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.
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
1700 8 mo. 18th (1700 October 18). W[illiam] Penn LS to “Loving friend”; New Castle, [Delaware].
Request for recipient to serve on Penn’s council. Written in the hand of James Logan and signed by Penn.
1707 4 mo. 3rd (1707 June 3). [Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] ALS to [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends]; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Testimony for ministry of John Fothergill in the colonies.
1707. Ms. Cy; s.l.
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.
1712 June 6. Thomas Rogers & Bethiah Ewell Rogers Partially printed DS; Marshfield, [Massachusetts].
Marriage certificate for Thomas Rogers and Bethiah Ewell. Signed by members of Meeting. [In Oversize Manuscripts]
1737 5th mo. 14 (1737 July 14). John Fothergill ALS to Allexander Fothergill; Salem, Massachusetts.
Ministering in the colonies, spiritual advice and concern for his son.
1737 12 mo. 23 (1738 February 23). John Fothergill ALS to Maryland Eastern Shore Society of Friends; Barbados.
Introduction for Fothergill, embarking on ministering tour of the Eastern Shore. Promoting righteousness, the spreading of light and wisdom, and faithful labor for the Lord.
1739 3rd mo. 2 (1739 May 2). Jos[eph] White ALS to [Solomon White?]; Falls, [Pennsylvania].
Theological musing on patience and faith that the Lord will minister to wants and suffering, brought on by inability to visit family due to business. Compares God's love to natural cycles. Family news.
1739 10th mo. (1739 December). John Fothergill ALS to Allexa[n]d[e]r Fothergill; Netherdale, [England].
Family news and plans to travel to York. Details on plan for building a house and stable. Fatherly spiritual advice and encouragement to persist in spiritual diligence.
1741 3rd mo. 2 (1741 May 2). John Peacock ALS to "friends in the north of Scotland"; Wester Mucroft, [England].
Encouragement and spiritual advice to Friends in Scotland to stand together, resist temptations, and to both profess and live the Truth.
1744 September. Cha[rles] Norris ALS to Lawrence Williams; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Asks for goods to be shipped to him for personal use. Requests plain items of good quality, including parlor chairs, arm chairs, chamber chairs, a day clock, tongs and shovel, India tea table, sconces, a painted floor cloth, fabric for a bed, a chamber Turkey carpet, and an India cabinet.
1746 11 mo. 28 (1747 January 28). Sam[uel] Fothergill ALS to "brother"; Warrington, [England].
Financial matters involving sister taking a small loan.
1751 3rd mo. 27-31 (1751 May 27-31). [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Cy to [Great Britain & Ireland Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends]; [London, England].
Regarding religious education of Quaker youth to protect them from the language, customs, and habits of the world. Also, advice to aid young men of "low circumstances." Copied by I[srael?] Pemberton, Jr.
1751 6mo 9th (1751 August 9). [James Kinsey] AL to Philip Kearny; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Estate settlement for late John Kinsey's debt. Asks to redistribute other debts, bonds, and lands to pay the debt.
1751, 1770, 1784, 1791 & 1793. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] 5 Ds; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
(15 pages [total])
Extracts from Yearly Meetings. 1751: Calls for more information to aid Samuel Smith in writing a history of the provinces. Proposes country schools. Discourages using the law to settle real estate disputes. Discusses change in the calendar. 1770: Notes on John Thornton's case with Middletown Monthly Meeting. Visits with families regarding attending meeting and owning slaves. Cautions against mixing with non-Friends and becoming involved with civil rights and liberties. Considering the history of first settlement of Friends in the provinces. 1784: Continuing care for youth's education and for Africans. Cautions against liquor. 1791: Consider establishing schools. Concerned about legislative and executive posts. Discourages traffic in public certificates of war expenses. 1793: Consider boarding school and education of youth. Continue testament against slavery. Notes on yellow fever outbreak. Clerks include Israel Pemberton, James Pemberton, John Drinker, and Nicholas Waln.
1753 June 11-16. [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] D & Cy to [Great Britain & Ireland Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends]; London, England.
(6 pages [total])
Admonition to live the plain life and train their children in it, to be careful in their public actions, and to remember early Friends' actions. Signed by William Dillworth. Includes a 1718 testimony against worldly fashions and vanity.
1754 April 19. [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and London Meeting for Sufferings] LS to [Aberdeen Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends]; [London, England].
Epistle encouraging faith in Scotland.
1755 July 26. Alex[ande]r Colden ALS to [William] Johnson; New York, [New York].
Recounts copying a letter from Benjamin Franklin. Frustrated with Quakers and the Assembly who refuse to support the war effort in Pennsylvania.
1758 November 29-30. Isr[ael] Pemberton ALS to “Dear Friend”; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Describes relations with Native Americans and calls for behavior consistent with peaceable principles to regain their friendship. Expects a treaty with Western Indians and is unhappy with Proprietary Agents' actions. Legal problems on Mason estate and George Fox’s lands in Pennsylvania, including disputed claims.
1759 March 2. W[illiam] Cookworthy ALS to [Robert Hunter Morris]; Plymouth, [England].
Offering knowledge of minerals.
