Peace Society of Windham County record book (1826-1839)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Shannon Wait, June 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Peace Society of Windham County record book
Creator: Peace Society of Windham County
Inclusive dates: 1826-1839
Extent: 1 volume
The Peace Society of Windham County record book contains various records documenting the activities of the antiwar group of Windham County, Connecticut, including numerous meeting minutes, a constitution, and a long list of members.
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

1988. M-2385.

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

The Peace Society of Windham County Record Book, Duane Norman Diedrich Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Peace Society of Windham County was formed on August 16, 1826, in Brooklyn, Windham County, Connecticut. The organization took as its dual missions the promotion of peace through the spread of information, and the abolishment of war, which its members considered inhuman and unchristian. The Peace Society's first president was Dr. Thomas Hubbard; other early officers included vice presidents George Benson, Hubbel Loomis, and Samuel Perkins; secretary Ambrose Edson; and treasurer Dr. Thomas Huntington. Also key to the foundation of the group was Reverend Samuel Joseph May (1797-1871), a Unitarian minister who also championed the causes of educational reform and abolition. The Peace Society continued to meet until at least 1839.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Peace Society of Windham County record book contains approximately 81 pages of records that shed light on the group's organization, decision-making, meetings, activities, and philosophies. The volume primarily comprises minutes (1826-1839), which are particularly valuable for the information they provide on the group's members and their attendance, speakers and the topics they addressed, religious activities and affiliations, and references to the Society's publications and promotional materials.

The volume opens with a description of the group's founding and a copy of its constitution. The latter describes its mission and structure (pp. 5-9) and notes its goal to "promote and extend the full import of the angelic message, 'Peace on Earth and good will to men'." Following this are the carefully kept minutes for thirteen annual meetings and scattered semi-annual, ad hoc, and board of directors meetings. The minutes primarily record the organization's decisions, arrived upon after numerous discussions and votes. Issues put to a vote include the locations of various meetings (which were primarily held in members' homes), the people to whom the society should express gratitude, the names of possible speakers, fundraising measures, and the distribution of tracts and literature.

The Record Book includes debates over the group's philosophies and objectives. Minutes show that they invited particular members to speak on topics, such as "The Prejudice by which the custom of War is upheld in society" (p. 19) and the injustice of the American Revolutionary War (p. 37). On the latter topic, the secretary noted, "This was of course a sentiment new to many, and at first many minds may revolt from it, but it is doubtless correct." The record book closes with a 7-page list of members of the society, along with their places of residence.

Subject Terms

  • Brooklyn (Conn.)
  • May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871.
  • Nonviolence.
  • Peace--Societies, etc.
  • Peace Society of Windham County (Conn.)
  • Windham County (Conn.)
Genre Terms:
  • Minutes.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   1  
Peace Society of Windham County record book,  1826-1839 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The Manuscript Division holds the following related items by Peace Society member Samuel May:

James G. Birney papers: Samuel Joseph May to James G. Birney, May 21, 1852

Artemas Hale papers: Samuel Joseph May to Hale, March 18, 1840; April 29, 1840; September 6, 1840; October 15, 1840; April 30, 1866

Weld-Grimke papers: Samuel Joseph May to Theodore Weld, August 14, 1838; August 9, 1865

Bush papers: Samuel Joseph May to Bush, September 9, 1847

The Clements Library also holds many materials related to other peace societies in the same era.


Kellogg, Ezra B. War Contrary to the Gospel: A Sermon, Preached Before the Peace Society of Windham County, February 4, 1830. Providence: H.H. Brown, printer, Market-Square, 1830.

Ladd, William. The Essays of Philanthropos On Peace & War, Which First Appeared In the Christian Mirror, Printed At Portland, Maine. Revised And Corrected by the Author. Second edition. Exeter, N.H.: Published by John T. Burnham, in behalf of the Exeter, and other peace societies, and sold by F. Grant, 1827.

Welch, Jonathan Ashley. Address Delivered Before the Windham County Peace Society: At Their Semi-annual Meeting, Held At Plainfield, February 13, 1828. Brooklyn, Conn.: Advertiser press, 1828.