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New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative : 1845-1945)

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative) Records

1716-1945 Bulk: 1845-1945
13 vols., 6 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 W553

Doctrinal and cultural disputes roiled the Society of Friends in the United States during the early nineteenth century. While evangelical influence had grown within the majority of meetings in New England since at least the 1820s, resistance to the innovations grew too, culminating in a major separation of meetings in 1844 and 1845. A small, but significant portion of Friends coalesced around a Rhode Island Quaker minister, John Wilbur, a strong critic of the evangelical star Joseph John Gurney, to form a separate New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite) in 1845. Although most Wilburite monthly meetings were relatively small and short-lived, three persisted, reuniting with the “larger body” of New England Quakerism in 1945.

The records of the Wilburite New England Yearly Meeting consist of a nearly comprehensive set of minutes, records of ministers and elders, meetings for suffering, and epistles. The records are particularly strong for the period of division in the 1840s and reunion in the 1930s and 1940s. The records of Wilburite quarterly and monthly meetings are described separately.

Gift of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

New England--Religious life and customsQuakers--New EnglandSociety of Friends--New EnglandWilburites

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Quaker History Collection

1783-1950
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 926

During the early twentieth century, the library at the Moses Brown School (formerly the Friends Boarding School) became an informal repository for Quaker manuscripts reflecting the history and work of the Society of Friends. Most of these materials were later transferred for custody to the school’s governing body, the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.” Many of the letters appear to have been retained as good examples of Quaker expression of family and friendly bonds or as documentation about significant periods in Quaker history, particularly the Gurneyite-Wilburite controversy of the 1840s, and several touch on Quaker involvement in the antislavery and peace movements. Of special note are four interesting letters from the Quaker minister and social reformer, Elizabeth Comstock, written during and just after the Civil War; a series of nine lengthy letters from a visiting English minister Isaac Stephenson, traveling through New England meetings; a substantial series of letters from prominent Friend Samuel Boyd Tobey; and three letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Sarah F. Tobey regarding attempts to connect Stowe with Alexander T. Stewart in hopes of raising funds for her plans for the education of women.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

Antislavery movements--United StatesGurney, James JosephSociety of Friends--HistoryWilbur, John,

Contributors

Comstock, Elizabeth L.Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records

1633-2018
384.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902

In 1661, less than a decade after the first Friends arrived in British North America, the precursor to the New England Yearly Meeting was organized as the Rhode Island Yearly Meeting. As one of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthlies, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society. Like many Yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, Orthodox Friends in New England divided in the 1840s into the increasingly evangelically-oriented Gurneyites, who went by the name Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England (joining Friends United Meeting in 1902), and the Wilburites, sometimes called Conservative Friends. In 1945, the disparate branches formally reunited.

Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties suffered by Quakers for following testimonies). The Archives Committee of the NEYM is a partner in records management and on-going documentation of the Meeting and its constituent bodies. The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings. The records of most monthly meetings in Maine are held at the Maine Historical Society, while important bodies of records are held at the Newport Historical Society (some Nantucket and Rhode Island Meetings) or at individual Monthly Meetings.

An overview of the NEYM collections and a comprehensive inventory and finding aid prepared by Richard Stattler in 1997 at the Rhode Island Historical Society are available online. Stattler’s inventory includes materials in the NEYM Collection at UMass, as well as NEYM materials held at other institutions. SCUA’s updated inventory will follow in 2017.

Subjects

Quakers--New EnglandSociety of Friends--New England--History
Sandwich Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Sandwich Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1672-2019
31 vols., 6 boxes 5.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S263

The oldest continuously-organized Quaker meeting in North America, Sandwich Monthly Meeting began holding meetings for worship on 1657 and has been a center for the faith in Cape Cod ever since. Surviving the turbulence of nineteenth century Quakerism in relatively good order, the meeting today oversees three meetinghouses and four centers for worship on the Cape.

The records of Sandwich Monthly Meeting are suitably rich for a meeting of such age, including over three years of minute of meetings for business. Although the early years of the twentieth century are underdocumented and records of committees are mostly absence, coverage since the 1980s is relatively strong.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Cape Cod (Mass.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Sandwich Quarterly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Sandwich Quarterly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1679-2002
15 vols., 3 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S2638

One of the first quarterly meetings to be established within the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Sandwich has been conducting meetings for business since 1705, with meetings for worship extending back to as early as 1680. Sandwich Quarterly oversees monthly meetings primarily in Bristol County, Mass., Cape Cod, and the Islands. The Wilburite Sandwich Quarterly separated in 1845 and remained apart until the general reunion of Friends in New England in 1945.