1761 August 4-12. [Unknown Quaker woman] AMs; [Easton, Pennsylvania].
Journal of trip made by Quakers to the Native Americans during the Treaty of Easton, accompanied by Susannah Hatton [Lightfoot], Susannah Browne, and others. Writes of Delaware women and Chief Papoonhong [alternatively, Papoonung] visiting and worshipping with them, as well as more formal religious gatherings where Susannah Hutton ministers. Unhappy with German onlookers. Discusses an Indian "captive" who did not wish to leave them, also noting other war prisoners. Recounts violence and murder after the treaty.
1761 August 17. Robert Proud ALS to J. Pemberton; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Friends have recently returned from Treaty of Easton and expect Native Americans to arrive soon. General news of other Friends' health and travels.
1763 January 15. J[ames] P[emberton] ADfS to Joseph Phipps; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Thanks for letter and testimony to avoid strengthening slave trade. Concerned over inherited slaves and perplexed on how to deal with Native Americans on the frontier. Describes a possible earthquake. Clamor for copies of the journal of George Fox.
1764 September 25. [John Smith] AMs; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Complaints of an elderly Quaker spoken at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting about increasing wealth and conformity among Friends “to the fashions of the world.” Includes notes about the deaths of Samuel, William, and Mary Nixon, "that came out of old England."
1765 April 17. [Bradford and Caln Monthly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends] DS to James Clark and Hanah Clark; [Caln, Pennsylvania].
Quaker marriage certificate for James Clark and Hanah Hays. Signed by members of the members of the Bradford and Caln Monthly Meetings.
1765 May 27- June 1. [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Cy to [Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends]; [London, England].
Report from the Yearly Meeting calling for gratitude for past enjoyment of civil and religious liberties. Recognition that distress is now upon them and to use this to increase love for God. John Gurney, Clerk.
1767 June 8-13. [London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Cy to [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends]; [London, England].
Report from the Yearly Meeting. Members of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting seen as exemplars and must cleave especially close to the faith, tend to children and those less familiar with Quaker ancestors. Thomas Squire, Clerk.
[ca. 1768 ]. [Richland Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] AMsS; [Richland, Pennsylvania].
Testimony of Richland Monthly Meeting concerning Edward Roberts, who moved to America in his youth, became a Quaker, and served as a Minister for 40 years. Samuel Foulke, Clerk.
1769 May 3. AMs; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Manuscript Discourse pubickly [sic.] delivered By a Female Friend from old England. Speaks of devotion and obedience to God, describes silent worship. Note: William Darragh published this discourse, Philadelphia, 1769.
[post 1770]. AMs; [Pennsylvania?].
Account of a conference with Native Americans, mostly of the Minisink Tribe. Chief Papoonahool [alternatively, Papoonung] discusses prisoners, abuses of trade, war and religion, and his enlightenment and visions. Includes an anecdote of Admiral Tyrell's worship with Friends by Samuel Fothergill.
1774 May 23. Rich[ar]d Dimsdale ALS to Sam[ue]l Coates; New York, New York.
Met with other Friends in New York and attended Meeting. Making plans to travel to England. [Note: Original in Samuel Coates collection]
1774 July 9 - 1775 January 1. Ms.; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?].
Fragment of a page including minutes from a Quaker meeting relating to the shipment of a text written by Sewell and payments surrounding it. Friends Samuel Smith and Isaac Collins involved in financial transactions.
1775 March 24. [London Meeting for Sufferings] Cy to [Philadelphia Meeting for Sufferings]; [London, England].
Fear that British empire will be broken by American rebellion. Quaker response to civil authority, encouraging internal unity and meekness. Thomas Gould and John Pemberton, Clerks.
1776 January 30. Isr[ael] Pemberton ALS to [James Mook]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Sends a copy of Moses Brown’s letter soliciting aid for New England’s poor.
1777 August 3. Benjamin Chew and Joseph Wharton DS; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Copy of Joseph Wharton’s will leaving land for a Quaker Meeting House and making provisions for two slaves who are to serve his wife four years before being freed and given a lot on his plantation. Includes a partially printed document signed by Benjamin Chew, "Register General for the Probate of Wills," attesting to the accuracy of the will.
1777 December 1. [Thomas Gilpin] AMs; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
“The substance of some expressions used by T.G. when leaving Philadelphia.” Gilpin was exiled for loyalist ties. Notes God's protection of the poor and of Philadelphians, even though they do not notice it.
1778 September 25. J[ohn] Fothergill & A[nn] Fothergill ALS to [John Fothergill]; Lea Hall, [England].
Condolences on death of a child. Planning a visit to Nantwich and Birmingham and discusses a potential tenant on an estate.
1778 September 28- October 5. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] AMs Cy to [Bradford Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends]; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Extract of minutes, including care of imprisoned Friends, obligations to "such Negroes & their Children who have been restored to freedom," convincing women to give up slaves, opposition to declarations of allegiance and payment of taxes to support war, education of youth, Journal of John Churchman, disapproval of forcible possession of Meeting Houses, disapproval of liquor. James Pemberton, Clerk. Copied by Nathan Coope.
