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Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records: Administrative Council and its predecessors (including General Secretary Offices)

 Collection — othertype: SW/Phy/325
Identifier: QM-Phy-325

Scope and Contents

Administrative records of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting include committee and other records having to do with the functions of accounting and audit, fund development and stewardship of funds, grant coordination and financial assistance, computer services, records and archives, personnel services and staff benefits, conference management (including Yearly Meeting sessions), and property management - as are under the oversight of the current General Services Standing Committee. Partially because of changes in the structure of the administrative functions, this finding aid is organized by committee and by function, depending on provenance. The records of the offices of General and Associate Secretaries are also included. Those records which were received without provenance information have been broadly grouped as either financial or general administrative records. Researchers interested in a particular time period or functional unit are advised to search the entire finding aid for relevant materials.


  1. Ser.1 Central Bureau Committee (Hicksite)
  2. Ser.2 Office Committee
  3. Ser.3 Personnel Services Group
  4. Ser.4 General Services Coordination Committee (CC-3)
  5. Ser.5 General Services Standing Committee
  6. Ser.6 Finance Services Group
  7. Ser.7 Arch Street Property and Use Services Group
  8. Ser.8 Computer Committee
  9. Ser.9 Commemorations Committees
  10. Ser.10 Records Committee
  11. Ser.11 General Adminstrative Records
  12. Ser.12 General Secretary's Office: Francis G. Brown
  13. Ser.13 General Secretary's Office: Samuel D. Caldwell
  14. Ser.14 Associate and General Secretary's Office: Nancy Middleton
  15. Ser.15 Associate Secretary's Office: Rowland K. Leonard
  16. Ser.16 Associate Secretary's Office: Richard P. Bansen
  17. Ser.17 Associate Secretary's Office: Elizabeth Cunningham
  18. Ser.18 Associate Secretary's Office: Wright Horne


  • Creation: 1829-2005


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Access to Personnel Records is restricted. Details available in repository.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. 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

In 1955, the reunified Philadelphia Yearly Meeting authorized the merger of the former Orthodox business office at 304 Arch Street and the Central Bureau of the Hicksite branch at 1515 Cherry. The Committee in charge of the offices met and organized under the name of the Committee on the Central Bureau, as a subcommittee of Representative Meeting; they decided to call the office the Friends Central Bureau. In 1957, this name was changed to the Office of the Yearly Meeting.

Staff members at the time of the reunification included William Eves, Howard G. Taylor, Marguerite Hallowell, and Richmond P. Miller. By 1957, William Eves was named General Secretary, and Taylor and Miller Associate Secretaries. The Arch Street Yearly Meeting had appointed its first Yearly Meeting Secretary in 1918, William B. Harvey, whose budget included his own salary, clerical assistance, and office expenses; Harvey served until 1937, when he was suceeded by Edward W. Evans. The latter was reappointed until his retirement in 1946, when Howard G. Taylor (1890-1967) assumed the role; Taylor resigned in 1958. The Hicksites named Jane P. (Jane Palen) Rushmore the General Secretary of its new Central Bureau in 1911; Rushlore served until she retired in 1945. At that time, the Yearly Meeting divided her responsibilities among three secretaries, one each for Office, Field, and Education. Marguerite Hallowell, Office Secretary, retired in 1956. Richmond P. Miller (1902-1972), who began working for the Race Street branch in 1939 doing field visiting for the Social Service Committee, became Field Secretary of the Central Bureau in 1945, and retired as Associate Secretary in 1968. William Eves served as General Secretary until 1963. Succeeding General Secretaries of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting include the following:

  1. Francis G. Brown 1964-1982
  2. Samuel D. Caldwell 1982-1990/1
  3. Edwin E. Staudt 1990-1994
  4. Nancy Middleton 1994-1995
  5. Thomas H. Jeavons 1995-2006
  6. Arthur Larrabee 2006-2014
  7. Christie Duncan-Tessmer 2014-

At the time of the reunification, the Central Bureau provided clerical assistance to the Yearly Meeting and to other Quaker groups on a fee basis. By 1966, the Office was providing stenographic and switchboard services, mimeographing, bookkeeping for certain committees, and addressing services for PYM; it also coordinated fieldwork (visitation).

Representative Meeting was reorganized in 1970, and the Office Committee was laid down. Its duties were temporarily transferred to the new Personnel Committee. In 1974, three "Coordinating Committees" were set up: Education and Care of Members (CC-1), Testimonies and Concerns (CC-2), and General Services (CC-3).

In 1990, Representative Meeting appointed the Long Range Committee; its report was submitted to Yearly Meeting in March of 1994. When unity could not be reached on some of its recommendations during a special session in October of 1994, a Structure and Workings Committee was appointed; this Committee was comprised of all of the Clerks of monthly and quarterly meetings. The report of the Structure and Workings Committee was approved by Yearly Meeting in 1996. At that time an Implementation Committee was created to work out the details.

In 1997, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was restructured from three Coordinating Committees to five Standing Committees, and Representative Meeting was renamed Interim Meeting. A General Services Standing Committee was given broad responsibility for oversight of "those administrative functions which enable the ministry of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting," roughly divided into four areas, i.e. Finance, Personnel and Administration, Conferences, and Property.


80 linear ft.

Language of Materials



The administrative structure of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has been re-worked a number of times. This finding aid describes administrative records and office files, primarily from the early 20th century to the present -- from the time when the Hicksite and Orthodox Yearly Meetings first began to employ paid staff to handle administrative matters. Today these functions are grouped under the auspices of General Services. This finding aid also describes the records of the General Secretaries of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting from 1967 to 1996.

Physical Location

This collection is stored at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Meeting House Trust Funds Committee (SW)

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Field Committee (HV)

Friends Pension Plan Committee (SW)

Friends Fiduciary Corporation (SW)

Friends Center Corporation (SW)

Friends Insurance Group (SW)

Miller, Richmond P. (Richmond Pearson) Papers (SW)

Evans, Edward W. Papers (SW)

Harvey, Wm. B. (William Brinton) Papers (HV)

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records: Administrative Council and its predecessors (including General Secretary Offices)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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