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Friends General Conference Records

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-025

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into four basic parts: (1) Predecessor Organizations, (2) Aministrative Committee Records, (3) Program Committee Records, and (4) Conferences.


  • Creation: 1867-2013


Conditions Governing Use

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Biographical / Historical

The Friends General Conference was organized in 1900 as the representative body of seven yearly meetings of Hicksite Friends: Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Genesee and Ohio. These yearly meetings had associated together previously in four other conferences, First Day School General Conference, founded in 1868; Friends Union of Philanthropic Labor, 1881; Friends Religious Conference, 1893; and Friends Education Conference, 1894. The Young Friends Association also joined the combined conference at Chautauqua, NY in 1900.

Since 1955 with the reunification of Philadelphia, New York, Canada (Genesee) and Baltimore yearly meetings, and the new membership of additional yearly meetings, Friends General Conference has increased its contituency. At present (1984) FGC includes eleven yearly meetings in North America: Philadelphia, Illinois, Lake Erie, Northern, Ohio Valley and South Central, as well as Baltimore, Canadian, New England, New York and Southeastern which are associated with Friends United Meeting also.

The FGC is organized into an operating committee, the Central Committee of One Hundred, and program committees. The Central Committee has the general responsibility for all concerns and activities. The Executive Committee, appointed by the Central Committee is responsible for the budget and coordination of the programs. The names of the program committees have changed over the years, but they generally reflect the original concerns of the Conference: First Day schools, philanthropy, religion and education.


47.7 linear ft. (106 boxes)

Language of Materials



Friends General Conference is a Quaker organization in the unprogrammed tradition of the Religious Society of Friends which primarily serves affiliated yearly and monthly meetings. For additional information about Friends General Conference, please consult their web site:


The collection is divided into four basic parts: (1) Predecessor Organizations, (2) Aministrative Committee Records, (3) Program Committee Records, and (4) Conferences.


The collection is organized into 17 series.

Ser. 1 First Day School General Conference Records, 1867-1900 (3 vols.) Box 1. A First-day Schools General Conference was held in Philadelphia in 1868, with representation from the Hicksite yearly meetings of Indiana, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Minutes include reports on the state of religious education in the Society of Friends and discussions of appropriate literature for First-day Schools.

Ser. 2 Friends Union for Philanthropic Labor Records, 1890-1900 (1 vol.) Box 1. In 1878, Illinois Yearly Meeting proposed a Conference having to do with subjects related to philanthropic labor. The first conference of the Friends Union for Philanthropic Labor was held in Waynesville, Ohio, in 1882, with delegates from Baltimore, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois Yearly Meetings. Committees on Prison Reform, Arbitration, Compulsory Education, and Temperance were formed. The 4th conference, in 1886, was held in Philadelphia; New York Yearly Meeting sent official representatives and the number of committees was expanded to include Corrupt Literature, Social Purity, Education of Colored People of the South, and Indian Affairs. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting joined in 1892.

Ser. 3 Education Committee Records, 1894-1897 (1 vol.) Box 1. The First General Educational Conference of Friends was held at the Swarthmore Conferences in 1896. Dr. Edward Magill of Swarthmore chaired the First Session. Isaac Sharpless, President of Haverford College, was in attendance but not among the official representatives. Topics included the maintenance of Friends' schools, the place of athletics in education, the influence of higher education on the Society of Friends, and professional teacher training.

Ser. 4 General Conference of Young Friends Associations Records, 1895-1923 and n.d. (.2 linear ft.) Box 1-2. Young Friends had held separate conferences since 1895, primarily in the Philadelphia area at the time of Yearly Meeting. They sponsored a session at the 1900 Chautauqua General Conference of Friends. When the formerly distinct Conferences were joined at Asbury Park in 1902, the Young Friends Associations were also represented.

Ser. 5 Swarthmore Conference, 1896 Records, 1895-1896 (.5 linear ft.) Box 2. The Swarthmore Conferences were held on the grounds of Swarthmore College in August of 1896. Representatives from the First-Day School General Conference, the Friends' Educational Conference, the Friends' Religious Conference, and the Friends' Union for Philanthropic Labor held sucessive sessions, with all but the latter overlapping by one day. Rufus M. Jones and an English Friend sat on the platform and made public remarks during the Friends' Religious Conference.

