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Pendle Hill (School : Wallingford, Pa.) Records

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-066

Scope and Contents

This collection includes the records of Pendle Hill, a Quaker study and cooperative living center, and of its predecessor, the Woolman School. The records include minutes, student and staff files, course material, financial records, correspondence, and related papers. Of particular interest are the correspondence files of Joseph and Edith Platt, Henry T. Hodgkin, Howard and Anna Cox Brinton, D. Robert Yarnall, and the board of directors.

Special interest topics include the 1998 Conference on “Friends and the Vietnam War.”


  • Creation: 1915-2011


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

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 Quaker Study Center today known as Pendle Hill evolved out of an earlier organization devoted to Quaker study and education. The Woolman School, also known as “The Friends' School for Social and Religious Education,” opened in January 1915 under the care of the General Conference Committee for the Advancement of Friends' Principles of the Seven Yearly Meetings (Hicksite). The seven yearly meetings of Hicksite Friends of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Genesee, and Ohio, had been affiliated in 1900 as a representative body, Friends General Conference.

Henry W. Wilbur (1851-1914), General Secretary of the Friends General Conference, was an important force behind the creation of the School, but died before his plans were realized. Its purpose was “To fit Friends and others for more efficient service in the field of religious activity, especially with the Society; to train workers to labor more efficiently in their won meetings; and to prepare for social service.” The name Woolman School was chosen in honor of John Woolman (1720-1772), an important traveling minister who represented pre-Separation Quakerism to the School's founders. In 1917, the management of Woolman School was reorganized as a joint enterprise of Hicksite and Orthodox Friends, governed by a Board of Managers. It was incorporated in 1918 as “The Woolman School” and drew many of its faculty from Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania, although it had no official connection with those institutions.

The first location of the School was on a three acre plot located in Swarthmore adjacent to the Swarthmore College campus and above Crum Creek. The lot and large stone house on the property, named John Woolman House by the Advancement Committee, were purchased by William and Emma Bancroft and leased to the Committee in 1914. Their plan was to give the property to Swarthmore College when the Woolman School found a permanent home. Students were welcome to use the libraries and facilities at Swarthmore College, as well as to attend worship at Swarthmore Monthly Meeting.

In 1925, Mary W. Lippincott donated to the School a large property in Wyncote, Montgomery County, with the understanding the property could be sold and the proceeds to benefit the Woolman School. Beginning the fall of 1925, the Woolman School moved to the Wyncote campus. Separate accounts were kept for the two facilities in 1925-1926. By 1927, there was a sense that the Woolman School could no longer survive in its present form. A series of conferences studied the possibilities, and Joseph E. Platt was appointed to explore the possibilities. Although the Board had expected the Wyncote property to be permanent home for the Woolman School, financial pressures and its inconvenience to public transportation and library facilities led to the sale of the property in 1928. With dwindling student registrations and financial pressures, the Woolman School no longer conducted a regular program of classes. However, the Board continued to meet, and Joseph E. Platt (1886-1980) and his wife, Edith Stratton Platt (1888-1986), were hired to explore alternative plans for the mission of the School.

In 1928, it was decided to completely restructure the Woolman School to serve as a graduate school and Quaker study center, inspired by the model of Woodbrooke in England, a Quaker social and religious study center. In November 1928, Henry T. Hodgkin (1877-1933), an English Friend, accepted the call to be director of the proposed “New School”. In 1930, in keeping with the new mission, the name of the school was officially changed to Pendle Hill, “a Quaker graduate center for religious and social study.” It was named after Pendle Hill in England, where George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, experienced a vision, with the hope that it would home to a “new vision” in American Quakerism. Rather than a “school,” which duplicated the mission of already successful Quaker schools and colleges, the new organization was intended to serve as a Quaker study center and retreat. In February 1930, the board of the Woolman School met for the last time and appointed a new board of managers, with some overlapping, for the venture now known as Pendle Hill. In May 1930, after considering a number of potential locations, the proceeds from the Wyncote was used to purchase a property in Wallingford, PA, a short distance from the Swarthmore Campus.

