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Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records: Meeting for Social Concerns (1969-1974)

 Collection — othertype: SW/Phy/758
Identifier: QM-Phy-758

Scope and Contents

The records of the Meeting for Social Concerns include minutes from the Meeting itself from 1968 through 1974, and minutes from various committees from 1958 through 1991, as well as financial papers, publications, correspondence, and personnel recruitment and hiring information; also miscellaneous documents, letters, and flyers from various events attended or sponsored by the Meeting, its committees, or their members; and other miscellaneous committee and personal memorabilia from travel and events.


Series 1 contains the records of a predecessor committee, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Urban Crisis. Series 2-19 contain administrative records for the Meeting for Social Concerns. Series 20-21 contain records on the external activities of the Meeting for Social Concerns, documenting the relationships of the MSC with individuals and organizations outside of PYM, including projects of the MSC as a whole, not under direct Program Committee supervision, funding proposals referred to the MSC, and conferences.


  • Creation: 1958-1980


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Certain files, as indicated in the finding aid, have restricted use until 2050. Details available in repository.

Conditions Governing Use

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

A Committee on Social Concerns was formed in 1968 by the Representative Meeting of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) on the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Urban Crisis. Responsible for all programs and activities related to race, poverty, and the urban crisis, the new committee was viewed as a response to contemporary conditions. Proponents felt a critical need to make the structure of the PYM more responsive to the problems of urban America.

The membership of the new Committee came from merging six existing committees of the PYM, focused broadly on the areas of social concern, whose functions were "absorbed" by the new Committee: Alcohol Problems, Prison Service, Race Relations, Social Order, Social Welfare, and the Chester Project. Its Executive Committee included representatives of all of the merging committees.

A "Meeting for Social Concerns" was approved by the PYM in 1969. Restructured as a Meeting, membership was open to all. Minimal leadership was provided by an Agenda Committee which consulted with staff and convened the Meeting itself. A greater need for structure was soon recognized, and a Steering Committee replaced the Agenda Committee in 1970. At this time, individual monthly meetings were asked to appoint representatives to the Meeting on Social Concerns. The change reflected a widespread feeling that the MSC was increasingly dominated by non-Quakers and that the level of participation by Friends in MSC was not as expected.

In addition to administering the Committees under its jurisdiction, the Meeting for Social Concerns itself sponsored programs, projects, and conferences. It also cooperated with other religious and social agencies in a number of ventures, including the National Council of Churches and the Coalition for Indian Defense, and made small grants from a discretionary fund to a variety of groups engaged in social change. The Meeting for Social Concerns was convened at many local Friends meetings over a wide geographical area, to provide an opportunity for increased participation and to share concerns and social involvements.

In 1974, the Meeting for Social Concerns was laid down after six years of work. A new Coordinating Committee for Testimonies and Concerns assumed its functions and experience.


14 linear ft. (32 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Meeting for Social Concerns began as the Committee for Social Concerns with a deliberately loose structure and open membership. It assumed direction of numerous social action committees within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. After the Meeting for Social Concerns was laid down in 1974, these committees were placed under Coordinating Committee for Testimonies and Concerns (CCII).

Physical Location

This collection is stored at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.


Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records: Meeting for Social Concerns (1969-1974)
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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 or requesting repoductions from Quaker Meeting Records at Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library