Spanning more than three centuries, the records of Sandwich Quarterly Meeting contain a nearly complete run of minutes of meetings, records of Ministers and Elders, and other miscellaneous materials.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Massachusetts--Religious life and customsQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
North Sandwich Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

North Sandwich Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1931-2003
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N736

Quaker worship began in Sandwich, New Hampshire, in 1783 when a group of Friends settled there to avoid signing the pledge to support the American Revolution. Under the care of Dover Monthly Meeting, the settlement grew sufficiently that it was set off in 1802 as the Sandwich Monthly Meeting. With the shift of membership during the nineteenth century, the meeting in North Sandwich survived, evolving into and away from pastoral care.

The records of North Sandwich Monthly Meeting include minutes of meetings and newsletters beginning in the late 1980s. The bulk of the older records for the meeting are housed in the Sandwich Historical Society.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

New Hampshire--Religious life and customsQuakers--New HampshireSociety of Friends--New Hampshire

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Smithfield Quarterly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Smithfield Quarterly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1801-1979
13 vols. 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S6588

Set off from Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting in 1801, the Smithfield Quarterly Meeting of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends oversaw monthly meetings in three states. In Massachusetts, it cared for monthlies in Bolton (1801-1971), Uxbridge (1801-1907), and the successor to Uxbridge, Worcester (1907-1971); in New Hampshire it oversaw Richmond (1801-1850); and in Rhode Island, it was a parent to Smithfield Monthly Meeting (1801-1971). In 1971, Smithfield Quarter merged with Rhode Island Quarter to become Rhode Island-Smithfield Quarterly Meeting, which is now known as Southeast Quarter.

The records of Smithfield Quarterly Meeting include a nearly complete set of minutes of meetings, records of the Ministers and Elders, some financial records, and materials on the Bible school conference.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Quakers--Rhode IslandRhode Island--Religious life and customsSociety of Friends--Rhode Island

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
Smithfield Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Smithfield Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1711-2009
49 vols., 7 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S658

Founded in 1705, the Smithfield Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends is the oldest surviving institution in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and has been an important center for Quakerism in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for more than three centuries. Established as the Providence Monthly Meeting, the meeting changed name to Smithfield in 1731, and subsequently gave rise to both Uxbridge and Providence Monthly Meetings. A pastoral meeting since the late nineteenth century, Smithfield currently offers one unprogrammed meeting for worship monthly.

The records of the Smithfield Monthly Meeting document three centuries of an active meeting within the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. Beginning 1718, the collection includes comprehensive minutes for both men’s and women’s meetings (when separate); notices of births, deaths, marriages, separations, removals, and arrivals; accounts of the meeting’s Bible School held in the last quarter of the nineteenth century; records of the Ladies’ Aid and Women’s Foreign Missionary Auxiliary; and in more recent years, an extensive run of newsletters.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Bible--Study and teachingMissionaries--Rhode IslandQuakers--Rhode IslandSociety of Friends--Rhode IslandWoonsocket (R.I.)--Religious life and customs

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)NewslettersVital records (Document genre)
Worcester Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Worcester Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1890-2009
3 boxes, 4 vols. 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 W673

The intertwined history of the Society of Friends in Worcester and Uxbridge, Mass., began with the first meetings for worship in Uxbridge in 1767, under the care of Smithfield Monthly Meeting. Set off as a monthly meeting in 1783, Uxbridge reached its peak during the first half of the nineteenth century, but following years of decline, it changed its name and center to Worcester Monthly Meeting in 1907. A group from the pastoral meeting at Worcester broke off in 1952 to create the unprogrammed Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting, although the two meetings reunited in 1979. The Worcester-Pleasant Street Monthly simplified its name to the current Worcester Monthly Meeting before 2009.

The records of Worcester Monthly Meeting include a nearly complete set of minutes beginning in 1905, about the time it changed name from Uxbridge Monthly, and an extensive, though broken run of newsletters. The records of Uxbridge Monthly Meeting and Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting prior to the reunion with Worcester are described separately.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Quakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--MassachusettsWorcester (Mass.)--Religious life and customs

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Uxbridge Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Uxbridge Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1783-1898
12 vols. 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 U937

Located in Uxbridge, Mass., on the border with Rhode Island, Uxbridge Monthly Meeting was formally established in 1783. During the nineteenth century, this Quaker meeting was home to well-known abolitionists Abby Kelley Foster and Effingham Capron, but it declined in membership by 1900 and changed name to Worcester Monthly Meeting in 1907. A worship group currently meets in the historic Uxbridge Meetinghouse.

A small but important Quaker meeting, Uxbridge Monthly is documented by over a century of minutes, vital records, and other materials. The interrelated collections for Worcester and Pleasant Street Monthly Meetings are described separately.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Quakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--MassachusettsUxbridge (Mass.)--Religious life and customs

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Vital records (Document genre)