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"The Trial of William Penn"

Identifier: HC.MC-975-07-023

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the single volume script of Columbia Broadcasting Company's 1950 production of "The Trial of William Penn," a dramatic retelling of the last day of Penn's trial.


  • Creation: 1950


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

William Penn (1644–1718) was an English entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the North American colony that would become the state of Pennsylvania. Penn was born October 14, 1644, in Barking, London, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn and Margaret Jasper. In 1672, he married Gulielma Maria Springett. In 1681, King Charles II gave Penn a large piece of land in present day Pennsylvania and Delaware, to satisfy a debt the king owed to Penn's father. This land belonged the Indigenous Lenape peoples, and was occupied by the British. Penn arrived to the North America in 1683. He married for a second time in 1695, to Hannah Callowhill. Penn died on July 30, 1718.

Historical Note

In 1670, when William Penn was 26 years old, he was arrested in London on the charge of disturbing the King’s peace, as a recult of Penn's preaching nonconformist religious views at an outdoor meeting in London at a time when the monarchy was attempting to suppress religious dissent.

During his trial, the jury and the crowds in the courthouse began to appreciate William Penn’s defense that he had not violated a law by speaking on a street corner. The Crown produced no substantive evidence against him. When Penn interrupted the trial with questions and objections, he was removed from the presence of the jury and confined in an enclosed corner of the room where he could not confront or question witnesses.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury retired to deliberate its verdict. Upon the jury’s return, foreman Edward Bushnell reported to the court simply that the jury found that William Penn had spoken on the street, which was no violation of the law at all.


0.02 Linear Feet (1 volume)




The script of Columbia Broadcasting Company's 1950 production of "The Trial of William Penn" is a dramatic retelling of the last day of Penn's trial.



Related Materials

  • HC.MC.975.07.015 "Massacre: A Play"
  • HC.MC.861 British Friends letters

Processing Information

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed September, 2015.

"The Trial of William Penn," 1950
Kara Flynn
September, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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 reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US