While legally the evolution from Woolman School to Pendle Hill involved only a name change and the assets of Woolman School were used to finance the new project, there was a change of mission and intent between the two schools. The Woolman School Associates, an alumni group of students, was disbanded in 1932 since they felt little sense of continuity to the new Pendle Hill group. Because Pendle Hill limited itself to graduate work and there was no place for many of the students who had been earlier participants, the Pendle Hill Summer Session was established in 1931, open to all without the academic requirements of the regular sessions.

Under the brief leadership of Henry Hodgkin, the school was organized as a non-degree granting program. Hodgkin began to suffer from declining health in 1932 and returned to England where he died unexpectedly in March 1933. In his absence, John Hughes served as acting director. Howard Brinton, on leave of absence from Mills College, was acting director in 1934-1935, and he was followed by Richard Gregg, who served as acting director in 1935-1936. Continuity through the transition and first decade of Pendle Hill was provided by Joseph E. Platt who served as dean of Pendle Hill until 1943. In 1936, Howard H. Brinton (1884-1973) and his wife, Anna Cox Brinton (1887-1969), became co-directors of Pendle Hill, a position they held until 1952. Dan Wilson was named acting director in 1952 and subsequently named director. D. Robert Yarnall served as chairman of the Board of Directors from the inception of Pendle Hill until 1953. He was succeeded by Douglas V. Steere in 1954.


82 linear ft.

Language of Materials



Pendle Hill is a Quaker study center located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. It was established in 1930 out of an earlier Quaker school and study center, the Woolman School. The Woolman School was established in 1915 under the care of the General Conference Committee of the Seven Yearly Meetings (Hicksite). In 1917, it was reorganized as a joint enterprise of Hicksite and Orthodox Friends, governed by a Board of Managers. The Woolman School was incorporated in 1918. In 1928, it was reorganized as a non-degree granting graduate level study center and retreat. In 1930, the name was changed to Pendle Hill, and it moved to its present location. In addition to offering classes and lectures, Pendle Hill publishes pamphlets and other writings on religious and social concerns.


The collection is organized into 10 series:

Ser.1 MINUTES AND OFFICIAL RECORDS, 1913-1972, 1987 (2 lin. ft.): Minutes and official records of Pendle Hill, including the Charter and minutes of the Board of Managers and the Executive Committee.

Ser.2 STAFF AND STUDENT RECORDS, 1930-ca.1990. (26 lin. ft.): Student and staff files which may include application forms and subsequent correspondence. Arrangement: Files sorted and arranged alphabetically by Yuki Brinton at Pendle Hill.

Ser.3 CORRESPONDENCE, 1929-1948. (2 lin. ft.): Correspondence of individuals associated with Pendle Hill, through the 1940's. Later correspondence may be found in Series 5 and subsequent series, according to original order. Arrangement: Miscellaneous correspondence (A-Z), sorted and arranged by Yuki Brinton at Pendle Hill; arranged alphabetically by recipient or subject. Manuscript name index available in the repository.

Ser.4 WOOLMAN SCHOOL, 1915-1929. (.5 lin. ft.): Records of Woolman School, except for minutes, correspondence, and financial records; these may be found as part of the Pendle Hill records in Series 1, 5, and 7. Includes student records and course information.

Ser.5 PENDLE HILL, 1928-1980: Administrative files, as originally maintained. Includes correspondence and reports.


  1. Board of Managers and Joseph E. Platt, Dean 1927-1940. (1 lin. ft.) Box 65, 114-116
  2. Henry Hodgkin, Director 1928-1933. (.7 linear ft.) Box 65-66
  3. D. Robert Yarnall, Chairman of the Executive Board, and Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall 1929-1953. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 67
  4. Howard and Anna Brinton, Co-Directors 1936-1952 (.5 lin. ft.) Box 67-68
  5. Dan Wilson 1952-1970 (.7 lin. ft.) Box 68-70
  6. Modern Period 1970-current (.7 lin. ft.) Box 70-71

Ser.6 COURSES, PROGRAMS and STUDENTS, 1930-1999: Records of courses, programs, and students, as originally maintained. Includes some admissions information, handbooks, and catalogues.