Ser. 6 Central Committee. When the decision was made at the 1900 Conference at Chatauqua to unite as one organization, a Central Committee, drawn from the founding bodies, was appointed by the seven Hicksite yearly meetings. Ten appointments were also made by the Young Friends Association's Executive Committee. After the reunification of a number of yearly meetings in the mid 20th century, new affiliates were added and the membership of the Central Committee was expanded. Constituent yearly and monthly meetings appoint members of the Central Committee every two years; representation on the Central Committee has generally been in proportion to membership of the constituent bodies.

Ser. 6 Central Committee

  1. Minutes, 1911-[ongoing] (2 linear ft.) Box 3-6
  2. Correspondence, 1974-1988. (.2 linear ft.) Box 6
  3. Reports, 1984-1992. ( .2 linear ft.) Box 6-7
  4. Mailings, 1970-1993. (1.5 linear ft.) Box 7-10
  5. Miscellaneous records, 1978-1993. (.2 linear ft.) Box 10-11

Ser. 7 Finance and Development Committees Together with the Treasurer, the Budget and Finance Committees are responsible for the obtaining and disbursement of funds.

Ser. 7 Finance and Development Committees

  1. Early Financial Records, 1894-1937. (.5 linear ft.) Box 12
  2. Finance Committee, 1939-1997. (2 linear ft.) Box 12-16
  3. Development Committee, 1950-1998. (1 linear ft.) Box 17-18

Ser. 8 Executive Committee

Ser. 8 Executive Committee

  1. Minutes, 1924-1999. (1.5 linear ft.) Box 19-21
  2. Correspondence, 1937-1950. (.25 linear ft.) Box 21

Ser. 9 Other Administrative Committees and Miscellaneous Records

Ser. 9 Other Administrative Committees and Miscellaneous Records

  1. General Secretary, 1982-1985. (.25 linear ft.) Box 22
  2. Personnel Committee, 1950-1998. (1 linear ft) Box 22-24
  3. Advisory Committee, 1988-1989. (.25 linear ft.) Box 24
  4. Structure and Long-Term Planning Committees, 1949-1997. (1 linear ft.) Box 24-26. In 1968, FGC began a process self-evaluation culminating in the 1969 “Objectives, Program and Organization of Friends General Conference.” A Working Party on FGC Structure was named ten years later. Formulating Committee was appointed by the Executive Committee in 1984, and produced a report, “Looking Ahead: FGC, 1985-1994.” A Committee on Discernment in Long Term Planning was formed in 1988. Many of the later committees used records from earlier committees in their reports, and many of the files as assembled contain these records.
  5. Property Committee, 1988-1998. (.5 linear ft.) Box 26
  6. Nominating Committee, 1962-1998. (.75 linear ft.) Box 27-28
  7. Interim Committee for Youth Involvement, 1995-1997. (.25 linear ft.) Box 28
  8. Miscellaneous, 1949-1999. (.5 linear ft.) Box 28-29

Ser. 10 Advancement and Outreach Committee

Ser. 10 Advancement and Outreach Committee

  1. Minutes, 1901-1997. (1 linear ft.) Box 30-32
  2. Correspondence, 1912-1998. (.5 linear ft.) Box 33
  3. Financial Records, 1902-1937. (.25 linear ft.) Box 34
  4. Annual Reports, 1910-1939. (.25 linear ft.) Box 34
  5. Miscellaneous, 1901-1985. (2.5 linear ft.) Box 34-40

Ser. 11 Religious Education Committee

Ser. 11 Religious Education Committee

  1. First Day School Committee, 1900-1926 (.25 linear ft.) Box 41
  2. Purity Committee, 1911-1924 (.25 linear ft.) Box 40a
  3. Education Committee, 1924-1966. (.25 linear ft.) Box 41
  4. Religious Education Committee, 1928-1994. (5 linear ft.) Box 41-46b

Ser. 12 Publication and Distribution

Ser. 12 Publication and Distribution

  1. Subcommittee on Publications, 1941-1951. (.25 linear ft.)
  2. Publication and Distribution/Publications and Communications, 1981-1999. (.5 linear ft.)
  3. Financial, 1982-1996. (.25 linear ft.)
  4. Administrative Records, 1957-2004. (.75 linear ft.)
  5. Committee and Staff Correspondence, 1984-1997. (1.5 linear ft.)
  6. Publications Mss. and Related Correspondence, 1978-1997. (1 linear ft.)
  7. Gathering Store, 1991-1995. (.5 linear ft.)
  8. Bookstore Committee, 1973-1995. (.25 linear ft.)
  9. Hymnal Committee, 1919-1996. (.75 linear ft.)

