Collecting area: Quakers Page 2 of 2
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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 England
  • Society of Friends--Charities
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
Slade Family

Slade Family Papers

1776-1892 Bulk: 1838-1845
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 934
Image 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 School
  • Quakers--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Students--Rhode Island--19th century
  • Women--Education--19th century

Contributors

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

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Exercise books
Swift, Sarah J.

Sarah J. Swift Papers

1890-1942
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 932

A Quaker and philanthropist from Worcester, Mass., Sarah J. Swift was a noted supporter of Friends’ missions in Palestine and Jamaica for over half a century. The wife of D. Wheeler Swift, an innovator in the manufacture of envelopes, Swift began to support the Friends’ foreign missions by the 1890s, becoming a major benefactor of the Eli and Sibyl Jones Mission and girls’ school in Ramallah and of the small Quaker mission at Buff Bay, Jamaica.

The Swift papers contain a thick series of letters from the Society of Friends’ Eli and Sybil Jones Mission in Ramallah, Palestine, documenting their activity between 1890 and 1942, with a much smaller series of letters relating to the mission at Buff Bay, Jamaica. The missionaries’ letters — including circular letters to supporters and others addressed to Swift personally — discuss school operations and local affairs in Palestine and Jamaica. Of particular note are letters discussing the work at Ramallah around the turn of the twentieth century and several letters discussing the hardships of wartime and recovery from war.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • Eli and Sybil Jones Mission (Ramallah, Palestine)
  • Jamaica--History--20th century
  • Missionaries--Jamaica
  • Missionaries--Palestine
  • Palestine--History--20th century
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Jones, Alice W.
  • Kelsey, A. Edward
  • Vincent, Charles S.
Traprock Peace Center

Traprock Peace Center Records

1979-2008
ca.50 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 080

The Traprock Peace Center is a grassroots organization based in Deerfield, Massachusetts, that trains and educates people locally and globally in matters relating to disarmament and nonviolence. In 1980, the Center organized the first successful attempt in the United States to get a nuclear weapons moratorium referendum on the ballot, and the Center has served as a focal point for organizing on a wide array of issues in peace and social and environmental justice.

The records of Traprock Peace Center include correspondence, campaign materials (resolutions, organizing committee records, legislative packets), program reports, newsletters, newsclippings, and posters relating to the nuclear freeze campaign and many subsequent initiatives. Recent additions to the collection document the group’s work to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; these later additions are open for research, but are not processed.

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Traprock Peace Center
Restrictions: unprocessed materials in this collection have been temporarily moved offsite; these boxes are closed to research. Contact SCUA for more information.
White, Willis H.

Willis H. White Papers

1874-1966 Bulk: 1919-1942
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 929

A convinced Friend who became an advocate for peace, Willis H. White was a member of the East Greenwich Monthly Meeting. A secretary in the Providence-based real estate firm William H. White & Sons, White was active in several organizations promoting peace and spiritual renewal within the Society of Friends in the years after the First World War.

The bulk of Willis H. White’s papers are concentrated on his activities on behalf of peace, social justice, and the Society of Friends in the period 1919-1922. The collection includes materials documenting White’s work with the American Friends Service Committee and on invigorating the Society through the London Conference of All Friends and the evangelical Forward Movement of Friends, and there is a relatively small, but interesting series of letters from the labor and peace activist, A. J. Muste.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • Conference of All Friends
  • Forward movement (Evangelical movement)
  • Pacifism
  • Peace movements
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
  • World War, 1914-1918

Contributors

  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Bonell, Harold C. (Harold Charles), 1908-1977
  • Muste, A. J. (Abraham John), 1885-1967

Types of material

  • Ephemera
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