Collecting area: Rhode Island

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 IslandAntislavery movements--Rhode IslandProvidence (R.I.)--HistoryQuakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

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

Types of material

Minute books
Rhode Island Monthly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite : 1844-1864)

Rhode Island Monthly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite) Records

1844-1875
3 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 W553 R463

Established within the Wilburite Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting in 1844, the Rhode Island Monthly Meeting (Wilburite) was a small product of the Separation of 1844-1945 within the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. By 1863, the men’s meeting had declined to such an extent that only a single member remained, and therefore for a year, join meetings were held with the women’s meeting. The meeting was laid down in April 1864, with members transferring to Providence Monthly Meeting (Wilburite), although a handful of members rejected the decision to disband and continued to meet through the end of the year.

This small collection contains a nearly comprehensive minutes for the men’s and women’s meetings of the Rhode Island Monthly Meeting (Wilburite), along with a volume of records of births, marriages, and deaths.

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)
Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite)

Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite) Records

1844-1934
8 vols. 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 W553 R4638

Following the Wilburite separation in the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends in 1845, the Wilburite “smaller body” reconstituted the structure of the Quaker church. The Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting was formed after the split overseeing four monthly meetings in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts, most of which were relatively short lived.

The records of the Wilburite Rhode Quarterly Meeting include a relatively complete set of minutes and thorough documentation of the Ministers and Elders.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting, April 2016

Subjects

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

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
Scott, Job, 1751-1793

Job Scott Collection

ca.1790-1946
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 931

A traveling minister for the Society of Friends, Job Scott was born in Providence, R.I., in October 1751. After a spiritual experience at the age of 19, Scott became deeply religious, joining Smithfield Monthly Meeting, and at the age of 22, he took a position teaching the children of Moses Brown, helping to convince Brown to join the Society in 1774. Removing to Springfield, Mass., at the time of the American Revolution, Scott was authorized as a traveling minister, eventually visiting communities from New England to Georgia and England. A quietist in principle, he preached and wrote about both the importance of the Inward Light and the importance of scripture, insisting on the dependence on the immediate movings of the spirit that in some ways prefigures the debate at the center of the Hicksite separation of 1827. He died of smallpox while traveling in Ireland in 1793. His posthumously published journal was highly influential throughout American Quakerism.

The Scott collection is a slender compilation of works by and about the Quaker minister Job Scott. In addition to a thin folder of family materials, the collection includes several unpublished essays by Scott (Brief remarks upon the knowledge of the one Lord; Salvation by Jesus Christ the most important of all subjects; Remarks on the nature of salvation; and On perseverance), several of his published works, and research notes and a biographical essay about him compiled by Jessie G. Carter (1940-1946).

Gift of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

Quakers--Rhode IslandSalvationSociety of Friends--DoctrinesSociety of Friends--Rhode Island
Sisson, Charles

Charles Sisson Diary

1864 Feb.-1865 June
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1083

At the time of the American Civil War, Charles Sisson attended the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. An active member of the Society of Friends, Sisson was apparently a dedicated student and avid member of the literary society. After graduation, he pursued an enormously successful career in the textile industry, becoming a founder of the Hope Webbing Company in 1883, one of the nation’s largest narrow-fabric manufacturers.

Kept by teenaged Charles Sisson, this diary includes regular entries describing a student’s daily life at the Friends Boarding School in Providence R.I. In addition to occasional details on coursework, Sisson describes his social activities in some depth, and often with some humor. With rare exceptions, the larger currents of the Civil War served as little more than a backdrop, although the future of liberated slaves appeared as a topic for debate at the Lyceum, and marching was taken up as an activity by the students.

Gift of I. Eliot Wentworth, June 2019

Subjects

High school students--Rhode Island--ProvidenceMoses Brown SchoolProvidence (R.I.)--History--19th centuryQuakers--Rhode Island

Types of material

Diaries
Slade Family

Slade Family Papers

1776-1892 Bulk: 1838-1845
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 934
Depiction of Caroline Talbert
Caroline Talbert

The children of a textile investor, Mary and David Slade were students at the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence, R.I., during the late 1830s. Both died tragically of consumption at a young age, David at 24 and Mary at 28.

The Slade family papers consist largely of the personal correspondence of the ill-starred David and Mary Slade, dating from and just after their time as students at the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence, R.I. Written primarily by schoolmates and friends, with a few letters from David and Mary themselves, the letters include some fine examples of the intimacy of young people, with their sights set on their schooling or beginning to make their life.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)Moses Brown SchoolQuakers--Massachusetts--19th centuryStudents--Rhode Island--19th centuryWomen--Education--19th century

Contributors

Fry, John E.Slade, David, 1819-1844Slade, Mary, 1821-1850Stevens, Emily D.Wing, Rebecca A.

Types of material

CorrespondenceDiariesExercise books
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)
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)
South Kingstown Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends)

South Kingstown Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends) Records

1740-1943
12 vols., 2 boxes 3.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S556

The South Kingstown Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends was the home meeting of John Wilbur and as such, the epicenter of the Wilburite separation of 1845. A part of Rhode Island Quarter, the meeting became a locus for the Wilburite separation of 1845 when the membership at South Kingstown rebuffed efforts to discipline Wilbur. After being suspended from 1842 to 1847, the Gurneyite South Kingstown Monthly Meeting was laid down in 1899.

The records of South Kingstown Monthly Meeting contain an extensive set of minutes, though sparse in the post-separation years, along with vital records, records of meeting disciplinary cases, certificates of manumission for people enslaved by members of the meeting, and miscellaneous other content.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Quakers--Rhode IslandSociety of Friends--Rhode IslandSouth Kingstown (R.I.)--Religious life and customs

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of FriendsWilbur, John, 1774-1856

Types of material

EpistlesMinutes (Administrative records)
South Kingstown Monthly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite: 1845-1945)

South Kingstown Monthly Meeting of Friends (Wilburite) Records

1755-1944 Bulk: 1845-1903
9 vols. 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 W553 S556

As the home of John Wilbur, South Kingstown Monthly Meeting was at the epicenter of the Separation of 1845 within the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. The South Kingstown Monthly Meeting (Wilburite) was formed in 1845 from members of South Kingstown and Greenwich Monthly Meetings and placed under the care of Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting. It was one of only three Wilburite monthly meetings to survive through the unification of 1945, when it became Westerly Monthly Meeting.

The relative success of South Kingstown Monthly Meeting (Wilburite) did not parlay into a large body of records. The collection contains one volume each of official minutes from the men’s and women’s meetings, two slender volumes from the Select Preparative Meeting, a letterbook, and a slender volume of vital records.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2016

Subjects

Quakers--Rhode IslandSociety of Friends--Rhode IslandWesterly (R.I.)--Social life and customsWilburites

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Vital records (Document genre)