Biographical / Historical
William Isaac Hull (1868-1939), a Quaker and pacifist, taught history at Swarthmore College for 47 years, from 1892 to 1939.
Born in Baltimore, Hull attended the Friends Elementary and Secondary School in Baltimore prior to his studies at Johns Hopkins University where he earned a A.B. in 1889 and a Ph.D. in 1892. He also studied history abroad at the University of Berlin in 1891 and at the University of Leyden in 1907. Hull was the youngest faculty member at Swarthmore College when he was appointed Associate Professor of History and Economics in 1892. He served as Joseph Wharton Professor of History and Political Science, 1894-1904, Professor of History, 1904-1911, Isaac H. Clothier Professor of History and International Relations, 1911-1929, Howard M. Jenkins Research Professor of Quaker History, 1929-1939, and Librarian, Friends Historical Library, 1936-1939. In 1914 Hull went to the Netherlands Archives as Research Professor for the Carnegie Institution .
In 1898 Hull married Hannah Hallowell Clothier, member of the Class of 1891 of Swarthmore College. Both William and Hannah Hull were dedicated to the cause of world peace. William Hull was a pacifist, committed to world organization, disarmament, and international arbitration. He attended the Second International Conference at the Hague in 1907 and in 1908 published a history of the two Hague conferences (The Two Hague Conference and Their Contributions to International Law Boston, Ginn and Company, 1908), which was widely used as a text and a reference book. He was United States Delegate to the International Conference on Education at the Hague, 1914 and 1915; an official observer in Paris during the writing of the Covenant of the League of Nations; attended the Washington Naval Conference in 1922 and the General Disarmament Conference at Geneva in 1932. In 1914 Andrew Carnegie appointed Hull to be the Quaker representative on the board of the Church Peace Union, where he served as a trustee for many years. Hull was also a Director of the World Peace Foundation, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Arbitration and Peace Society, and was a frequent lecturer for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was active in or frequently communicated with most of the leading peace organizations of the period. Hull communicated extensively on peace subjects with officials in the United States government and with members of Congress. In 1928 his testimony opposing expansion of the Navy at a Congressional hearing aroused great public controversy, especially from the Daughters of the American Revolution and from various veterans organizations. His wife, Hannah Clothier Hull (1872-1958), shared in many of his peace activities. She was particularly active in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and her papers are preserved in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
Hull published numerous books and pamphlets on peace and international relations. Also, beginning in 1929, when he was appointed Howard M. Jenkins Research Professor of Quaker History, Hull wrote extensively on Quaker history, especially on Dutch Quakers and on William Penn. He planned a series of twelve monographs on Dutch Quakers, five of which were published by Swarthmore College. The others were not completed before his death, but his papers have extensive notes or drafts for most of them.