Biographical / Historical
In 1955, the reunified Philadelphia Yearly Meeting authorized the merger of the former Orthodox business office at 304 Arch Street and the Central Bureau of the Hicksite branch at 1515 Cherry. The Committee in charge of the offices met and organized under the name of the Committee on the Central Bureau, as a subcommittee of Representative Meeting; they decided to call the office the Friends Central Bureau. In 1957, this name was changed to the Office of the Yearly Meeting.
Staff members at the time of the reunification included William Eves, Howard G. Taylor, Marguerite Hallowell, and Richmond P. Miller. By 1957, William Eves was named General Secretary, and Taylor and Miller Associate Secretaries. The Arch Street Yearly Meeting had appointed its first Yearly Meeting Secretary in 1918, William B. Harvey, whose budget included his own salary, clerical assistance, and office expenses; Harvey served until 1937, when he was suceeded by Edward W. Evans. The latter was reappointed until his retirement in 1946, when Howard G. Taylor (1890-1967) assumed the role; Taylor resigned in 1958. The Hicksites named Jane P. (Jane Palen) Rushmore the General Secretary of its new Central Bureau in 1911; Rushlore served until she retired in 1945. At that time, the Yearly Meeting divided her responsibilities among three secretaries, one each for Office, Field, and Education. Marguerite Hallowell, Office Secretary, retired in 1956. Richmond P. Miller (1902-1972), who began working for the Race Street branch in 1939 doing field visiting for the Social Service Committee, became Field Secretary of the Central Bureau in 1945, and retired as Associate Secretary in 1968. William Eves served as General Secretary until 1963. Succeeding General Secretaries of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting include the following:
- Francis G. Brown 1964-1982
- Samuel D. Caldwell 1982-1990/1
- Edwin E. Staudt 1990-1994
- Nancy Middleton 1994-1995
- Thomas H. Jeavons 1995-2006
- Arthur Larrabee
At the time of the reunification, the Central Bureau provided clerical assistance to the Yearly Meeting and to other Quaker groups on a fee basis. By 1966, the Office was providing stenographic and switchboard services, mimeographing, bookkeeping for certain committees, and addressing services for PYM; it also coordinated fieldwork (visitation).
Representative Meeting was reorganized in 1970, and the Office Committee was laid down. Its duties were temporarily transferred to the new Personnel Committee. In 1974, three "Coordinating Committees" were set up: Education and Care of Members (CC-1), Testimonies and Concerns (CC-2), and General Services (CC-3).
In 1990, Representative Meeting appointed the Long Range Committee; its report was submitted to Yearly Meeting in March of 1994. When unity could not be reached on some of its recommendations during a special session in October of 1994, a Structure and Workings Committee was appointed; this Committee was comprised of all of the Clerks of monthly and quarterly meetings. The report of the Structure and Workings Committee was approved by Yearly Meeting in 1996. At that time an Implementation Committee was created to work out the details.
In 1997, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was restructured from three Coordinating Committees to five Standing Committees, and Representative Meeting was renamed Interim Meeting. A General Services Standing Committee was given broad responsibility for oversight of "those administrative functions which enable the ministry of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting," roughly divided into four areas, i.e. Finance, Personnel and Administration, Conferences, and Property.