The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Quakers

Obadiah Brown's Benevolent Fund

Obadiah Brown's Benevolent Fund Records

1814-2015
3 boxes, 7 vols. 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 956

Upon his death in 1822, Obadiah Brown bequeathed $100,000 from his sizable estate to support the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I., with much of the rest endowing a charitable fund that bears his name. A committed Quaker and philanthropist like his father Moses, Obadiah stipulated that the annual income from his benevolent fund be directed “principally for the benefit of our religious society” and assist in spreading “our Religious Principles where they are little known.” Independent of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends and administered by twelve trustees, the Fund over the years has supported Quaker education, the publication and distribution of religious literature, and other projects that provide “benefits to the Religious Society,” including work in peace and social justice. The Trustees also administer a separate fund with similar purpose established by 1914 bequest from Sarah J. Swift.

Beginning with records documenting the establishment of the Benevolent Fund, the collection documents nearly two centuries of philanthropic support for Quaker causes. In addition to copies of Brown’s will and the incorporating documents and by-laws, the collection includes a nearly comprehensive set of Trustees’ minutes and treasurer’s reports, with some supporting documents.

Gift of the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund, Mar. 2017

Subjects

Charities--New EnglandSociety of Friends--Charities
Orono Monthly Meeting of Friends

Orono Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1971-2007
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 O766

The Orono (Maine) Monthly Meeting of Friends began meeting as an independent worship group as early as 1960, but in 1969, continued as a worship group in 1969 under the care of the Vassalboro (Maine) monthly meeting. They continued as a worship group until 1973, when they were set off as an independent monthly meeting, and a member of the Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting. In the 2010’s, membership fluctuated with members moving out of state, and new members arriving and joining, though membership remained small. In the late 2010s, membership dropped again and the meeting shifted to being a worship group as of 2017.

The largest portion of the collection consists of a partially-complete set of minutes from 1971 to 2007 (lacking 2001-2003), that included annual State of the Society Reports; these have been filed separately for easier identification. The collection also has a substantial set of treasurer’s reports from 1973-2000 (lacking 1993), and a set of newsletters from 1977-1991. There is one report from a constituent preparative meeting–Still Waters Conservative Friends Meeting–in 2005. In addition, there are several folders with correspondence, committee reports, and some vital and administrative records.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

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

Types of material

Annual reportsCorrespondenceMinutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Parsonsfield Monthly Meeting of Friends

Parsonsfield Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1984
1 folder 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P377

In 1801, the Limington (Maine) Preparative Meeting–the forerunner of the Parsonsfield Monthly Meeting–was launched, under the care of the Falmouth (Maine) Monthly Meeting. In 1888, the Parsonsfield Preparative Meeting, begun in 1846, became the Parsonsfield Monthly Meeting, and joined the newly-formed Parsonsfield Quarterly Meeting including Parsonsfield in Maine, and Sandwich in New Hampshire. By 1938, this quarterly meeting returned to the Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, and the Parsonsfield Monthly Meeting went with it. By the late 1990’s, the monthly meeting had moved to Kezars Falls (Maine), and was laid down a few years later.

The collection includes a single folder of four newsletters from 1984 (Feb, Mar, Apr, Jul).

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

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

Types of material

Newsletters
Peck Family

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers

1772-1975 Bulk: 1830-1875
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

Antislavery movements--Rhode IslandDeath--PoetryFriends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)Quakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

Peck, Perez, 1786-1876Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945

Types of material

DiariesPoetry
Pembroke Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Pembroke Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1674-1988 Bulk: 1702-1876
7 vols., 1 folder 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P463

The town of Pembroke, Mass., was home to one of the oldest monthly meetings in the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. Established as the Scituate Monthly Meeting in 1672 and settled in Pembroke after 1706, the meeting operated until it was formally laid down in 1876. Worship groups met in Pembroke sporadically from 1964 to 1992.

The records of Pembroke Monthly Meeting contain an extensive series of both the men’s and women’s meetings from the early eighteenth century to 1876, when the meeting was laid down.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

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

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Vital records (Document genre)
Perry, Henry H.

Henry H. Perry Papers

1940-1942
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1019

A Quaker investment broker and attorney, Henry H. Perry was born in Rhode Island in about 1885. A prominent figure in the New England Yearly Meeting, Perry was called upon by the American Friends Service Committee to act as director of three of the Massachusetts Civilian Public Service Camps: Royalston, Petersham, and Ashburnham. Under the Selective Service Act of 1940, negotiations between the Selective Service and the major peace churches resulted in the creation of a system by which conscientious objectors were allowed to refrain from direct participation in the war, by serving instead in Civilian Public Service camps. Assigned to “work of national importance,” they filled in for war-related manpower shortages in a variety of areas, including the Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, mental hospitals, telephone line maintenance and repair, fire-fighting, and clearing fire debris that was left in the wake of the 1937 New England hurricane. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith (Nicholson), Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until they were discontinued in October 1942. Perry writes, in a letter dated November 1942, that he is “no longer connected to CPS;” his correspondence is addressed from Dover, MA, showing that he relocated to the Boston area. However, little information is available about him after the camps closed.