1782 July 22. Ms. Doc.; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
"A List of Free Negroes living in the Southern District, who live with Members of the Society or have been liberated by them." Lists names of free African Americans, who liberated them, their general age, place of residence, number of children, and occupation. Notes the questions the "Committee for the southern District" asked the African Americans in their district, relating to employment, piety, education, free time, marriage, and keeping accounts of births and deaths. Also lists "Free Negroes residing in the Southern District who were either born free purchas'd their times or have been liberated by persons not Members of our Society." [In African American History Collection]
1782 September 7. [Philadelphia Meeting for Sufferings] D Cy to [Pennsylvania General Assembly]; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Petition to have more time to consider response to the Free Quakers' memorial, which “contains many misrepresentations and injurious accusations.”
1782 September 17. Samuel Kinsey DS; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Samuel Kinsey's disposition regarding a Quaker who carried information across British lines to inform General [George] Washington of a British design to cut off Colonel Morgan and was subsequently disowned by his Meeting. Sworn in the presence of James Pemberton and Nicholas Waln.
1784 June 13. [Richland Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] DS; [Richland, Pennsylvania].
Testimony on the life and works of Susanna Morris, including 40 years of ministry at home and in Great Britain, Ireland, and Holland. Signed by Samuel Foulke, Clerk, and transcribed by Israel Foulke.
1787 November 16. Ann Fothergill ALS to John Fothergill; London, [England].
Family news, health concerns, and effects of sea bathing at Brighthelmstone.
1788 May 12-19. [London Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] ALS to [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [London, England].
Epistle of Women Friends signed by Patience Chester, encouraging the teaching of children in Quaker traditions. Writes of Rebecca Jones and John Pemberton visiting. Patience Chester, Clerk.
1788 June 4. Lindley Murray ALS to [John Pemberton]; Holdgate, [England].
Discusses general news, poor health restricting travel, shipping of books, and producing new editions.
1789 November 20. Jam[e]s Pemberton DS; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Abstract of an invoice of "sundry books shipd by James Phillips in London" per the order of London and Philadelphia Quaker Meetings for Suffering in 1773. Books include journals and works of Quaker ministers, such as William Edmunson, John Richardson, and Elizabeth Bathurst. Includes details on their bindings (calf or sheep), costs, and additional shipping, insurance, and duty charges.
1792 January 26. Lindley Murray ALS to [John Fothergill, Jr.]; s.l.
Precautions against the adverse moral effects of hunting and vain amusements.
1792 September 24-28. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] DS; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Extracts from the minutes signed by Hannah Cathrall, to attend to the "sorrowful causes of complaint" which were raised by the Men's Meeting. Anna Cathrall, Clerk.
1796 September 26- October 1. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] DS; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Extracts from the minutes encouraging more diligent attendance of Meetings, careful speech to each other, and watchfulness over children's education, language, dress, and reading habits. Rachel Saunders, Clerk.
1801 April 22. [Philadelphia Meeting for Sufferings] Partially printed DS; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Subscription list for relief of suffering in Great Britain and Ireland due to "scarcity and excessive high price of Provisions."
1804 April 25 [post]. Sarah Wister AMs Cy to G. Jones; [Germantown, Pennsylvania?].
"A few lines written by Sally Wister in her memorandum Book." Includes remembrances of her mother's illness, death, and song and poetry written shortly before her mother's death.
1805 September 25. John Elliott ALS to [Thomas Mackaness]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Philadelphia and New York visited by sickness, attributed to God’s will. Discusses the state of mourning and extends sympathy for loss.
1807 January 1-1808 March 13. Jesse Williams AMsS; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Daily record of wind and weather conditions in Philadelphia, state of the streets and the Delaware River. Mentions a house fire and the death of John Shoemaker.
1808 June 6-7. R. H. [Rebecca Hornor Coates?] ALS to [Sarah Hornor]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Includes references to the week days in the Quaker style. Friend Thomas has “renewed all his attention” on Sarah, but R. refused to let him read her letter. Acknowledges that Jo Coates read her letter after R. left it laying out on the sofa, and R. promises “to put thy next into my work basket, for it is not worth while to put them out of the parlor for the first few days after their reception as so many of thy friends always want to see them.” Remarks on house cleaning and the challenges of tending to an infant. Mentions family news, social visits, Whitsuntide bells. Includes a note, “George & Rebecca, chiefly R Coates 1808-1809.”
1809 September 15. John Shreve ALS to Mary Ridgway; Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Family news and illness. Timothy Smith being reinstated in the Society of Friends.
1811 September 1 [post]. [Miami Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Cy; [Miami, Ohio].
Regarding the late John Simpson and his testimony throughout Ohio. Notes his sickbed professions in Waynesville, including an endorsement of African American freedom and religious instruction, believing that they would return to Africa as God's Ambassadors. Copied by John Watson.
1813 May 25. L[indley] Murray and H[annah] Murray AL to [Eliza Fothergill]; [Hetogate?].
Hopes she is feeling better and offers use of their carriage.
1813 November 24. [Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Ms; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Disownment of Thomas Wharton for military service.
