Our Quaker Friends of Ye Olden Time: Being in part a transcript of the minute books of Cedar Creek meeting, Hanover County, and the South River Meeting, Campbell County, Va

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.




Old and New Unitarian Belief

by John White Chadwick

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Born in 1840, John White Chadwick was initially to become a shoemaker. Although he was in the middle of an apprenticeship, he preferred to continue a non-trade education. During his education at normal school in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, he determined his calling in life was to become a minister. He went on to graduate from Harvard Divinity School in 1864.

Almost immediately after he graduated, he became the pastor of the Second Unitarian Church, in Brooklyn, New York. He wrote a great deal, both books and contributions to journals, including Origin and Destiny (1883), Preacher and Reformer (1900), and Later Poems (1905).


Unitarianism: Its Origin and History: A Course of Sixteen Lectures Delivered in Channing Hall, Boston, 1888-9

by American Unitarian Association

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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 are some of the early writings in Unitarian history in the United States and give a deeper understanding of the faith, especially as it grew within the developing nation.


Mashrak-el-Azkar: Descriptive of the Bahai Temple and Illustrative of an Exhibition of Preliminary Designs for the First Mashrak-el-Azkar to be Built in America

by Charles Mason Remey

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Charles Mason Remey (1874-1974) was the son of Admiral George Collier Remey and grew up in Washington DC, at 1527 New Hampshire Ave NW, which is now the home of Westphalia Press, the Policy Studies Organization, and of the American Political Science Association. He drew detailed plans and did a survey of the house, which are deposited in the Library of Congress. He studied to be an architect at Cornell (1893-1896) and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1896-1903), where he learned about the Baha’i faith, and quickly adopted it.

In 1903, Remey returned to Washington, DC, and wrote numerous works on Baha’i theology and practices. He spent much of his time traveling to teach and discuss the Baha’i faith, and at the same time developing architectural plans, with the occasional class taught at George Washington University. Remey wrote extensively, and his papers are held at the National Baha’i Archives, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, Princeton University, Yale University, and the Iowa Historical Society.


Catholic Problems in Western Canada

by George Thomas Daly, Preface by Most Reverend O. E. Mathieu

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George Thomas Daly was a Catholic leader who worked in Eastern Canada, but was asked to relocate to Western Canada to spread the religion. In this work, he discusses the desire to spread Catholicism westward across the country, and the complexities of Canada, the changing politics and dynamics of the world, advancing modernity, and what Canadian identity means. Among other things, Daly was very concerned about the spread of Bolshevism.

Daly focuses on the The Catholic Church Extension Society and its attempts to spread Catholicism, particularly in isolated areas. This work discusses Canadianization and how to intertwine a Catholic identity. Daly claims that people can unite regardless of their race or ethnicity, but does not acknowledge the harmful practices that missionizing has on erasing identity and culture. The work is significant in understanding Catholicism in Canada, and the development of the country.

This edition is dedicated to Judy Rich Lauder.


Checkered Life: In the Old and New World

by Rev. J. L. Ver Mehr

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When J. L Ver Mehr, also known as Jean Leonhard Henri Corneille Ver Mehr, passed away in 1886. The following served as his obituary:

A Brief Sketch of the Life of a Pioneer Clergyman
Rev. Dr. J. L. Ver Mehr, of whose death brief mention was made in yesterday’s papers, was one of the first clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church to arrive here. He came by way of Cape Horn, reaching San Francisco in September, 1849. He preached his first sermon in California in the house of a Mr. Merrill, in this city, on the 10th of that month. A chapel was next built before the close of that year at the corner of Powell and John streets and was opened for divine service on December 30th. This was the first Grace Church, the building being 20×60 feet, and costing $8,000. In April, 1850, Dr. Ver Mehr organized Grace Parish, he being the first rector, with David 8. Tamer and E. Bryant as wardens. He preached the first sermon in a new edifice on Powell street in the Summer of 1851. He resigned the rectorship on February 25, 1854, where it was assumed by Bishop Kip, who had arrived one month before that date. Dr. Ver Mehr then took charge of a private school in Sonoma. A few years later he returned to San Francisco and, with his wife, established a seminary. In connection with this institution was the “Chapel of the Holy Innocents,” of which the doctor Was pastor. This building was located at the site of the Denman Grammar School. It was owned by the doctor and was destroyed by fire on the 10th day of October, 1860. For a year or so thereafter Dr. Ver Mehr was editor of the Pacific Churchman. He was one of the Vice-Presidents of the California Bible Society, organized in this city on October 30, 1849. His daughter is the wife of J. M. Seawell, the lawyer, and he leaves grown grandchildren. (Daily Alta California, Volume 40, Number 13095, January 20, 1886)

While the obituary highlights the physical changes Ver Mehr brought to the landscape of Northern California, it does not bring to life the many colorful experiences he had. In Checkered Life, readers are treated to an interesting account of a very full career.


The Occult World: Teachings of Occult Philosophy

by A. P. Sinnett

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Alfred Percy Sinnett (1840-1921), a journalist and Theosophist, wrote frequently to members of the Brotherhood of Adepts, an occult organization. The famous Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya corresponded via mail with Sinnett, and Sinnett used parts of this correspondence to compose The Occult World. Together, along with others, they were building The Theosophical Society. Sinnett was friends with many of the leading theosophists and spent a productive time in India. The organization’s avowed object was at first the scientific investigation of psychic or so-called “spiritualistic” phenomena, after which its three chief objects were declared, namely (1) Brotherhood of man, without distinction of race, colour, religion, or social position; (2) the serious study of the ancient world-religions for purposes of comparison and the selection therefrom of universal ethics; (3) the study and development of the latent divine powers in man. The society has persisted through the decades and has branches or lodges scattered all over the world, some of which are in India, where its chief headquarters are established.