This collection consists of administrative and business records concerning the start up, operation, and shut down of the AFSC-run CPS Camps in Royalston, Ashburnham, and Petersham, Mass. Camp Directors were under mandatory orders to keep the strict records that make up the bulk of this collection—administrative documentation, correspondences, health records, itineraries, financial reports and budgets, all pertaining to camp operations. This documentation acted as a deliberate gesture, demonstrating the competency and legitimacy of CPS camp work to Selective Service authorities. However, this collection also contains some personal correspondence and notes not directly related to camp administration, that give a personal, everyday-life, glimpse at the stresses, struggles, and emotional labor, on the part of Quakers, who had to step up, come together, and make the best of a terrible situation: protecting and caring for conscientious objectors during a time of war.

Part of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, April 2017.

Subjects

Civilian Public ServicePacifists--MassachusettsQuakers--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors

Contributors

American Friends Service CommitteeSociety of Friends

Types of material

Newsletters
Plainfield Friends Meeting

Plainfield Friends Meeting Records

1971-2010
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P535

The Plainfield, Vermont, Monthly Meeting began in 1959 as a worship group under the care of the Burlington Monthly Meeting. In 1965, it was set off from Burlington under the care of Northwest Quarterly Meeting. It has since been the source of several other worship groups, including those at Barton-Glover (1984-1990), St. Johnsbury (1987-1990), Montpelier (1992-1993), and Peacham, meeting in Barnet (Vt.) (1995-present).

The bulk of this collection includes minutes and newsletters spanning approximately 40 years. In addition to these records, there is a smattering of correspondence and committee reports as well as information on finances, membership, day camp and various programs.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

Plainfield (Vt.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--VermontSociety of Friends--Vermont

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1952-1978
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P543

Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting was formed in 1952 when a group from the programmed Worcester Monthly Meeting sought unprogrammed worship. After more than a decade as an independent meeting, Pleasant Street came under the care of Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting in 1963, and a decade later, they began to hold joint meetings with Worcester, formally merging in 1979 to form the Worcester-Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting (later Uxbridge Monthly).

This small collection consists of photocopies of the two original minutebooks compiled by Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting prior to its merger with Worcester to form the Worcester-Pleasant Street Monthly Meeting (now Uxbridge Monthly Meeting).

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
Pondtown Monthly Meeting of Friends

Pondtown Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1991-1993
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P663

Pondtown Monthly Meeting of Friends, based in Winthrop, Maine, began as a worship group under the care of the Winthrop, Maine Monthly Meeting in 1982. After a year, it was set off from Winthrop Monthly Meeting to become a monthly meeting as part of the Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting. Eight years later, in 1991, the Farmington Monthly Meeting was set off from Pondtown.

The collection consists of six folders, containing minutes from 1991-1993, State-of-the-Society reports for 1991 and 1992, some correspondence and a query.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

Maine--Religious life and customsQuakers--MaineSociety of Friends--Maine

Types of material

Annual reportsCorrespondenceMinutes (Administrative records)
Portland Friends Meeting

Portland Friends Meeting Records

1973-2010
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 P678

The current Portland Monthly Meeting has its origins in two different monthly meetings taking place in close proximity to each other that later merged into what is now the Portland Monthly Meeting. Friends’ meetings in Portland, Maine began in 1752, and by 1790, joined the neighboring Falmouth Monthly Meeting. In 1850, the group built a new meetinghouse on Oak Street in Portland, and started becoming known as the “Oak Street” meeting. Meanwhile, the other of two originating meetings began when a second meetinghouse was built in 1855 on Forest Avenue to house the Deering Preparative Meeting that eventually became the Forest Avenue Monthly Meeting in 1934. The two separate monthly meetings continued in Portland until 1974 when they merged into one: the current Portland Monthly Meeting.

The current collection consists of materials dating from just before the start of the 1974 merger. Newsletters make up the largest portion of the collection, and have extensive information about the meetings’ activities, including (in some years) biographies of various members. There are newsletters from most years between 1973-2010. Minutes, primarily from the late 1970s and the late 1980s, make up the next largest portion of the collection. In addition, there is a smattering of committee reports and membership directories mostly from the mid-1990s. Material predating the 1974 merger can be found at the Maine Historical Society.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

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

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters