by George L. Harrison
William Penn was born in London, England, on October 14, 1644, and would become many things, including a father, husband, legal and religious figure. He is most well known for founding the state of Pennsylvania. Penn was born into a family of wealth and political power, and as such, he enjoyed quality schooling, including attending Christ Church College, now University of Oxford, in 1660. However, he was expelled for criticizing the Church of England. During the 1660s, Penn met some members of the Society of Friends while in Ireland, and he eventually converted to the religion. He was jailed for blasphemy his 1668 work, The Sandy Foundation Shaken. Undeterred, and even more committed to his faith, he wrote No Cross, No Crown. He married fellow Quaker, Gulielma Maria Springett, and together they had three children. In 1681, Penn petitioned King Charles II for a charter to found Pennsylvania, which he hoped to develop as a place tolerant of all religions, and to have peaceful relationships with the numerous Native American tribes inhabiting the area.
Penn lived in and out of Pennsylvania after founding it, but returned to England after 1701, and ultimately passed away in Berkshire, England, on July 30, 1718. His health had been failing after he suffered a stroke in 1712. His second wife, Hannah Callowhill, largely ran the colony.
This edition is dedicated to the library readers of the Friends Meeting in Washington, D.C.
by H. Fielding Hall
The Soul of a People was originally released in 1898. Written by Harold Fielding Hall, a British official sent to Burma (now Myanmar) to take part in the Burma Commission. Hall lived for many years in Burma, and wrote this account of the places, people and of Buddhism as he encountered it during his travels.
Through his understanding on Burmese Buddhism, he uses it to relate to other Burmese customs and laws, on everything from marriage, festivals, criminal justice, gender roles, and the high value placed on life in all forms found within nature. Hall writes as a liberal Christian seeking to learn more about Buddhism, and he endeavors to describe religious tenants, as well as folklore and other local beliefs and customs. This work gives a great glimpse of life in Burma during the late 1800s, while also illustrating the perils of colonialism.
This new edition is dedicated to Hera Tun Oo, energetic traveler and probing scholar.
by Susanna Hopkins Mason
Social history as a corrective to a historiography is often too limited to diplomacy and wars. It began an upward trajectory as early as the 1930s, but it remains constrained by the frustrating cost and availability of materials that even great research libraries lack. This volume is a case in point.
Fraternal movements like Freemasonry have impacted society for hundreds of years. Yet, over time research into their undoubted influence has been handicapped by their codes of secrecy, arcane rituals, and the paucity of continuing tertiary research projects. As a step towards “more light” Westphalia Press has produced a number of scarce titles that will be helpful in understanding the “secret empire” of lodges, initiations, and (candidly) the deliberately inscrutable.John J. Lanier was a self-described, Masonic Lecturer, and author of numerous books on Masonic culture, including The Master Mason, Masonry and Citizenship, and Washington, the Great American Mason.
by Louis C. Cornish
In 1922, a joint commission of US and UK Unitarian Churches traveled to Transylvania after concerns over religions persecution arose in a prior visit in 1920. The Commission was gladdened to see an increase in liberty, but upset to discover that the Romanian government was not wholly supportive of not just Unitarians, but other religious organizations, such as the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and Lutherans. Namely, they were upset that endowments and land for these religious institutions was being taken back.
In this work, Louis C. Cornish has compiled an interesting look at Transylvania during this time period. He concludes with a plea to support a Unitarian Mission House in Budapest, which, at the time, had over six thousand Unitarians, and a single church with a seating capacity of 250 to support them.
by Charles William Eliot
Born into a wealthy Boston family, Eliot was fortunate enough to concentrate on his studies and have the ability to attend Boston Latin School, and then later graduate from Harvard University in 1853. However, after the Panic of 1857, Eliot’s family lost much of its wealth. Eliot decided to visit various schools across Europe and study educational systems after being passed over for a professorship.After close to two years abroad, Eliot returned home and enjoyed an appointment at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eliot remained interested in improving the educational system in the US, which was not seen as offering particularly useful knowledge to an industrializing country. His sentiments were shared by much of the public, and he wrote a well-received article in The Atlantic Monthly about his visions for a reformed educational system. In 1969, after the publication of the article, Eliot would be selected as the president of Harvard.
Eliot, despite trying to remove football from the school, was a popular president, enough so to have served 40 years. He modernized the curriculum, introduced standardized exams, expanded the facilities, and changed the way educational institutions funded themselves. The Durable Satisfactions of Life is a collection of essays and addresses given by Eliot which often reflect on his ethical and religious views of life.
This new edition is dedicated to Arthur Shurcliff.
by Thomas Woody PhD
Born on September 3, 1891, in Thorntown, Indiana, to a Quaker family. Woody would remain in Indiana for his B.A., which he obtained from Indiana University. Later he could go on to earn his PhD in 1918 from Columbia University. Woody wrote a great deal about Quakers, formally known as the Religious Society of Friends, but later focused strongly on education. In addition to “Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania,” 1920, he also wrote “Quaker Education in the Colony and State of New Jersey” published in 1923. In 1929, he was an awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study political education on Russian citizens. Woody was interested in and researched learning processes across a variety of people and places. One of his most famous works is A History of Women’s Education in the United States, published in 1929.
This new edition is dedicated to the Friends Meeting in Washington D.C. and its library.
by William Beck and Thomas Frederick Ball
The London Friends’ Meetings is a significant expansion on a lecture given by William Beck in 1856, “The London Friends’ Meeting-houses and Their Associations.” Co-author, Thomas Frederick Ball spent a great time doing research in minute-books and other holdings of the Friends in London. The records offer a look at the very long history of the Friends, offering primary sources prior to 1740, and up to 1869.
In this work, Beck and Ball offer both depth and breadth, and offers a look at London’s history, and how it impacted the development of the Friends. The research into the holdings of various groups gives an overview of religious and interpersonal relationships as they developed within different Friends congregations.