Scope and Contents
Friends Historical Library collects printed, manuscript, and other materials by and about the Society of Friends, its members, and its testimonies. This collection of disciplines has been assembled over the last 140 years through deposit and gift, and is probably the largest in the world.
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
Copyright and Rights Information
Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/.
Biographical / Historical
The Society of Friends or Quakers (the terms are synonymous) was founded in the middle of the seventeenth century in England by George Fox and others. American Quaker activity has been documented in Massachusetts and Virginia as early as 1656. By the time William Penn's colony, Pennsylvania (whose lower counties became Delaware) was founded in 1681, Quakerism was well established in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Long Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. In 1827-28, there was a major doctrinal split among Quakers over the views of Elias Hicks. Further fragmentation occurred later in the 19th century, particularly in the Midwest. Many of the branches of Quakerism have reunited.
What we today commonly refer to as a Quaker discipline has been defined as a book compiling rules of behavior for Friends bearing on all matters of church government such as qualification, description and transfer of membership; duties of ministers; methods of filing appeals; and attitudes toward marriage. From its earliest days, London Yearly Meeting issued epistles which contained advices concerning behavior of members of the Society of Friends. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting published a "Loving Exhortation to Friends," printed by William Bradford in 1689. The latter Yearly Meeting, in fact, raised the issue of the need for a more comprehensive book of discipline or rules at least as early as 1717, and produced multiple manuscript volumes for the use of quarterly and monthly meetings in 1719. This book was prefaced by an epistle, and was divided into topical sections, with the sections labeled in the margins. These books were annotated as directed by the Yearly Meeting; manuscript compilations of these extracts in Britain were called Christian and Brotherly Advices at least as early as 1756. In 1783, London Yearly Meeting was the first to publish a printed book of extracts from its minutes and epistles because the Yearly Meeting was concerned that some meetings were not keeping up-to-date with their annotations. In the United States, New England Yearly Meeting was the first to follow their lead in 1785, with Baltimore and Philadelphia issuing their own printed volumes in 1794 and 1797 respectively.
9 Linear Feet
The Society of Friends or Quakers (the terms are synonymous) was founded in the middle of the seventeenth century in England by George Fox and others. The Friends Historical Library has collected Quaker disciplines since its founding in 1871. FHL is also the official repository for the records of seven American yearly meetings.
The collection is organized in series, with the series arranged alphabetically by meeting.
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Alaska Yearly Meeting
- Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Bolivian Friends Church
- Britain Yearly Meeting (Society of Friends)
- California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
- Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Central Yearly Meeting
- Central Yearly Meeting of Friends. Union Quarterly Meeting
- Congenies Two Months Meeting (Society of Friends : Congenies, France)
- Five Years Meeting (Society of Friends: U.S.)
- Freedom Friends Church (Salem, Or.)
- Friends Church Southwest Yearly Meeting
- Friends General Conference (U.S.)
- Friends Meeting of Washington (Washington, D.C.)
- Illinois Yearly Meeting (Society of Friends)
- Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends (Hicksite : 1828-1975)
- Iowa Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends
- Kansas Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends
- Lay ministry -- Society of Friends
- Nebraska Yearly Meeting of Friends
- New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
- New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- New Zealand Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends
- North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends (1698- )
- North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
- Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (1975- )
- Ohio Yearly Meeting (Society of Friends : 1813-1828)
- Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative : 1854- )
- Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends (Orthodox : 1828-1854)
- Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
- Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Religious Society of Friends in Ireland
- Society of Free Quakers
- Society of Friends -- Discipline
- Société religieuse des Amis (Quakers)
- Southeastern Yearly Meeting
- Western Yearly Meeting of Friends (1877- : Plainfield, Ind.)
- Wilmington Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
- Yearly Meeting of Congregational Friends (Waterloo, N.Y.)
- Yearly Meeting of Friends, held in Virginia
- Friends Historical Library's Collection of Quaker Disciplines, 1689-2009
- Finding Aid prepared by FHL Staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written inEnglish.
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 Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA