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Archives & Manuscripts

Annual Sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records

 Collection
Identifier: QM-Phy-1
Records of the annual sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting include minutes and other records such as epistles sent and recieved which pertain to those annual sessions. Also included are the records of those committees charged with the preparations for the annual sessions.

Dates

  • 1662-2013.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research. Access may be provided via digital or microfilm copy, per repository policy.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the individual Meeting or its successor. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Repositories as the holder(s) of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Extent

60 Linear Feet

Overview

A general meeting for Friends in the Delaware Valley area was first convened at Burlington in 1681. The first general meeting held in Philadelphia was in 1683, and in 1685, it was agreed that the meetings in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should be combined into one yearly meeting with alternate sessions at Philadelphia and at Burlington. The great Separation among Philadelphia Friends into Orthodox and Hicksite branches occurred at the Yearly Meeting of 1827. Through the course of the early 20th century, the PYMs began to draw back together until 1955 when organic union was formally approved, and a reunited PYM, the present organization, was created. Records of the annual sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting include minutes and other records such as epistles sent and recieved which pertain to those annual sessions. Also included are the records of those committees charged with the preparations for the annual sessions.

Biographical / Historical

A general meeting for Friends in the Delaware Valley area was first convened at Burlington in 1681. The first general meeting held in Philadelphia was in 1683, and in 1685, it was agreed that the meetings in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should be combined into one yearly meeting with alternate sessions at Philadelphia and at Burlington. Since 1760, all Philadelphia Yearly Meetings have been held at Philadelphia.

The are of the Yearly Meeting has diminished over time. Generally its territory now embraces eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, and the eastern shore of Maryland. in 1790, Warrington Quarterly Meeting and Fairfax Quarterly Meeting were transferred to Baltimore Yearly Meeting in exchange for the old meetings on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which formed Southern Quarterly Meeting. In 1819, several components of Western Quarterly Meeting were similarly transferred.

The great Separation among Philadelphia Friends occurred at the Yearly Meeting of 1827. From that year, there were two official Philadelphia Yearly Meetings, one of the Hicksite, the other of the Orthodox branch. Both were located in Philadelphia. Orthodox Friends retained possession of the meeting house on Arch Street and are often referred to as "Arch Street" Friends. The Hicksites are often referred to as "Race Street" Friends since their Yearly Meeting was held at a meeting house, built in 1857, on Race Street.

The two Yearly Meetings remained similar in structure, although the Orthodox Friends were fewer in number. There were some distinctions. Southern Quarterly Meeting was discontinued by the Orthodox in 1828; it continued with the Hicksites and evolved into the present Southern Half-Yearly Meeting. The Hicksite meetings in northern New Jersey were transferred to New York Yearly Meeting in 1833, while the Orthodox meetings in this area were retained by PYM. Several monthly meetings, including Muncy and Roaring Creek, in the central part of Pennsylvania, formed Fishing Creek Half-Yearly Meeting of PYM (Hicksite) in 1834; the Orthodox counterparts of these meetings retained part of Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting. The discontinuance of several Orthodox monthly meetings in New Jersey led to the formation of the combined Burlington and Bucks Quarterly Meeting in 1898 and Haddonfield and Salem Quarterly Meeting in 1904. The comparable Hicksite quarters did not merge.

Through the course of the early 20th century, the PYMs began to draw back together. Many standing yearly meeting committees, such as the Committee on Race Relations, Young Friends Movement, and Friends Peace Committee, perceiving concerns common to both branches of Friends, began to report to or receive appointments from both Yearly Meetings. As early as 1937, the two Yearly Meetings began to hold occasional business sessions together. In 1946, a new organization, Philadelphia General Meeting, composed of all members of the two Yearly Meetings, was formed to express the growing unity of the two Yearly Meetings. Its last session was held in 1954, but it was not until the next year that organic union was formally approved, and a reunited PYM, the present organization, was created.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit
Title
RECORDS OF PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING
Subtitle
A Finding Aid for the Records of its Annual Sessions Deposited in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College and Haverford College Library Quaker Collection
Date
2003
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Quaker Meeting Records at Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library