1814 April 17-22. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Yearly epistle calls for return to simplicity and self-denial, attention to children's education. Catharine Morris, Clerk.
1814 May 18-27. [London Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [London, England].
Yearly epistle signed by Ann Lucas, expressing general care, concern, and religious advice.
1815 October 9-12. [Baltimore Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting]; [Baltimore, Maryland].
Yearly epistle discusses continued attention to deficiencies and notes that Meetings have been well attended. Mary James, clerk.
1816 March 21. Isaac Hicks ALS to Sally [Hicks]; North Salem, [New York].
Notes Quaker meetings attended at the Valley, North Salem, Amawalk, and Peekskill. Will be travelling to Croton, Chappaqua, Croton Valley, North Castle, and Purchase. Comments on Hannah Field and David Sands proposing to travel to England, supporting Hannah but believing David "very like a Child." Mentions "Uncle E. H." visiting friends.
1816 September 2-7. [Ohio Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Mount Pleasant, Ohio].
Yearly epistle notes the need to "invite others who are Standing at a Distance near." Muses on the quick passage of time and the need for religious diligence, the number of women Friends visiting, and concern for youth. Ruth Graves, Clerk.
1816 November 20-22. [Virginia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Gravelly Run, Virginia].
Yearly epistle discusses gratitude for strength and unity amidst hardships, care for children, sympathy and concern for African Americans and desire to improve their condition. Deborah Harris, clerk.
1817 March 24. Arnold [Mitchel?] ALS to [Bejamin Mitchel]; s.l.
Letter regarding the welfare of his family and physical ailments. Provides details on provisions and the beginnings of his farm, including housing materials, livestock, and land. Request for money and intent to purchase more land.
1818 July 13. [Haddonfield Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] LS to [Buckingham Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends]; [Haddonfield, New Jersey].
Religious works of Elizabeth Balderston, visiting families in the Haddonfield region. Joseph C. Swett and Ann H. Swett, Clerks.
1819 May 17-19. [Virginia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Wain Oak, Virginia].
Yearly epistle expresses concerns over children, slavery, and the religious and literary instruction of African Americans in Quaker families. Margaret M. Crew, Clerk.
1819 May 22. Thomas Livezey ALS to Abigail Livezey; Wissahickon, [Pennsylvania].
Thoughts on nature, religion, and the temporary state of the world. Financial difficulties in Philadelphia. Describes Wissahicken and discusses family members. Quotes Edward Young's Night Thoughts . See also Thomas Livezey ALS to John and Abigail Livezey July 27, 1821.
1819 December 28. Elias Hicks ALS to [William Poole]; Jericho, [New York].
Pleased with account of Baltimore Meeting where Hicks settled a dispute. Encourages investigation and questioning of his doctrinal arguments. Mentions letters from St. Domingo and possible plans to publish them.
1820 April 11. Cynthia ALS to [Sarah Winslow]; Salem, [Massachusetts].
Family news. Opening a schoolroom. Divided opinions on the preaching of Micah Ruggles and concerns over rising party spirit. Requests for new books, old copy books, and clothing.
1821 July 27. Thomas Livezey ALS to John Livezey and [Abigail?] Livezey; New York, [New York].
Describes New York City. Brief notes on his journey to New York by the Citizen's Coach. Comments on Broadway, the Battery, and Navy Yard, which leaves him "meditateing upon the depraved state of these enthusiastic deluded fellow mortals." Comments on health impacts of New York's "disgusting water, which they make passable by put[t]ing an abundance of Ice in it." Heading to New Haven and Bedford. See also Thomas Livezey ALS to John and Abigail Livezey, May 22, 1819.
1821 October 11. W[illiam] R. Hazard ALS to [John Wilbur]; Pleasant Valley, [New York].
Notifying his parents of the birth of his daughter. News of family and friends. Asking after "an appeal case in your Quarterly meeting which they think has been rather strangely conducted."
1822 October 7-11. [Indiana Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Indiana].
Second yearly epistle discusses the school for Native Americans opened in conjunction with Baltimore and Ohio Yearly Meetings. Expresses concern over slavery and protecting African Americans' rights and "their civil and religious improvement." Margaret Hatten, Clerk.
1824 July 3. W[illiam] C[raig] Brownlee ALS to William A[nderson] McDowell; Basking Ridge, [New Jersey].
Comments on religious divisions at Morristown and Newark, including calls for ministers and their ability to raise large sums to offer them. Mentions his publication on Quakerism [likely A Careful and Free Inquiry into the True Nature and Tendency of the Religious Principles of the Society of Friends ], noting his displeasure with his publisher. Discusses the public reaction to the book, quoting flattering letters and a negative one from a Philadelphian Quaker. Notes the reactions of the “Quaker press,” with one review calling his historical sources into question, but believes it has only served to bring his work into broader public view. Mentions religious periodicals, including the Berean , Christian Repository , and Christian Spectator . Notes remodeling of his church, his receiving a new pulpit, and the steeple of Morris Church being struck by lightning.
1826 August 6. AL; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Incomplete letter regarding Quaker activities. Writes of Martha Smith in Rhode Island and the disapproval of her methods, which are attributed to poor parenting. Notes Emmor Kimber's loss of standing in the Society and the difficulty of regaining it. Anna Braithwaite returned to England for a family visit but will return to continue in her ministry.
