Young Friends' Association (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Scope and Contents
- Philadelphia Young Friends' Association (Organization)
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
Biographical / Historical
The organizational meeting was held in October 1888 at the home of Robert M. Janney in Philadelphia. Among those present were Janney's sister, Mary, Isaac Roberts, William W. Birdsall, David L. Lukens, Charles Paxson, Elgar M. Townsend, and other Hicksite Friends. One of the stimuli for its formation was the recent publicity surrounding the Young Peoples' Society for Christian Endeavor. The Quakers felt that a similar group was needed in the Society of Friends; in fact, the success of their effort in turn prompted the formation of over thirty similar “Young Friends Associations” in and near Philadelphia by 1893.
The Young Friends Association elected Janney the first President. The name of the organization invited much spirited discussion, but finally William W. Biddle's suggestion was approved because it was felt that the word “Young” would serve to attract younger Friends, while older Quakers would not be limited by age in their right to membership. A simple constitution provided for the forming of four committees: History, Literature, Discipline, and Current Topics. Although the group was not officially recognized by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, meetings were held in Race Street Meeting House. The Association met monthly, and at each meeting a paper on some topic of interest was read by its author. Large meetings were held during Yearly Meeting. In 1895, the YFA of Philadelphia joined the General Association of Young Friends Associations, which merged with Friends General Conference in 1900 (See: RG4 Friends General Conference).
After a few years, it became apparent that a larger site was needed, for the Association as well as other Friends' activities. Through the generosity of individual Friends like Anna T. Jeanes, property was purchased at the corner of 15th & Cherry Sts. and a five story building was erected in 1899. In 1904, the structure of the Association itself was changed, and the old committees dropped in favor of a Sectional Committee having the power to undertake any projects which “might at various times seem advisable.” As this work expanded, it became necessary to become an incorporated body. This was accomplished in 1912. The first action of the new corporation was to take down the original building, and to erect on its site a new eight story structure, later called the Whittier Hotel. This location provided increased accommodation for Friends activities, including an auditorium, several committee rooms, offices, a restaurant, and a number of rooms for long-term residents and others visiting the City.
The Sectional Committee began to conduct pilgrimages, or visits, to local meetings, and to undertake service projects. By the late 1920's, however, this Committee asked to be discontinued because their work was being duplicated by a number of other Quaker organizations, including the Young Friends Movement. This was not immediately accomplished, but the focus of the group began to shift more and more to a social function and to the management of The Whittier Hotel. In 1945, the name of the group was changed to The Whittier, Inc. By the 1950s, the building was out-dated and no longer competitive as a hotel or social center. It was leased to Jefferson Medical College in 1955-1959 for use as a dormitory for nursing students, and thereafter to International House. In 1957, the group changed its name to The Whittier Association. In 1970, International House moved to West Philadelphia, and the Whittier was sold to the Philadelphia Redevelopemnt Authority in 1971. In 1974, its assets were merged with Trustees of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and the funds were used in part for financing the building of Friends Center.
The Young Friends Association was similar in function to the Friends Institute, an Orthodox organization, founded in 1880.
13 Linear Feet (27 boxes)
- History, Constitution and Bylaws
- President's Files
- Minutes and Reports
- Financial Records
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donor: H.Mather Lippincott, Jr., 2000 (Accession #2000-051) Donor: Fort Myers Friends Meeting, 2017.034 Donor: Friends Center, 2018.067
- Germantown Friends' Protest against Slavery (facsimile), 1688 to PG 6
- Minutes of Devonshire Monthly Mtg., 9/9/1800 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC)
- Extracts of Minutes, London Yearly Mtg. 1744 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC)
- Extract of Minutes, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1749, 1750, 1758, 1770, 1771-1785, 1790-1799, 1805, 1847 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC)
- Extracts of Women's Minutes, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 9/25/1786, 4/18/1814 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC)
- Minute of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for Sufferings, 4/16/1785 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC).
- Committee report to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting on subject of Spirituous Liquors, 4/10/1788 to MEETING PAPERS (MISC).
- Letter from Robert Proud to the Overseers of the Friends Public School in Philadelphia, 8/8/1786, inquiring whether the Overseers or the Monthly Meeting own the property on which the Meeting House and school are built, and whether the Overseers have a rule that all shall be Friends. Remarks added 12/22/1789 on the duties of the Overseers and other Friends to the schools and scholars to PROUD MSS., folder C.
- Verse on Yearly Meeting Friends leaving for home, n.d. to MISC MSS, Friends, Society of. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Verse.
- Two Discourses and a Prayer Pubically Delivered on Sunday the 17th and Tuesday the 19th days of May, 1767, at the Quakers Yearly Meeting, in Bristol, catalogued.
- Reports of Indian Committee to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1807, 1818 to PG 1.
- Representation of Grievances to the Assembly and Council of Pennsylvania, 12/6/1781 to PG 1
- Extracts of Minutes (Printed), Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1800-1804, 1806-1816, 1818, 1822-1827 to SG 2.
- Large pictures of The Whittier and its auditorium to Oversize Chart Case under “Whittier”
- The Friends Intelligencer 3/29/1902 to Duplicates.
- Community centers -- Pennsylvania
- Hotels -- Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia Young Friends' Association
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Quakers -- Social life and customs
- Quakers -- Societies, etc.
- Societies -- Pennsylvania
- Societies -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Taverns (Inns) -- Pennsylvania
- The Whittier Association
- Whittier (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Youth -- Pennsylvania
- Youth -- Religious life
- Youth -- Societies and clubs
- Philadelphia Young Friends' Association (Organization)
- Whittier (Philadelphia, Pa.) (Contributor, Organization)
- The Whittier Association (Contributor, Organization)
- Lippincott, H. Mather, Jr. (Horace Mather), 1921-2010 (Contributor, Person)
- An Inventory of the Philadelphia Young Friends' Association Records, 1888-1976
- FHL staff
- ca. 1972, 2005
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
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