Ser. 13 Ministry and Nurture

Ser. 13 Ministry and Nurture

  1. Minutes, 1982-1998. (.25 linear ft.) Box 55
  2. Religious Life Committee, 1978-1981. (.25 linear ft.) Box 55
  3. Marriage and Family Enrichment, 1969-1983. (.5 linear ft.) Box 56
  4. Field Secretaries and Visitation, 1976-1997. (1 linear ft.) Box 57-59
  5. Miscellaneous, 1983-1997. (.25 linear ft.) Box 59

Ser. 14 Christian and Interfaith Relations

Ser. 14 Christian and Interfaith Relations

  1. Minutes, 1952-1998. (.25 linear ft.) Box 60
  2. Correspondence and Reports, 1954-1994. (.75 linear ft.) Box 60-61
  3. FGC and the World Council of Churches (.75 linear ft.) Box 62-63
  4. Miscellaneous, 1981-1991. (.25 linear ft.) Box 63

Ser. 15 Other Committees

Ser. 15 Other Committees

  1. Friends Student Hostel, 1920-1937. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  2. Discipline Revision Committee, 1940-1941. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  3. Trends Toward Unity, 1951-1953. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  4. Committee on Philanthropic Labor, n.d. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64. A Committee on Philanthropic Labor was organized as a standing committee in 1900. The name was later changed to the Social Service Committee, and still later to Peace and Social Service Committee.
  5. Social Service Committee, 1933-1941. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  6. Committee on Economic Problems, 1941-1955. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64. In 1940, a separate Committee on Economic Problems was formed out of the Social Service Committee.
  7. Peace and Service Committee, 1941-1951. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  8. Committee on Peace and World Understanding, 1952-1955. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64. In 1951, the Peace and Service Committee was divided into a Peace and World Understanding Committee and a Social Order Committee. In 1955, they were merged into a Peace and Social Order Committee.
  9. Social Order Committee, 1951. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64
  10. Peace and Social Order Committee, 1945-1967. (.25 linear ft.) Box 64-65
  11. Centennial Committee, 1998. (.25 linear ft.) Box 65
  12. Friends Meeting House Fund, Inc., 1955-1998. (.25 linear ft.) Box 65-66
  13. Long Range Planning Committee, 1961-1999. (1 linear ft.) Box 66-68

Ser. 16 Special Conferences

Ser. 16 Special Conferences

  1. Conference of Trustees, 1972. Box 68
  2. Conference on Our Faith as Friends and Our Future as a Movement, 1953. Box 68