1828 August 4 & September 1. [Buckinhgam Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] 2 MsS; [Buckingham, Pennsylvania].
(2 pages [total])
Endorsement of Martha Smith’s visit to the New York Yearly Meeting and subscription list to defray the expenses of the trip. Thomas Paxson, Jr., and Ann J. Paxson, Clerks.
1828. [Chesterfield Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Ms; [Chesterfield, New Jersey].
Account of the creation of a Quaker school at Crosswicks, instructions to cover cost for families who cannot afford to pay, and an account of the Treasury. Notes division in the Meeting, disputes over the Meeting House, and a desire to reunite.
. [Jacob Ritter] AMs; [Richland, Pennsylvania].
Journal of a Quaker Minister recounting his childhood, religious awakening, service during the American Revolution, and time as a prisoner of war. Describes his struggles to establish himself in Philadelphia and his turn to Quakerism. Tells of the 1793 Yellow Fever outbreak and Hicksite division. Includes an account of a trip to Maryland and Charleston where he intervened to stop the use of liquor.
1829-1888 and undated
1829 April 3. Thomas Andrews ALS to Mary Andrews; Rochester, [New York].
Comments on Orthodox Quakers in Rochester. Mentions Post Office boxes. Recently married Lavinia Gilbert, who he describes. Includes a postal cancellation error: "Rochester Y. N."
1829 May 25-29. [New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends] Ms; [New York, New York].
Epistle discussing Quaker divisions and public speculation about it. Disputes over property. Clarifies position on Scriptures. Samuel Mott and Mary Bristol, Clerks.
1829 October 13. Phoebe P[ost] Willis ALS to [Isaac Post]; Jericho, [New York].
Family news and health issues. Notes the illness and death of John Hicks following a difficult conversation with Orthodox members. Strife between Orthodox and Hicksite members.
1831 January 13. Lydia Rushmore ALS to Isaac Post; [North Hempstead, New York].
Visit of Phebe Meritt and Rachel Hicks. Cautions on buying and selling cattle. Family news and illnesses.
1831 April 21. Sam[ue]l Tuke ALS to [Eliza Fothergill]; s.l.
Acceptance of a gift of books.
1835 January 1. Phoebe P[ost] Willis ALS to Isaac Post; Jericho, [New York].
John Mott says alterations in discipline since separation have been due to the weak state of the Society. Report on Quaker Meeting. Uncertainty about sending children to John Mott's school. Account of mother's illness and family news. Tells of Priscilla's travels in Canada, her husband's distaste for it, and her connection to Lydia Mott. Discussion of slaveholding and printing a manuscript by Charles Marrcot.
1835 [February] 1. E[dward] G[ifford] Dillingham ALS to Abram Dillingham; Providence, [Rhode Island].
Quaker student lists the typical menu offered at the "Y[early] M[eeting] B[oarding] S[chool]." News of friends and family, including the marriage of D. [Samuel Boyd] Tobey and Sarah Fry. Notes a sermon preached by W[illia]m Asbury, cleaning the schoolroom, and the local Quarterly Meeting. Discusses going into the wheelwright business with Abram and is glad to hear he is "building a vessel."
1836 December 4. [C. M.?] Lee ALS to Sarah A. Lea; West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Quaker schoolgirl letter. [Note: Original located in Education Collection]
1837 March 6. Caroline Braithwaite ALS to [Alfred Cope]; Kendal, [England].
Met William Wordsworth (1770-1850) who was preparing to travel to Italy and is sending his signature [not included], despite Cope’s dislike of his poetry. Popular education efforts among the poor and meetings for reading the Scriptures. Sorry that Elisha Bates (1781-1861) did not visit Cope and assures Cope that they do not interpret his disagreement with Bates as unkindness, likely in reference to the Beaconite Controversy. Believes Robert Benson may have informed Cope of their religious conflicts among local Quakers, including some leaving the Meeting. Has not been reading any geological books lately, referencing William Buckland’s (1784-1856) works and their religious implications. Discusses a local farmer discovering matter preserved in a bog which may have been animal or human remains. Gives an account of Anna Gurney (1795-1857), a paraplegic woman living with Sarah Buxton at Northrepp’s Cottage, describing her active lifestyle, efforts on behalf of seafaring safety, linguistic accomplishments, and work as a secretary for Thomas Fowell Buxton (1786-1845) and educating sailors’ orphans. Inquires about Cope’s opinion of John Wilkinson’s writings, commenting on his religious development. Remarks on Orthodox Quakers, hesitancy in discussing differing religious views, and her brother Bev [Joseph Bevan Braithwaite, 1818-1905] researching early Quaker works.
1837 March 12. A[braham] Barker ALS to [Alfred Cope]; Burlington, [New Jersey].
Receipt of books and pamphlets dealing with the Hicksite controversy. Describes his attempts to be patient with differing opinions but remains strong in his own convictions. Describes Elizabeth Griscom's pulmonary disease.
