1652 – 2020
The effect of crime and justice in society has always been important to Quakers. Quakers have been concerned with prisons and offenders from the beginning. Many early Quakers spent time in prison, so had first hand experience. The belief in 'that of God' in everyone led to work on rehabilitating prisoners and on prison reform.
1652 – 2020
Children were seen from the outset as having ‘something of God’ within them, which should be respected and nurtured. They are entitled to education and to be heard, and to freedom from exploitation and ill treatment in the workplace and the home.
1652 – 2020
Quaker mission work over the centuries has had three strands – spreading the Quaker message to non-Friends, visiting and strengthening existing Friends, and service (educational, health…). These strands have often been interwoven, with varying thicknesses at different times and places, but all three continue to the present day.
1657 – 1918
Quaker missionaries first came to Germany in 1657. Many German Quakers emigrated to Pennsylvania, over the next two centuries, and some were key players in the early antislavery campaign. In Germany itself several meetings grew up, the most significant of which was at Bad Pyrmont in Saxony. They suffered greatly during the nineteenth century wars with France, but there were still small groups of Quakers in Germany at the end of World War 1.
1660 – 2020
Quakers have always been committed to education. They believed from the outset that it could nurture ‘that of God’ in everyone. There are Quaker schools on all continents, and some universities/colleges too. All aspire to a Quaker ethos, and all welcome Quakers and non-Quakers.
1660 – 2020
The belief in equality led Quakers to campaign against slavery, and to aspire to good treatment of anyone who worked in a Quaker enterprise. As well as workplace conditions, many were also concerned with general welfare. QUNO works at the UN towards international labour standards.
1662 – 1900
The Lloyd family from Dolobran, Montgomeryshire, Wales can trace their history back to the days of the early Quakers in the 17th Century and two brothers, Charles and Thomas. Both were imprisoned for their beliefs. Thomas later went to Pennsylvania where he became deputy governor. Many of their descendants prospered, first in iron making and later in banking.
1675 – 2030
Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) is British Friends’ key strategic body. It was established in response to the sufferings Quakers experienced in the early days, hence its name. Its role was soon broadened and it has played an important part in British Quakers’ responses to the needs of their time ever since. The name has never been changed.
1681 – 2020
A fundamental belief in the equality of all people has led Quakers to campaign actively against racism in many parts of the world.
1688 – 2020
Quakers in Philadelphia stated that slavery was immoral in 1688. Slavery was finally abolished in the United States, in 1865. In that time Quakers gradually rooted out slavery within the Quaker community, and campaigned for its general abolition. Many broke the law by assisting runaway slaves. American Quakers, with many others, work against modern forms of slavery.
1694 – 19121780
Many Quaker botanists were talented illustrators. Their work was particularly valuable because of their attention to detail and the care that they took to accurately represent the plants that they drew.
1698 – 1919
(1698 - 1919) Several Quakers met Russian Tsars and their diplomats, and discussed many topics. There were significant impacts on Russian education, agriculture and health. Towards the end of the period Friends’ focus was on relief - for victims of wars, for communities suffering famine, and for minorities suffering because of their beliefs.
1702 – 1813
The so-called ‘Six Quaker Clockmakers’ comprised four generations of a family of skilled clock and instrument makers, working in North America between 1702 and 1813. The first of the six, Abel Cottey, emigrated from Devon and probably built the first clock to be made in America . The second was Benjamin Chandlee, his apprentice and son-in-law, the third was Abel’s grandson, also Benjamin Chandlee, and the fourth, fifth and sixth, his great-grandsons, Goldsmith, Ellis and Isaac. Goldsmith is known in particular for his technically advanced compasses, designed for use by surveyors.
1728 – 2020
Quakers in South Africa have always been a small group, but with an influence that far outstrips their size. Today they are still actively concerned with justice, peacemaking, development, education and political activism.
1732 – 1822
William Tuke was born in York on 24 March 1732, into a leading Quaker family. He entered the family tea and coffee merchant business at an early age. He was able to devote much time to the pursuit of philanthropy. He is best remembered for founding The Retreat, in York, where he introduced humane and enlightened modes of treatment for the mentally ill.
