The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Collecting area: Quakers

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This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.”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 (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 Haven Friends Meeting

New Haven Friends Meeting Records

1940-2010
4 vols., 3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N494

The Friends meeting in New Haven, Conn., can be traced back to at least 1935, when a worship group there became affiliated with the independent Connectict Valley Association of Friends. With the general reunification of New England Friends in 1944, the Association became the Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting, and New Haven becoming a monthly, within the New England Yearly Meeting.

The records of New Haven Monthly Meeting contain a thorough set of minutes from 1940-2010, along with a small stretch of minutes from the worship group in Old Saybrook (1955).

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

New Haven (Conn.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--ConnecticutSociety of Friends--Connecticut

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
New London Friends Meeting

New London Friends Meeting Records

1980-1997
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N495

A monthly Quaker meeting affiliated with Connecticut Valley Quarter, New London Friends Meeting began in about 1964, when Hobart Mitchell moved to the area to join the faculty at Mitchell College and gathered together a small cadre of Friends to create an independent worship group. New London Friends were granted status as a monthly meeting in 1966, and secured a meetinghouse of their own in 1985.

The records of New London Friends Meeting consist of an incomplete set of minutes from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

New London (Conn.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--ConnecticutSociety of Friends--Connecticut

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

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

North Easton Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1980-1994
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N437

Responding to a concern expressed in the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends in 1971, Quakers in eastern Massachusetts set out to create an intentional Quakerly community for the care of elder Friends. The first meeting for worship took place in 1977, with the first residents moving in to Friends Crossing in 1979, leading to recognition of North Easton as a monthly meeting under Rhode Island-Smithfield Quarter in 1980. In the following years, however, the reduction in numbers of older members and decline in attenders, led to the decision in 1994 to lay down the meeting.

The records of North Easton Monthly Meeting document the short career of a meeting built around a planned Quaker intentional community. The relatively complete set of minutes is accompanied by a mixed, but useful body of financial records documenting the meeting’s dissolution.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

North Easton (Mass.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
North Fairfield Monthly Meeting of Friends

North Fairfield Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1979-1994
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N435

Quaker worship began in Fairfield, Maine, in 1784, under the care of Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, resulting in creation of a preparative meeting in 1803 under aegis of Sidney Monthly. Fairfield Monthly Meeting was set off in 1911, changing its name to North Fairfield in about 1935.

Documentation of North Fairfield Monthly Meeting is quite scant, consisting only of an incomplete set of newsletters and meeting calendars, 1979-1994, and some extracts from meeting minutes, including two referring to acceptance of same sex marriage. The early minutes of the meeting are apparently lost.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

North Fairfield (Me.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--MaineSociety of Friends--Maine

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Newsletters
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
North Shore Friends Meeting

North Shore Friends Meeting Records

1985-2010
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N6785

The North Shore Friends Meeting first took shape in 1979-1980 as a Preparative Meeting, meeting in Wenham, Massachusetts. In 1981, it was set off from the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Monthly Meeting, establishing itself as a Monthly Meeting in nearby Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. It is part of the Salem (MA) Quarterly Meeting.

The North Shore Meeting collections consists primarily of a run of monthly newsletter from May 1993 – Jan 2010, but also includes one folder of correspondence and one folder of several State-of-the-Society reports.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

Beverly Farms (Mass.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Types of material

Annual reportsNewsletters
Northampton Friends Meeting

Northampton Friends Meeting Records

1991-1999
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N678

The Northampton (Massachusetts) Meeting began as a monthly meeting set off from the Mount Toby monthly meeting in nearby Leverett, Massachusetts in 1994. In 1991, support for a Northampton meeting had begun to grow, so a preparative meeting, under the care of the Mount Toby meeting, met from 1991-1994. In 1994, a newly-established Northampton meeting was formed.

The collection includes almost all minutes from July 1991 through July 1993, as well as a State of the Society report for 1993. (See April 1993). The State of the Society report is called out in its own folder for 1994, the first year of the re-established Northampton monthly meeting. Then the minutes continue from September 1995 through July 1999.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

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

Types of material

Annual reportsMinutes (Administrative records)
Northwest Quarterly Meeting of Friends

Northwest Quarterly Meeting of Friends Records

1957-1989
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N67848

The Northwest Quarterly Meeting of Friends consists of a collection of monthly meetings located in northwestern New England, specifically from Vermont and western New Hampshire. It was formed out of the Upper Connecticut (CT) Valley Monthly Meeting and was set off from the Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting in 1959. It currently includes monthly meetings from Bennington (VT), Burlington (VT), Hanover (NH), Plainfield (VT) and Putney (VT).

The collection primarily includes correspondence from the start of the QM in 1959 to 1982, and is organized by clerk, chronologically. It also includes a partial collection of minutes, mostly handwritten from 1959-1974, and a folder of Ministry and Counsel committee minutes from 1964 and from 1970. There are six folders of administrative records (mailings lists and position statements) and a folder of miscellaneous logistical information sent to the membership about preparations for various quarterly meetings. There are also 2 additional boxes with an almost complete set of issues of the newsletter “The Nor’wester” from 1959-2005.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

New Hampshire--Religious life and customsQuakers--New HampshireQuakers--VermontSociety of Friends--New HampshireSociety of Friends--VermontVermont--Religious life and customs

Types of material

CorrespondenceMinutes (Administrative records)Newsletters