by William Newell
On February 25, 1804, William Newell was born in Littleton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1818, and then earned an AB from Harvard in 1824 and an AM in 1827. Two years later, he graduated from Harvard Divinity School. He was well regarded, and quickly found a post as in 1830, he began working at First Parish in Cambridge. He was ordained on May 19, 1830. He was able to unify the divided congregation, and ended up leading the church until he retired on March 31, 1868. He died on October 28, 1881.This new edition is dedicated to the members of the First Parish Unitarian, across from Harvard Yard these many centuries.
by Mabel Richmond Brailsford
Mabel Richmond Brailsford was not a Friend, but this work is considered to be truthful, extremely well researched, and also sympathetic. Brailsford did extensive research at the Library at Devonshire House in order to complete the portraits of numerous Quaker women, such as Margaret Fell, Barbara Blaugdone, Elizabeth Hooton, Elizabeth Fletcher, Jane Stuart, and Mary Fisher. The biographies paint a picture of the power that women held within the Quaker community, as opposed to other religious denominations at the time. It also offers a lot of information on the individual travels, writings, experiences, and also systemic failures that each of these women faced. Some have argued this is as much an adventure story as it is a set of biographies. She gives an excellent early history of both Quakers and England between 1650-1690.
Brailsford wrote a great deal, including other works on Quakers, such as The Making of William Penn (1930). She often focused on religions and figures within those movements, such as Susanna Wesley, the mother of Methodism, A Quaker from Cromwell’s army: James Nayler, and A Tale of Two Brothers: John and Charles Wesley.
by George A. Walton
The William Penn Lectures were put together by the Young Friends Movement of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. George A. Walton was a member of the organization, and gave this lecture. In it, among other principles, he discusses the impact labor has on the current world. He advocates for living faith in one’s work, and to ensure that it has meaning and value to both the material and the spiritual realms. Walton gave this speech in 1916 and was responding to many changes in society at the time, although his work still resonates today. George A. Walton was born in 1883. He went on to become the headmaster of the George School in 1912, a Quaker boarding school, where he served until 1948. In 1969, Walton passed away. His papers are held by Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.
by Seven Unitarian Ministers
Unitarianism is a theological movement which at its start proclaimed that God is a singular entity, rather than a trinity. It rejects other tenants common in Christianity, such as the concept of original sin and the Bible as infallible. The belief emerged during the 1600s and spread quickly through Europe and the United States, particularly among the educated and wealthy classes. One of the earliest places it arrived in the United States was in New England. These lectures were originally given during the late 1890s, and focus on a variety of theological debates, such as the Bible, the Church, and the afterlife.
by Orville Dewey
Orville Dewey was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts on March 28, 1794. He spent his time in school and also working on his family’s farm. His household was strongly Calvinist, due to his mother. Both intelligent and studious, Dewey excelled in school, graduating from Williams College, and then later attended Andover Theological Seminary. He went on to become a Unitarian pastor, working within the community of New Bedford for over a decade.Dewey spent much of his later life between Europe and the United States. As he was in ill health, he sought cure and relaxation in Europe. When he returned to the United States, he would come in and out of retirement, either serving various religious posts, or working on his farm. He spent is time out of retirement in New England, New York, and also two years in Washington. He passed away on March 21, 1882. His papers are held in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library at Harvard Divinity School.
by Edward Henry Palmer
Edward Henry Palmer put together this work that was based on a Persian manuscript, Maksad i Aksá by Azíz bin Mohammed Nafasí. The work sheds some light on Sufis, a Islamic mysticism, which is often characterized as offering the internalization and intensification of Islamic faith.As a child, Palmer enjoyed the benefit of a private teacher, although he was sadly orphaned at a young age. He began a job as a clerk, but his love was always for learning languages and different cultures. He learned Romani culture and language, and then went on to learn French and Italian. Influenced by Sayyid Abdallah, a professor at Cambridge, and a new lease on life, having successfully recovered from tuberculosis, Palmer went on to study at St. John’s College in 1863. Later, he worked on Persian, Turkish, and Arabic manuscripts held by the university. Afterwards, he was asked to join a survey of the Middle East, including Sinai. He returned, wrote about the experience, married, sadly became widowed, became a professor, left and became writing for the Standard. In 1882, an opportunity came up to join an Egyptian expedition. Unfortunately, Palmer and his group were ambushed and murdered.
by James Pinkney Pleasant Bell
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Publisher James Bell was moved to print these various meeting notes and announcements since his mother’s family were members of the Society of Friends. As Bell states,
“…sometimes in my early childhood I attended their meetings for worship, held in the old Meetinghouse at Golansville, in Caroline County, Va., and still retaining a love for tliese good people, I have for some time past contemplated publishing a book giving an account of their religious belief, and manner of conducting their meetings.Through a member of the Society of Friends, in Richmond, Va., I have obtained extracts from some of their old Minute books, which I hope will be of interest to my readers; I also make extracts from The Southern Friend (a religious journal published in Richmond during the Civil War)…The Friends not only liberated their own slaves, but also used every effort for the abolition of slavery. They did not allow their members to hire a slave, or take the position of overseer of slaves. The Quakers in North Carolina and Virginia were at one time a large body, but the bitter feeling against them, because of their anti-slavery views caused them to seek homes in the free States, and soon many of the meetings were so depleted that they had to be “laid down.” Doubtless many of my readers in the Western States will say, as they read these pages, “Yes, my ancestors came from Virginia.”
Bell’s collection of information sheds light on religious history in the United States, the impact of the Civil War, and how various Christian denominations used their beliefs to fight against or support the inhumane practice of slavery.