1837 March 18. Moses H. Beede ALS to S[amuel] Bettle; Lynn, [Massachusetts].
Stresses the importance of the founding thinkers of the Society of Friends and believes that the Society’s early principles are enough for Friends to exercise “all the duties, civil and religious that are required of the Christian.” Distractions from the worship of Christ are a serious threat to morality. Remarks on “our late lamentably distinguished reformer” [Elias Hicks]. Does not believe that the Society must ally with “popular movements of the day” to participate in civil and religious duties. Quotes the “Thousand Tongues,” condemning Quakers for not helping the abolition movement. Laments the current weakness of the Society. Expresses his apprehensions about the Society getting involved in a “channel” that they cannot control – and so possibly put them “in direct collision” with their most dear principles. Requests examples of concrete instances where Friends have served the abolitionist cause.
1837 March 22-24. Catharine [Williams] and B. W[illiams] ALS to [Margaret Williams]; Bridgewater, [New York].
Sister and mother ruminate on Margaret’s difficult decision on a seemingly romantic matter. Note transgressions in clothing and relationships, and the desire for "literary acquirements" in a partner. Discuss selling land, knitting, yarn, and production of dairy products and clothing.
1838 May 10. Eliza[beth] Fry ALS to [Lucy Cruikshank]; Upton, [England].
Condolences on death of sister.
1839 February 18. E.C. Tyson ALS to [Alfred Cope]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Dreariness of Virginia landscape attributed to slavery. References Garrison and a dissatisfaction with "ultra-Abolitionists." Discusses female acquaintances, Thomas P. Cope and Mary Ann Cope, a steamboat event, and work on researching a history.
1839 April 13. John Wilbur ALS to [Thomas B. Gould]; Hopkinson, [Rhode Island].
Commentary on dissention in Friends' meeting with Gurneyites and draft of an Anti-Gurneyite petition. Mentions Thomas Nichols, Rachel Gardner, and George Reed. Possesses an account of George Fox's death and burial.
1841 June 15-16. Patt[ ] ALS to Thomas [B. Gould]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Mentions letters and books received, family news. Excerpts from a “communication delivered by dear Ann Jones” at a Quaker meeting for Thomas and John Wilbur (1776-1854). Jones speaks of a brighter day approaching for Quakers and for those “living in the faith, the true faith of the Gospel.” Applauds John Wilbur’s refusal to “meet those vile people” any longer, believing it “no more unconstitutional than their demanding the interviews or appointing the committee in the first place.” Annoyed by music from an organ and music box.
1841 July 30. Sarah ALS to Catharine Tilton; Poughkeepsie, [New York].
Married Quaker woman discusses her absent husband, botanical studies with William Gibbons, and attendance with a number of female acquaintances at a series of Anatomy and Physiology lectures, which include mannequin dissections. Notes discomfort at the mixed-gender nature of public anatomy lectures and the establishment of an alternative lecture series for women. Justifies her attendance by noting the respectability of the women. Discusses postage costs and reading materials.
1841 December 6. Ms Cy; [Uwchlan, Pennsylvania].
Concerning Pax[s]on Vickers, who “had a birth right and Education in the Society of Friends,” marrying outside the faith. Vickers was disowned after failing to provide “evidence that his connection with the society would be useful to either,” until he can “unite with Friends and condemn his transgression of our Order.” Issued at Uwchlan Monthly Meeting held 12th Month 6th 1841.
1842 October 9. Ann King ALS to Joseph Carpenter; Ferrisburgh, [Vermont].
Believes suicide is not against scripture and discusses the mental and physical state of a friend that led to her suicide. Discusses capital punishment and hireling priests. Charles Burleigh will visit and help preserve the anti-slavery movement and some would like Abby Kelley to visit. Discusses anti-slavery publications and the determination to do what is right, regardless of the discipline of the Meeting. Questions the effectiveness of the Society in its work against slavery. Levi Carroll, a fugitive slave, is visiting and being sent on to Canada.
1843 March 2. Benjamin Hallowell ALS to James [S. Hallowell]; Rockland, [Maryland].
Benjamin gives accounting instructions, at least part of which relate to education. He will be attending the Baltimore Quarterly Meeting and then will commence lecturing. Includes a mathematical problem with a geometrical solution.
1843 March 10. Ethan Foster ALS to [Thomas B. Gould]; Westerly, [Rhode Island].
Comments on Wilburite-Gurneyite strife in the Meeting, the disownment of Wilbur, and a planned appeal.
1843 October 13- 1852 May 31. [Eli Hampton] AMs; [East Caln Township, Pennsylvania].
Spiritual journal of Quaker minister reflects on anxieties and provides details of Preparative, Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings. Travels to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Providence, and Dearfield, as well as visiting local families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Opposes slavery and notes when Meetings address it, referencing anti-slavery lectures and the free produce movement. Barred from an African-American congregation. Many references to Amos Harvey.
1844 February 17. Phoebe W. Mindeshall ALS to [Emily Howland]; [Indianapolis, Indiana].
Comments on her isolation and reminisces about friendship. Millerites are abundant and are expecting the destruction of the world. Notes abolition sentiment in Indiana.
