Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with quakers

Timeline

Study Modules

Magazine Issues

Articles

15 Feb 2016

Recommended resources

by the editors | Issue 117

Books

Some good overall books on the Quaker movement are Stephen Angell and Pink Dandelion, The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies (2013); Pink Dandelion, An Introduction to Quakerism (2007) and The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction (2008); John Punshon, Portrait in Grey: A Short History of the Quakers (2003); Howard Brinton, Friends for 350 Years (2002); Walter R. Williams, The Rich Heritage of Quakerism (1987); and D. Elton Trueblood, The People Called Quakers (1985).

Guides to Quaker beliefs include Paul Anderson, Following Jesus (2013);...

Read More
15 Feb 2016

A radical experiment

by D. Elton Trueblood | Issue 117

Something has gone wrong in the modern world. Men and women … are a confused and bewildered generation. This is not true merely of the vanquished, but of a majority of the victors … not merely of those who live in the cellars of bombed houses and ride in converted cattle cars; it is true likewise of those who live in steam-heated apartments and ride in Pullman drawing rooms. …

CH 119Order Christian History #117: The Surprising Quakers in print.

Subscribe now to get future print issues in your mailbox (donation requested but not required).

What...

Read More
15 Feb 2016

A foundation of Friends

by Carole Dale Spencer | Issue 117

Levi Coffin (1798–1877) 

“It tried a man’s soul to be an abolitionist in those days, when brickbats, stones, and rotten eggs were the arguments we had to meet,” lamented Levi Coffin in Reminiscences (1876). A white abolitionist, he became one of the celebrated symbols of the Underground Railroad, the legendary secret network that aided fugitive slaves to escape to freedom.

Coffin was born to a Quaker farming family in New Garden, North Carolina. He had little formal education, being largely taught by his father at home. He wrote that he...

Read More
15 Feb 2016

From mud huts to Yearly Meetings

by Robert J. Wafula | Issue 117

IN 1902 North American Quaker missionaries Arthur Chilson, Edgar Hole, and Willis Hotchkiss first set foot on East African soil, settling on a cool, quiet, 1,010-acre piece of wooded land at a place known as Kaimosi. They were soon followed by Emory and Deborah Rees, who arrived by way of war-torn South Africa. Trained at Cleveland Bible Institute (now Malone University), the five were the first of many who came to Kenya from the Midwest over the next decade. 

The Reeses set about transforming oral literature into written language, helping...

Read More
15 Feb 2016

Bearing and not bearing the sword

by Chuck Fager | Issue 117

THE FIRST THING most people think of when they hear “Quakers” is “silent meetings,” a characterization gleaned from childhood nursery rhymes. But the next quality many think of is “peace loving,” set forth by the very first Friends in England and still at the core of what it means to be a Quaker today. But could the call to peace be held consistently? It was one thing for Quakers to advocate “no sword” while governments persecuted them. It was harder to implement a “no sword” policy when Quakers themselves became governors. 

“we cannot...

Read More
15 Feb 2016

To act in the spirit “not of judgment, but of mercy”

by Alice Almond Shrock | Issue 117

fry“Hell above ground” makes an apt description of Newgate, London’s most notorious prison in the early 1800s. The men’s cells were despicable and the women’s even worse. According to one observer, the “horror, filth and cruelty would have disgraced even a slave ship.” First to assault the senses was the stench: daily human waste, menstrual blood, birthing blood, alcohol, vomit all saturated the floor straw and produced an overwhelming odor. Then came the racket: the screaming and fighting of the felons crammed into windowless wards built for...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Unforgettable witness for freedom

by Stephen W. Angell | Issue 117

CH 119Order Christian History #117: The Surprising Quakers in print.

Subscribe now to get future print issues in your mailbox (donation requested but not required).