  1. Early Courses, Programs and Students 1930-1947 (2 lin. ft.) Box 71-75
  2. Curriculum Committee 1946-1969 (gaps) (.5 lin. ft.) Box 75
  3. Admissions 1961-80. (.1 lin. ft.) Box 75-76
  4. Handbooks 1933-1978 (gaps) (.3 lin. ft.) Box 76
  5. Program Catalogues 1980-1999. (.1 lin. ft.) Box 76
  6. Courses and Programs (Arranged chronologically; instructors name listed in parentheses) 1940-1976 (4 lin. ft.) Box 76-84

Ser.7 FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1914-1989: Financial records of Pendle Hill and Woolman School. Includes journals and account books, development information, and property records.


  1. Woolman School 1914-1929. (.3 lin. ft.) Box 85
  2. Finance Committee 1938-1944. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 85
  3. Journals and Account Books 1915-1969. (.5 lin. ft.) Box 85-86
  4. Development 1930-1940. (.3 lin. ft.) Box 86
  5. Scholarships 1931-1959. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 86
  6. Other Financial Records, 1930-1989. (2.75 lin. ft.) Box 87-92
  7. Building Committee and Property 1925-1963. (.7 lin, ft.) Box 92-93

Ser.8 PUBLICATIONS, 1936-1998: Archival copies of the Pendle Hill pamphlet series from 1988-98, as well as correspondence with authors, permissions, and advertising materials.


  1. Pendle Hill Pamphlets (archival copies) and index 1988-1998. (.5 lin. ft.) Box 94
  2. Publications Committee 1940-1969. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 95
  3. Correspondence (General) 1941-1983. (.5 lin. ft.) Box 95-96
  4. Publications Files (arranged chronologically), 1936-1983. (1.75 lin. ft.) Box 96-100
  5. Permissions 1961-1981. (.5 lin. ft.) Box 100-101
  6. Advertising and Sales 1940-1972. (.3 lin. ft.) Box 101-102
  7. Miscellaneous 1950-1984. (.4 lin. ft.) Box 102

Ser.9 MISCELLANEOUS, 1914-2008: Student logs, manuscript histories, and other miscellaneous records of Pendle Hill.


  1. Logs, histories, and reminiscences 1914-1961. (1.6 lin. ft.) Box 103-107
  2. Housekeeping 1940-42, 1970-75. (.3 lin. ft.) Box 105-106
  3. Miscellaneous staff and student lists, organization charts, etc. 1938-1970. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 106-107
  4. Guest records 1930-1941. (.2 lin. ft.) Box 107-112
  5. Other 1941-1989. (.5 lin. ft.) Box 107, 113

Ser.10 SPECIAL PROGRAMS, 1993-1998: Records of Special Programs at Pendle Hill which maintained their own records.


  1. Friends and the Vietnam War 1997-1998. (1 lin. ft.) Box 108-109
  2. Pendle Hill Issues Program 1993-1997. (1.5 lin. ft.) Box 110-112

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Pendle Hill (School : Wallingford, Pa.)

Date: 1993-2012

Accession number: 93.035, 93.041, 96.048, 97.024, 97.064, 98.047, 98.050, 99.034, 99.044, 2000.003, 2008.007, 2012.001

Accruals: Irregular deposits

Related Materials

Repository Access # Description
FHL PG 2 Pendle Hill subject file
Pendle Hill Apply to Director School archives

Processing Information

These papers were deposited at FHL by Pendle Hill beginning in 1993 with the assistance of Yuki Takahashi Brinton, the widow of Howard Brinton who informally has served as archivist at Pendle Hill. She made a preliminary sort of the material, organizing correspondence and staff and student files alphabetically, an order that has been maintained in Series 2 and 3.

The collection was processed in 1998 and reorganized in 2000 after the addition of a major deposit. After Yuki Brinton's retirement, additional deposits were made in 2008 and 2012.

An Inventory of the Pendle Hill Records, 1915-2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Find It at the Library

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