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Baltimore Yearly Meeting Records

Identifier: QM-By

Scope and Contents

This collection, jointly housed at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, contains the records of the Pre-Separation, Hicksite, Orthodox, and United Baltimore Yearly Meetings.

The Hicksite BYM (commonly known as Stony Run) records date from 1677-1967 and the Orthodox BYM (commonly known as Homewood) records date from 1671-1948. When the Separation schismed the Pre-Separation Baltimore Yearly Meeting, older records were maintained by one or the other branch, and only much later made their way into stewardship at the Haverford and Swarthmore Libraries.

The collection includes minutes from 1677 through the present, including when the Yearly Meeting(s) held a separate Yearly Meeting of Women Friends (1677-1899) before moving to shared sessions. 17th and 18th century records are primarily minutes (including those of Meeting for Sufferings), but record-keeping increased in the 19th century, and the collection includes financial (including Treasurer's Reports and ledgers), property, and ministry records from around 1800-onward. Of particular interest to those interest in area property records is Thomas C. Hill's research and digitization of thousands of deeds related to properties of interest to or under care of BYM.

The bulk of the collection consists of the records of BYM's committees. Like any organization, BYM's administrative structure has evolved over the years, and the descriptive arrangement attempts to note the administrative history of committees both current and laid-down. Of particular interest may be the records of the several Indian Affairs Committees and their involvement in assimilationist boarding schools and records of Indian agents. The Committee Records also give an overview of the major concerns of Quakers in the region across the past few centuries, including broader social involvement with temperance, queer concerns, prison justice, ecology and climate change. The series "Unprocessed Yearly Meeting Office Files" is arranged alphabetically by folder title, but is unprocessed. It includes both official yearly meeting and committee records as well as vertical files and records received by the Yearly Meeting by other organizations.


  • Creation: 1677-2020


Language of Materials

Records in English

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repository. 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

Quakers began to meet for worship and discipline in the 1650s along the east coast of what is today the United States. In the Province of Maryland and adjoining regions, Quakers began to formalize their organizational structure when a General Meeting was held at West River in 1672. Beginning in 1677, a meeting was held twice a year alternately at Tredhaven (Third Haven, also known as the Eastern Shore), in the house of John Pitts followed by John Edmundson, and West River (also known as the Western Shore) in the home of George Skipwith and others, until 1682, when the West River meeting house was built. These meetings are referred to as both General Meetings and Half-Yearly Meetings.

Beginning in 1775, the meeting began to meet just once a year, still alternately at West River and Third Haven. In 1785, the Yearly Meeting was held for the first time in "Baltimore Town." Soon after, the Yearly Meeting of Maryland became known as the "Yearly Meeting held at Baltimore for the Western Shore of Maryland and the adjacent parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia." In 1828, the Quaker Separation split the "Yearly Meeting held at Baltimore for the Western Shore of Maryland and the adjacent parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia" into two congregations. The Hicksite branch retained the name, while the Orthodox branch renamed itself "The Yearly Meeting of Friends for the Western Shore of Maryland and Adjacent Areas of Pennsylvania and Virginia, in unity with the Ancient Yearly Meeting of Friends."

The schism persisted, and the two yearly meetings incorporated under simpler names in the later 19th century. In 1886, the Orthodox branch was incorporated as the "Baltimore Yearly Meeting of Friends, Orthodox." It was also referred to as the "Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Homewood," as it has been held in the Homewood Meeting House since 1922. In 1867, the Hicksite branch was incorporated as "Baltimore Yearly Meeting held at Lombard Street." In 1889, Baltimore Yearly Meeting held its first sessions at their new meeting house on Park Avenue (and Laurens Street). Beginning in 1944, the Yearly Meeting was held at Stony Run, and the Hicksite branch became known as Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Stony Run.

In 1968, the Hicksite and Orthodox yearly meetings (then commonly referred to as "Stony Run" and "Homewood" respectively) reunited to form the Baltimore Yearly Meeting for the Religious Society of Friends. Baltimore Yearly Meeting is jointly affiliated with Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting, and includes monthly and preparative meetings in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. While as of 2024 Baltimore Yearly Meeting includes four quarterly meetings, the modern incarnation of BYM is less centered on quarterly meeting structure than other large unprogrammed yearly meetings (like Philadelphia and New York), with many monthly meetings affiliating directly with Baltimore Yearly Meeting.


54 linear ft.

6.5 GB

Physical Location

This collection includes records stored at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College and at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Separated Materials

SW: MSS003/168 Journal of William Matthews, 1783-1787.

SW: MISC MSS [Hicks, Elias] The Substance of a Discourse, 1824.

SW: SC211 Baltimore Society for the Protection of Free People of Color, Minutes, 1827-1829.

SW: SC210 Friends Association in Aid of Freedmen (Baltimore, Md.), Records, 1864-1867.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.

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