JOHN WOOLMAN (1720–1772), fourth child and eldest son of a family of 13 in colonial New Jersey, set a high standard for antislavery witness through his antislavery essays and writings. His eloquent and searching Journal , published posthumously in 1775, has never been out of print. At age 19 Woolman was asked by another Quaker to write a bill of sale for an African American woman....

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Seeking freedom

by Stephen W. Angell | Issue 117

IN 1855 a spectacular  slave rescue occurred in Philadelphia, with Quaker Passmore Williamson playing a central role. Williamson rescued a slave woman, Jane Johnson, and helped her and her two sons to depart aboard a ferry from the Philadelphia harbor. From Philadelphia African American activists spirited Johnson and her sons into seclusion, hoping to escape her closely pursuing master—United States ambassador to Nicaragua and North Carolina plantation owner John Hill Wheeler. 

Nineteenth-century Quakers indeed held deep convictions on the...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

350 years of a unique witness: Quaker timeline

by Thomas Hamm and the editors | Issue 117

1649 Parliament beheads King Charles I in a political and religious dispute. During the turmoil of the next 11 years, many dissident religious groups form and dissolve. 

1652 Quaker founder George Fox has a vision while on Pendle Hill in northwest England of “a great people to be gathered.” People are drawn to Fox’s straightforward message, based on his extensive biblical knowledge and intense personal experience of the presence of God in his life.

1655 Margaret Fell (later Margaret Fox) adds her organizational genius to the Quaker...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

All who believed in God were welcome

by J. William Frost | Issue 117

WILLIAM PENN (1644–1718) was an accomplished and influential English gentleman who once disarmed a drunken man before a duel could ensue. There were many like him in the seventeenth century. But Penn also became a radical Quaker, a theologian, a defender of religious liberty, a political theorist—and the proprietor of colonial Pennsylvania, responsible for a territory nearly as large as Ireland. The one-time man of the sword would go down in history as a man of peace. 

distinguished roots

William’s father, Sir William Penn, was a decorated...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Testimonies of truth

by Paul N. Anderson | Issue 117

THEY WERE KNOWN AS “Children of the Light” and “Publishers of Truth” and eventually simply as “Friends.” Like many believers of their day, Quakers sought to interpret and follow the Scriptures apart from established religious authorities. Their focus on the Inward Light of Christ in the believer distinguished them from both the established churches and other dissenting groups. William Penn described the Quaker faith as “primitive Christianity revived” in his book of the same name, but what exactly set them apart? 

From the time of George...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

A man with a mission

by George Fox | Issue 117

CH 119Order Christian History #117: The Surprising Quakers in print.

Subscribe now to get future print issues in your mailbox (donation requested but not required).

AS I HAD forsaken all the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those called the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, oh then, I heard a voice which said, “There is one, even...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

A woman with a message

by Margaret Fell | Issue 117

CH 119Order Christian History #117: The Surprising Quakers in print.

Subscribe now to get future print issues in your mailbox (donation requested but not required).

MARK THIS, you that despise and oppose the Message of the Lord God that he sends by Women; What had become of the Redemption of the whole Body of Mankind, if they had not cause to believe the Message that the Lord Jesus sent by these Women, of and concerning his Resurrection? [Matthew 28:10, Mark 16:9, John 20:16–17].

And if these Women had not thus, out of their Tenderness, and...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Seeking the light of Christ

by Max L. Carter | Issue 117

I OFTEN TELL STUDENTS bemused by the culture at the Quaker college where I teach that Friends are “lost in the  sixties”—the 1660s

The situation in England, where Quakerism began in the mid-seventeenth century, seemed as chaotic in those days as the 1960s seemed to Americans going through them. Distinctive principles and “testimonies” observed by Friends today are deeply rooted in the issues and debates that marked the Civil War period of English history and its aftermath. We can understand those times and their influence on Quakerism...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Editor’s note

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Issue 117

ONE of our editorial staff was first introduced to the Quakers through the old rhyme “Quaker meeting has begun,” employed by her mother to quiet the troops. (Read it in “Did you know?” on the inside front cover.) In my case, it was the Marguerite de Angeli children’s book Thee, Hannah! that opened my eyes to Quaker plain dress and commitment to abolition. Thirty-five years later, I still recall Hannah’s doleful contemplation of her non-Quaker friends’ much fancier bonnets.

Some of us pass plain white Quaker meeting houses during our daily...

Read More
13 Feb 2016

Did you know?

by the editors | Issue 117

Doing business with Friends

The nineteenth century saw many Quakers rise to prominence in business. Quaker businessmen owned three famed British chocolate companies: Cadburys, Frys, and Rowntrees (for more, see “Godless capitalists?” in CH 104). None of the three firms remains Quaker today. Barclays Bank, the closest thing Quakers had to a national bank for their movement, goes all the way back to Quaker goldsmiths John Freame and Thomas Gould in 1690. Freame’s grandson David Barclay, a strong abolitionist and supporter of William...

Read More
28 Feb 1997

Prison Reform: Brutality Behind Bars

by Danny Day | Issue 53

TODAY MANY PEOPLE worry that our society is too lenient on prisoners. In the early 1800s, Elizabeth Fry worried about the opposite—and for good reason.

England’s prisons were infamous for filth, brutality, and extreme suffering. The idea was to punish not to reform prisoners.

In the women’s division, where Fry would direct her greatest reform efforts, inmates were usually crammed into one room: those tried and those awaiting trial, those guilty of misdemeanors and those guilty of capital offenses. Typically a woman’s children would...

Read More
1 Sept 1986

The Quakers

by the Editors | Issue 11

BUNYAN CHALLENGED THE QUAKERS in a number of his works. His first book, in fact, was an attack on Quaker beliefs. Who were these “deceivers,” as he called them, that he wrote so vehemently against?

The movement had its beginnings in 1647 when George Fox began to preach in Nottinghamshire. When he spoke, people sensed the presence and power of God.

Unsatisfied by formal religion, Fox had spent several years as a young man wandering and seeking, questioning clergymen and separatists, but finding no help for his spiritual emptiness. Finally he...

Read More

Blog Posts

Products

  • Quakers- That of God in Everyone $14.99

    Quakers- That of God in Everyone

    • Documentary
    • 2015
    • All

    Though many are familiar with the Quaker names such as William Penn, Susan B. Anthony, Daniel Boone and Johns Hopkins, lesser-known Quakers also impacted society in significant ways. These are untold stories Friends who profoundly influenced the course of American history by seeing that of God in everyone.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine #117: The Surprising Quakers $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #117: The Surprising Quakers

    • Magazine
    • 2016
    • 43 Pages
    • Christian History Institute

    Quakers are known for their silent meetings and simple living, but we’ll uncover surprising stories of charismatic leaders, fervent social activism, and even a few bold Quakers who went naked as a prophetic sign in this issue of Christian History magazine.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle $50.00

    Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle

    • Magazine
    • 2011-2016
    • Christian History Institute

    This special bundle includes printed copies of all 21 issues and our two guides. Topics covered include the Making of the KJV, Early African Christianity, Persecution in the Modern era, Heaven, Martin Luther, and much more.

    Details
  • History Of Christianity - With PDFs $19.99

    History Of Christianity - With PDFs

    • DVD
    • 159 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2000
    • Samford University

    This is a survey course designed to further stimulate your curiosity by providing glimpses of some of the pivotal events in the spread Christianity and sketches of great Christian figures who have significantly affected Christian history thereby shaping the history of the world.

    Details
  • Saints And Strangers $15.99

    Saints And Strangers

    • DVD
    • 59 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2002
    • FamilyNet

    Saints and Strangers addresses religious influences from the time of the Mayflower to the Great Awakening, from Plymouth Rock to the War of Independence. It examines the groups of the faithful who were crucial influences during the colonial period — the Church of England, the Puritans, Baptist, Quakers, and others.

    Details