, and held at Fort Delaware
  • Various dates: Reports, minutes, and epistles from yearly friends meetings in America and Great Britain
Subject Terms

    • Abolitionists.
    • American loyalists.
    • Antislavery movements.
    • Braddock, Edward, 1695?-1755.
    • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836.
    • Capital punishment.
    • Charities.
    • Chew, Benjamin, 1722-1810.
    • Children--Death.
    • Delaware Indians--Pennsylvania--Religion.
    • Delaware Indians--Rites and ceremonies.
    • Earthquakes--Pennsylvania.
    • Electricity.
    • Embroidery.
    • Epidemics--Pennsylvania.
    • Football.
    • Foster, Abigail Kelley, 1810-1887.
    • Foulke Family--Pennsylvania.
    • Fox, George, 1624-1691.
    • Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790.
    • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
    • Fugitive slaves--Vermont.
    • Funeral rites and ceremonies.
    • Germantown (Pa.)
    • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847.
    • Harvard University. Library.
    • Haverford College.
    • Hicks, Rachel, 1789-1878.
    • Hicksites.
    • Holme, Thomas, 1624-1695.
    • House construction.
    • Indian captivities.
    • Indians of North America--Government relations.
    • Indians of North America--Wisconsin.
    • Lightfoot, Susannah Hatton, 1719-1781.
    • Marriage.
    • Menominee Indians.
    • Millerite movement.
    • Moravians--Pennsylvania.
    • Morris, Robert Hunter, ca. 1700-1764.
    • Murder.
    • Nonviolence.
    • Oneida Indians--Missions.
    • Pacifism.
    • Pennsylvania--Politics and government.
    • Phrenology.
    • Quakers.
    • Quakers--Education.
    • Quaker missionaries.
    • Real property--Pennsylvania.
    • Science--Study and teaching.
    • Sibley, John Langdon, 1804-1885.
    • Slaves--Emancipation.
    • Smallwood, William, 1732-1792.
    • Society of Free Quakers.
    • Society of Friends.
    • Society of Friends--Charities.
    • Society of Friends--Doctrines.
    • Society of Friends--Education.
    • Society of Friends--History.
    • Society of Friends--Missions.
    • Spiritualism.
    • Suicide.
    • Thanksgiving Day.
    • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Quakers.
    • Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799.
    • Wharton, Joseph, 1707-1776--Estate.
    • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856.
    • Wills--Pennsylvania.
    • Yellow fever--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Lotteries.
    • Marriage records.
    • Poems.
    • Receipts (financial records)
    • Wills.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Quaker Collection [series]
    Box   1  
    Box   2  
     1829-1888 and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library has many collections that document the lives and activities of Quakers in America.

    Below is a list of a few highlights:

    Partial Contributor List:

    • Barker, Abraham
    • Benjamin Hallowell
    • Bettle, Samuel, Jr.
    • Colden, Alexander
    • Cookworthy, William
    • Cope, Alfred
    • Dimsdale, Richard
    • Elizabeth
    • Ellen Kimberly
    • Elliott, John
    • Foster, Ethan
    • Fothergill, Ann
    • Fothergill, John
    • Fothergill, Samuel
    • Foulke, Samuel
    • Fry, Elizabeth
    • Gilpin, Thomas
    • Hallowell, Benjamin
    • Hampton, Eli
    • Harvey, Sarah Anna Townsend
    • Henry, Patrick
    • Hicks, Elias
    • King, Ann
    • Kinsey, James
    • Kinsey, Samuel
    • Kite, Mary
    • Lee, [C. M.]
    • Love, Alfred Henry
    • McArthur, K.
    • Meeting for Sufferings, London
    • Mindeshall, Phoebe W.
    • [Mitchel], Arnold
    • Morris, Charles W.
    • Murray, Lindley
    • Murray, Lindley & Hannah
    • Norris, Charles
    • Peacock, John
    • Pemberton, Israel
    • Pemberton, James
    • Penn, William
    • Pitfield, Robert L.
    • Proud, Robert
    • Quaker Meeting of Bradford and Caln
    • Ritter, John
    • Rogers, Thomas & Rogers, Bethiah Ewell
    • Rushmore, Lydia
    • Scattergood, Ann
    • Shoemaker, S. B.
    • Shreve, John
    • Smith, John
    • Snowdon, Joseph
    • Society of Friends Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, Baltimore, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, Buck’s County, PA, Monthly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Chester, PA, Monthly Meeting of Women Friends for the relief of the Freedman
    • Society of Friends, Chesterfield, NJ
    • Society of Friends, Haddonfield, NJ, Monthly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Indiana, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, London, Yearly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, London, Yearly Meeting for Sufferings
    • Society of Friends, London, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, Miami, Ohio, Quarterly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, New York, Yearly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Ohio, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Yearly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Philadelphia, Monthly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Philadelphia, Yearly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Philadelphia, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Society of Friends, Richland, Monthly Meeting
    • Society of Friends, Virginia, Yearly Meeting of Women Friends
    • Stroud, Daniel
    • Tuke, Samuel
    • Tyson, E. C.
    • Warner, Thomas
    • Wartburg, M. L.
    • Wharton, Joseph
    • White, Joseph
    • Wilbur, John
    • Williams, Catharine & Williams, B.
    • Williams, Jesse
    • Willis, Phoebe Post
    • Winster, Sarah