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Austin, Samuel

Samuel Austin Collection

1718-1920
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 937

An historian and educator, Samuel Austin (1816-1897) was known for his long association with the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. (later renamed the Moses Brown School). An alumnus who married an alumna, Elizabeth H. Osborn, Austin taught at the Boarding school for decades and was instrumental in gathering and preserving documents relating to the school. He wrote and lectured regularly on the history of Friends’ education and on the Boarding School, and its noted teachers and alumni.

A product of the historical work of Samuel Austin, the collection contains both essays, notes, and talks on the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and on Moses and Obadiah Brown, and some significant original documents used by Austin in his research. Noteworthy among the original materials are a fascinating series of records from monthly and quarterly meetings in and near Rhode Island, mostly in 1787-1793; a rich series of epistles received by Smithfield Monthly Meeting from other meetings in New England (1718-1767); some key printed epistles from Yearly Meetings, including those on war (London, New England, and Philadelphia Yearly) and slavery (London and Philadelphia). Of equal note are a series of letters from Elisha Thornton (a New Bedford merchant, educator, and antislavery advocate), a lengthy letter on doctrine from John Wilbur, and a 1765 sermon from Rachel Wilson.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • Antislavery movements
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quaker women--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Quakers--Education--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
  • Society of Friends--History--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)
Buffington, Zephaniah, 1771-

Zephaniah Buffington Account Book

1803-1808
1 envelope 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 226

Quaker merchant and farmer from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Includes two major notations about a large cheese purchase and the sale of hoes in Washington County, New York. Also contains inventories of goods, notations for notes payable and notes receivable, and accounts of his farm (including amounts of cheese made, accounts of farm tools, and the keeping of cows and sheep).

Subjects

  • Bristol County (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Cheese
  • Cheesemakers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Dairying--Economic aspects--Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Hoes
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Quakers--Massachusetts--Bristol County
  • Quakers--New York (State)--Washington County
  • Washington County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

  • Buffington, Zephaniah, 1771-

Types of material

  • Account books
Gould, Thomas

Thomas Gould, A list of the names of publick Friends, who have visited New England

1838
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 903 bd

Born in Middletown, R.I., on May 25, 1730, Thomas Gould was part of an extended Quaker family in Newport County and descendant of one of the first Quaker converts in Rhode Island. Enjoying success as a “mechanic” and farmer, according to Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (1908), he married Alice Chase of Portsmouth in March 1757 and raised a large family of five boys and five girls. Gould died on May 3, 1795.

This slender volume includes a chronological record visits to New England by Public Friends: Quakers who were considered to have a special gift in prayer or public speaking and who often traveled widely to minister.

Subjects

  • Quakers--New England

Types of material

  • Booklets
Howland family

Howland Family Papers

1727-1886 Bulk: 1771-1844
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.

Subjects

  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Temperance--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Bassett, William, 1803-1871
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
  • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
  • Howland, Daniel
  • Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
  • Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
  • Moses Brown School
  • New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
  • Society of Friends--Controversial literature
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
  • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records

1654-2016
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 England
  • Society of Friends--New England--History
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 States
  • Gurney, James Joseph
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Wilbur, John,

Contributors

  • Comstock, Elizabeth L.
  • Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
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 Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

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

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Poetry
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, and mental hospitals. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith, Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until they were discontinued in October 1942.

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.

Subjects

  • American Friends Service Committee. Civilian Public Service
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors

Types of material

  • Newsletters
Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade

Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade Minute Book

1789-1827
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 935

Founded in 1789, the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade was an early antislavery organization forged in the unique political and social climate of post-Revolutionary Rhode Island. An interdenominational organization with a membership comprised largely of Quakers, the Society served as a self-appointed watchdog for violations of the act abolishing the slave trade and they provided funds to prosecute violators and to support African Americans fighting for their rights in state courts. The Society lay essentially dormant from 1793 to 1824 , when it was revived as an all-purpose antislavery organization, and it appears to have ceased operations in 1827.

The minute book of the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade are an essentially complete record of the organization’s formal meetings. The volume begins by laying out the organization’s constitution and includes listings of officers and members and summary records of their activities.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • African Americans--Rhode Island
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Providence (R.I.)--History
  • Quakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Howell, David, 1747-1824

Types of material

  • Minute books
Civilian Public Service Camps

Civilian Public Service Camp Newsletter Collection

1941-1944
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 537

Born out of a unique collaboration between the United States government and the historic peace churches, the first Civilian Public Service Camps were established in 1941 to provide conscientious objectors the option to perform alternative service under civilian command. Nearly 12,000 COs served in the 152 CPS camps in projects ranging from soil conservation, agriculture, and forestry to mental health. While the work was supposed to be of national importance, many of the men later complained that the labor was menial and not as important as they had hoped. Furthermore with no ability to earn wages and with their churches and families responsible for financing the camps, many COs, their wives and children found themselves impoverished both during and after the war.

During their time off, many of the men in the CPS camps published newsletters discussing education programs, which frequently involved religious study, work projects, and news about individuals sent to family and friends back home. This collections consists of newsletters created in camps in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, and Colorado.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2009

Subjects

  • Civilian Public Service--Periodicals
  • Conscientious objectors--United States
  • Pacifists--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors--United States

Types of material

  • Newsletters
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