1845 January 22 - 23. W[illia]m D. Parrish and Richard [Price] ALS to Edward Hicks; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Edward Hicks's bill for items purchased from Parrish, mostly relating to his alphabet blocks. Apologizes for not being able to sell more sets of alphabet blocks for Hicks, despite advertising in newspapers. Price gives details on some of Hicks's boxes of alphabet blocks. Notes on the Quaker Monthly Meeting, George F. White, and the "wild notions, which has distracted many of our friends." Religious reflections on suffering and grief. Bemoans a colleague's abolition sentiments, "for they only bind the chains more sorely upon the poor slave, & makes the Free coloured Man fly from many of the Slave States-- they are very far from being the real friends of the Bond Man." Brief notes on abolition societies' "splitting into parties & divisions, which will hurry them into oblivion."
1845 February 14-19. Joseph Elkinton ALS to Mary Elkinton and children; Lowville, [New York].
Laments the death of Thomas Kite and its impact on the Philadelphia Quaker community. Details of his recent travels in snowy weather and William's poor health. Describes attending various Quaker meetings. [Located in Oversize Manuscripts]
1845 November 2. S. H. E. ALS to Thomas B. Gould; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Has been installed as assistant teacher at Friend’s Select thanks to an aunt's intervention. Discusses social niceties and negotiations surrounding visits, including an outing to the Franklin Institute, and attempts to avoid men's advances. Expects separation in Baltimore and struggle in Philadelphia. Need to insist on testimony against Gurney. Wishes she was a member of the Meeting of Sufferings and compares herself to John Quincy Adams.
1846 September 1. Joseph Snowdon ALS to Thomas B. Gould; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Financial details of paying off a mortgage. Harvard has few Quaker books but a growing demand. Friends' Book Committee forwarded books and pamphlets, although they, too, are running low on items relating to the Gurneyite schism. Requests publications for A. Sewal’s history of the Friends. Cope and Roberts have gone to Ohio Yearly Meeting to comfort Friends in the controversy.
1848 December 16. Ellen Kimberly ALS to Ellen B. Ellyson; [Iowa].
Farm work has become too much for Ellen Kimberly and her husband, and they are going to retire from business and move to Salem, Henry County, Iowa. Salem has a large Seminary, with excellent teachers. Describes school accommodations and education in Iowa. Concerned that niece is socializing with a rough crowd and visiting bad neighborhoods. Mentions John Ellyson's steam saw and grist mill operation and a horse-riding accident.
1849 March 17. Rachel ALS to [Jonathan J. Comfort]; Pennsylvania Manor, [Pennsylvania].
Reminiscences about her time in Michigan and laments the decline of correspondence that follows marriage. Family updates and preparations for visits. Worried about Joseph Gibbons possibly moving to California. Mentions health concerns, division of family land, finances, prices of food, and the appreciation of bonnets. Notes a visiting minister from Tennessee who seems "inclined to Gurneyism" and displeasure with ministers visiting members without approval.
1850 October 11. Elizabeth ALS to Rebecca [Walton]; Westerly, [Rhode Island].
Compliments Rebecca's talents as a historian. Yearly Meetings will be trying until they come to a decision on “the great question” and laments the slow progress on resolving the divide. Discussion of actors on both sides of Wilburite separation, illness, and the American Medical Association at Cincinnati. Description of domestic duties, family visits, and travel.
1853 January 8. K. McArthur AMsS; s.l.
Essay on the calm, dignity, and helpfulness of Quakers, along with their history of oppression.
1853 March 16. Ann Scatergood ANS to “Friend”; Concordville, [Pennsylvania].
Welcomes Scatergood’s visit. Included embroidered band “I love thee AS.”
1854 March 21. John Meader ALS to H.A. Meader; Providence, [Rhode Island].
Learned of H.A. Meader's safe arrival. Doing well at home and at the store. Health news, including reflections on the expected death of a local woman, her composure and family, and illness of her daughters with scarlet fever.
1854 April 14. Wartburg ALS to “Cousin Abby”; Clay, [Ohio].
Approves of attending school. Attended a Quaker wedding at Richland, “quite a curiosity.”
1854 July 11. Pr Doc. to [Joeph Rhoads]; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Invitation to funeral of Friend Robert L. Pitfield.
56 March 28. Alfred Cope ALS to "Surprising Children" [Elizabeth Cope and M.A. Cope]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Affectionate, joking letter to his children discussing letter-writing and education. Cautions them to ignore the "foolish bird that chirps in the bushes," and details how Native Americans attempted to avoid distractions and bad advice.
1856 April 1- September 25. Sarah Anna Townsend Harvey AMs; [Chester County, Pennsylvania].
Schoolgirl’s diary noting visits, weather, and attendance at school.
1858 June 11. W.G.N. ALS to Lizzie; New York, [New York].
Will not be attending the Quaker Yearly Meeting at Newport. Notes the hot weather and fleas, as well as the New York upset over Swill Milk. Travel plans and family news. Offers advice about disobedient male students. “As to those boys, if I couldn’t whip them I would turn them out... Thee engaged to teach, not to fight, which friends are scrupulous against.”
1858 October 22. S[amuel] B[ettle], Jr. ALS to [Mary Bettle]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Jesse and Ellen married in Haverford Meeting. Notes the sickness and funeral of Hannah Chandler and physicians' interest in her case. Takes steamboat rides to enjoy fall leaves.
1859 February 28. Mary Ann Taber and L[ouis] Taber ALS to "Sister"; Rural Retreat, [Ohio?].
Discusses Seman’s work at a steam mill in Florence and his being offered a well-paying job to tend the mill at Pike’s Peak. Mentions a couple who circulate a paper from their lyceum. Mary Taber’s aunt opposes her going to Iowa. Time is occupied with their children; remarks on their education and progress in James Montieth’s geography text. Mentions the coming of spring and gifts given to Mary Ann on her recent birthday. Hopes to clear debts by shearing time, and comments on farming and harvesting maple syrup. Includes an excerpt of a poem Louis submitted to the Evening Star for publication.
1859 September 2-3. Richard Davis ALS to Richard [Davis, Jr.]; Long Plain, [Massachusetts].
Comments on Quaker boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island, noting young ladies who have attended. Discusses lack of educated men, produce, and recommendation of a doctor for a toenail ailment. Notes the “uncommon brilliant” Northern Lights.
1861 May 25. Char[le]s W. Morris ALS to “Brother”; Washington, [D.C.]
Sympathy letter full of sorrow and affection, written on illustrated Civil War stationary decorated with “Death to Traitors.”
1861 June 30- July 1. R. R. ALS to [Ann R. Mintern]; Ferrisburgh, [Vermont].
Description of life in the family home, lending sympathy with a woman's trials and struggles with cleaning, mending clothes, cooking, gardening. Domestic and family news, including discussion of depression and missing family, the shipment of petticoats, almonds, frocks, and candy for the children. Includes short notes written on the envelope.
1862 April 29. S.B. Shoemaker ALS to Margaret [Hallowell]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Family news. Brother stationed at Yorktown and the family worries. Would like to plan a visit but needs to arrange child care. Ann bears the loss of her daughter very hard.
1862 December 13. Benj[ami]n Hallowell ALS to James S. Hallowell; Sandy Spring, Maryland.
Recovering from illness. News of weather, family, and condition of roads.
[after 1863 July]. Ms; s.l.
Manuscript containing a description of a meeting between Abraham Lincoln and five Quaker prisoners of war who had been forced into the Confederate Army and were captured by Union scouts at Gettysburg. After being held prisoner for months at Fort Delaware, they were interviewed by a committee at Washington to determine their loyalty to the Union. While in Washington, they visited with President Lincoln to express the Society of Friends' respect and support. [Note: Original located in Schoff Civil War Letters & Documents]
1864 June 28. Benj[ami]n Hallowell ALS to George J. Evans; Sandy Spring, Maryland.
Reflections on merciful death and the spirit after death. Good weather and healthy crops.
ca. 1865. [Chester Monthly Meeting of Women Friends] D; [Chester, Pennsylvania].
Subscription list for contributions received from the Chester Monthly Meeting of Women Friends for the relief of the Freedmen. Notes unpaid subscriptions.
1870 March 3. Thomas Warner ALS to Charles Stokes; Wrightstown, Pennsylvania.
Notes on descendants of William Buckman and Esther Buckman. William Corbit to publish a "Catalogue of the descendents" of those who accompanied William Penn on the ship Welcome .
1882 December 19. Elisa S[eaman] Leggett ALS to [Walt Whitman]; Detroit, [Michigan].
Discusses health, old-age, her daughter's wedding, and their decision to invite Whitman. Describes Quaker meetings, their solemn silence, and an infant's death.
1888 September 18. Alfred H[arry] Love ALS to Grover Cleveland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Opposes the Chinese Exclusion Act and "retaliation." Approves of Cleveland's policies on fisheries. Written on illustrated "The Universal Peace Union" letterhead, featuring an image of the William Penn peace treaty.
Undated. [Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends] AL Cy to [New York Yearly Meeting of Women Friends]; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
Yearly epistle noting spiritual concern and advice. Catharine Morris, Clerk.
Undated. Daniel Stroud ALS to Jacob Stroud, et al; s.l.
Invitation to Quaker Meeting in a sick-room.
Undated. M. Wing ALS to Mary [Gifford]; s.l.
Regrets that they were preoccupied during Mary's last visit. Thoughts on Mary's religious impact on the children and her relationship with her brother. Religious notes on God's care and support. Complements Mary on her attention to her parents. Brief mention of the death of her sister. Anxiety over her sense of her religious shortcomings. In pencil, a religious note on trusting in God.
Undated. Geo[rge] H. Wing and Hannah ALS to Lizzie; New Bedford, [Massachusetts?].
Letter written from the point of view of a five-week-old infant nephew to his long-absent aunt. "Father calls me a little raskill because I make him get up earlier in the morning than he wants to…I have seen ever so many folks lately and all the women want to hold me, and sometimes when I don't like them I vomit all on them and then they give me right back to mother." Family news and visits. Brief notes on making clothing and trying to convince Lizzie to visit.