Ser. 17 Conferences

Ser. 17 Conferences

  1. Early Biennial Conferences, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1920 Box 68
  2. FGC Biennial Conference 1922- Richmond, Indiana Box 68
  3. FGC Biennial Conference 1924- Ocean City, NJ Box 68
  4. FGC Biennial Conference 1926- Ocean City, NJ Box 68
  5. FGC Biennial Conference 1928- Cape May, NJ Box 68
  6. FGC Biennial Conference 1930- Cape May, NJ Box 68
  7. FGC Biennial Conference 1932- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  8. FGC Biennial Conference 1934- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  9. FGC Biennial Conference 1936- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  10. FGC Biennial Conference 1938- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  11. FGC Biennial Conference 1940- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  12. FGC Biennial Conference 1942- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  13. FGC Biennial Conference 1944- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  14. FGC Biennial Conference 1946- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  15. FGC Biennial Conference 1948- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  16. FGC Biennial Conference 1950- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  17. FGC Biennial Conference 1952- Cape May, NJ Box 70
  18. FGC Biennial Conference 1954- Cape May, NJ Box 71
  19. FGC Biennial Conference 1956- Cape May, NJ Box 71
  20. FGC Biennial Conference 1958- Cape May, NJ Box 71
  21. FGC Biennial Conference 1960- Cape May, NJ Box 71
  22. FGC Biennial Conference 1962- Cape May, NJ Box 71
  23. FGC General Conference for Friends 1963 - Traverse City, Michigan Box 71
  24. FGC General Conference for Friends 1964 - Cape May, NJ Box 71
  25. FGC General Conference for Friends 1965 - Traverse City, Michigan Box 71
  26. FGC General Conference for Friends 1966 - Cape May, NJ Box 71
  27. FGC General Conference for Friends 1967 - Stephens College, Columbia, MO Box 71
  28. FGC Conference on Renewal and Revolution 1968 - Cape May, NJ Box 72
  29. FGC General Conference for Friends 1969 - Wilmington College, Wilmington, OH Box 72
  30. FGC General Conference for Friends 1970 - Ocean Grove, NJ Box 72
  31. FGC Annual Conference 1972 - Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY Box 72
  32. FGC Annual Conference 1973 - Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana Box 72
  33. FGC Annual Conference 1974 - Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY Box 72
  34. FGC Annual Conference 1975 - Berea College, Berea, KY Box 72
  35. FGC Annual Conference 1976 - Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY Box 73
  36. FGC Annual Gathering 1978- Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY Box 73
  37. FGC Annual Gathering 1979- Earlham College, Richmond, IN Box 73
  38. FGC Annual Gathering 1980- Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY Box 73
  39. FGC Annual Gathering 1981- Berea College, Berea, KY Box 73
  40. FGC Annual Gathering 1982- Slippery Rock State College, PA Box 74
  41. FGC Annual Gathering 1983- Slippery Rock State College, PA Box 75
  42. FGC Annual Gathering 1984- St. Lawrence Univ., Canton, NY Box 76
  43. FGC Annual Gathering 1985- Slippery Rock State College, PA Box 77
  44. FGC Annual Gathering 1986- Carleton College, Northfield, MN Box 79
  45. FGC Annual Gathering 1987- Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH Box 80
  46. FGC Annual Gathering 1988 - Appalachian State University, Boone, NC Box 81
  47. FGC Annual Gathering 1989 - St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY Box 82
  48. FGC Annual Gathering 1990 - Carleton, MN Box 83
  49. FGC Annual Gathering 1991 - Appalachian State University, Boone, NC Box 84
  50. FGC Annual Gathering 1992 - St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY Box 86
  51. FGC Annual Gathering 1993 - Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK Box 87
  52. FGC Annual Gathering 1994 - University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA Box 88
  53. FGC Annual Gathering 1995 - Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI Box 88
  54. FGC Annual Gathering 1996 - McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario Box 89
  55. FGC Annual Gathering 1997 - James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA Box 89
  56. FGC Annual Gathering 2001 - Viginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA Box 89

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited by Friends General Conference, 1940-1941

Deposited by Mary Middleton, 1982, 1985,1987

Gift of Chester Historical Society, 1955 (First Day School General Conference)

Gift of Kenneth Ives, 1975-1983 (Advancement)

Gift of Carrie Bond (General Conference of YFA's)

Deposited by Anita Kohler, 1997

Deposited by Michael Wajda, 2004

Deposited by Friends General Conference, Acc. 2014.026 Gift of Judy Seaman, Acc. 2019 046

Separated Materials

Newsletters published by the Advancement Committee and the Committee on Economic Problems have been placed in Serial Group 1. Pamphlets published by the Religious Education Committee have been catalogued. Photographs are described seperately as "Friends General Conference Photographs."

Many of the speeches and addresses given at FGC Conferences and Gatherings are included as part of this collection, but not described in this finding aid. Most recordings are on 7" tape and have not been digitized. A disk with a digitized copy of the speech of Martin Luther King in Cape May has been cataloged separately.

  1. Proceedings, 1900-1928 (incomplete)
  2. Scattered Seeds, -1935
  3. First Day School Bulletin, 1916-29, 1932-41 (incomplete)
  4. Religious Education Bulletin, 1942-1968
  5. The FGC Quarterly, 1968-1990
  6. Friends General Conference Focus, 1991-1994
  7. FGConnections, 1996-[ongoing]


Deep Roots, New Growth: One Hundred Years of Friends General Conference 1900-2000 (Friends General Conference, Philadelphia: 2000)
Haines, Deborah L. Friends General Conference -- A Brief Historical Overview in Quaker History (Vol. 89, No.2), 2000

Processing Information

Added 3 folders and created sub-series for Women's Center, 1980-1995- 6/14/24

An Inventory of the Records of Friends General Conference, 1867-2014
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Revision Statements

  • 2016 Summer: 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 or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA