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Japan Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records

Identifier: QM-Phy-839

Scope and Contents

Each of the major incarnations of the Japan Committee (listed above) possesses its own sets of minutes and financial records, and these are listed accordingly. In general, however, the subjects and interested parties remain consistent irregardless of the group's formal title, and so this Finding Aid is organized by subject wherever possible. Series as listed in the left-hand sidebar.

Correspondence where it has not already been indexed to one of the series below, remains loose and organized by author and date. These include extensive collections from Esther B. Rhoads, Edith F. Sharpless and Janice Clevenger. A very large collection of these letters (Correspondence:Miscellaneous covering 1883-1961) is indexed by folder and date only, however. An index by author does exist in PRINT form in Haverford College's Special Collections.

PLEASE NOTE: Within Haverford's archive, material was previously organized according to which of two accessions they belong to, a distinction that remains part of their physical locations below. The first, the Sarah Swan Accession, generally covers the Friends Foreign Missionary Association and the Mission Board. It consists of 17 boxes. The second accession, the Cooper, extends up to the dissolution of the Japan Committee and consists of 24 boxes. All location indexes (below) begin with either 'A1' or 'A2', indicating the Swan or Cooper accession respectively. It is helpful, but not mandatory, that researchers include the accession information when requesting items.


  • 1882-1974


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.

Biographical / Historical

The Friends Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia undertook a great deal of mission work in Japan between 1885 and 1972. The PYM supported the creation of a Tokyo Friends Center (largely for visitation), Girls' School, several Monthly Meetings, and eventually the Japan Yearly Meeting. The financial contributions of Philadelphia Quakers were an important element of this support, and was supplemented by their direct administration of the Girls' School and Friends Center.

According to Clarissa B. Cooper, collator of Haverford's second major accession regarding Quaker mission work in Japan:

"Late 19th century concern for mission outreach abroad jelled when Inazo Nitobe and Uchimura san, students at Johns Hopkins University, suggested the need in Japan for education of girls. The Women's Foreign Missionary Association was formed by women of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting." Their family men shared the interest and the joint Foreign Missionary Association was formed. This later became the Mission Board of the PYM. As Japan Friends took more and more responsibility, the term Japan Committee replaced Mission Board. In the 1970s, impuse towards planetary concern and the capable and deeply spiritual responsibility of Japanese Friends led to the closing of the formal, intimate relationship between Japanese and Philadelphia Friends and the formation of the International Outreach Committee. Friends Girls School concern is in the hands of the Friends Council on Education; the precious intervisitation is fostered by Friends World Committee for Consulation; service expertise is readily shared by the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Service Committee (London)."

Specifically, the missionary work of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has been organized under the following committee names:
  1. 1882 - 1898: Women's Foreign Missionary Association of Friends of Philadelphia
  2. 1899 - 1923: Foreign Missionary Association of Friends of Philadelphia
  3. 1923 - 1950: Mission Board
  4. 1951 - 1974: Japan Committee
  5. 1974- : International Outreach Committee


10 Linear Feet (38 boxes)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

A Finding Aid for its Meeting Records Deposited in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College and Haverford College Library Quaker Collection
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Society of Friends: 1676- : Delaware County, Pa.).
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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