1750 – 1950
Five Quakers are singled out here, though many others played their part. William Tuke (provision for mentally ill prisoners), Stephen Grellet (preacher and advocate of improvements), Elizabeth Fry (prison conditions for women), William Tallach (prevention and rehabilitation, and the first secretary of what became the Howard League for Penal Reform), and Margery Fry (also secretary of the Howard League, and advocate of compensation for victims of crime.
1750 – 19550
The Quaker Backhouse family had many interests. These included the Stockton and Darlington Railway, horticulture and botany and banking. The annual James Backhouse Lectures were instituted by the Religious Society of Friends in Australia in 1964.
1756 – 2011
The Fry family were leading chocolate manufacturers in Bristol for three generations. They created the first chocolate bar. Although philanthropic they did not have the organisation or the impact of their rivals Cadburys and Rowntrees. Elizabeth Fry and Margery Fry made major contributions to prison reform.
1759 – 1919
During the 18th and 19th century the three great Quaker chocolate firms emerged, all family enterprises – Fry’s, Cadbury’s and Rowntrees. They developed many new methods and products, and took great care of employee welfare. In the 20th century the firms became public companies and Quaker involvement soon declined.
1760 – 1846
Thomas Clarkson, although not a Quaker, was greatly influenced by them in his work for the abolition of the slave trade. He was a member of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
1769 – 1831
Elizabeth Heyrick was influential both in Britain and in the United States in the campaign for the Abolition of Slavery. She was also a feminist and philanthopist.
1770 – 1843
(1770 – 1843) was an eminent scientist, and pharmacist, and built his Allen and Hanbury business into a large concern. He was a generous philanthropist and activist, supporting many causes such as anti-slavery, poverty, emergency relief, and education. He travelled extensively throughout Europe and Russia, in connection with these.
1771 – 1840
Daniel Wheeler (1771-1840) was the first Quaker missionary to spend significant time in Russia. For 15 years he devoted himself to draining the unhealthy and unproductive St Petersburg marshes and transforming them into good agricultural land. He spent his final years on missionary travels in the South Seas and in North America.
1773 – 1855
(1773 – 1855) Stephen was born in France, but had to flee during the French Revolution in 1789, and reached New York in 1795. He became a Quaker after reading the writings of William Penn. His home was in Pennsylvania, but his missionary work took him to many parts of the US and Europe. He had a particular concern for prison reform.
1786 – 1862
Anne Knight (1786 - 1862) was an abolitionist and a feminist. She was impatient with the slow progress being made with abolishing slavery, and was vehemently against any compensation for slave owners. She campaigned for universal suffrage in Britain, so that women could vote.
1787 – 1807
Quakers in Britain quickly developed a strong network that linked meetings together. This network was a great source of strength in anti-slavery campaigning.
1787 – 1865
The historic anti-slavery campaigners pioneered some of the key features of modern campaigning methodology - campaign logos, produce boycotts, direct action/civil disobedience, and much else.
1789 – 1871
Thomas Garrett (1789-1871) was an abolitionist who helped 2,700 runaway slaves to reach to freedom. He worked on the underground railroad for forty years and was known at the "station master" at Wilmington, Delaware.
1789 – 1877
Robert Were Fox the Younger (1789 – 1877) was a Quaker geologist and mine owner from Cornwall in the UK. He was the first person to demonstrate that the Earth’s temperature increased with depth. He also developed a special form of compass accurate at all latitudes, used by Sir James Clark Ross in his expedition to discover the South Pole. With his daughters, Fox founded the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.
1793 – 1880
Lucretia Mott campaigned vigorously against slavery. She founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, and spoke publicly on many occasions, despite much opposition. She and her husband sheltered many runaway slaves in their home, and boycotted items produced by slave labour. She was also a strong proponent of women's rights, and co-organised the first women's rights convention in the US, in 1848.
1793 – 1859
Joseph Sturge was a British activist and philanthropist in Birmingham. He worked for peace, abolition of slavery, education and temperance. He helped revive the Adult School Movement.
1796 – 2020
The Retreat was founded in 1792 by William Tuke, a Yorkshire Quaker, and opened in 1796. It remains to this day a Quaker organisation. It was the first establishment in England where mental illness was regarded as something from which a person could recover, and patients were treated with sympathy, respect and dignity. its work continues to this day.
1798 – 1877
Levi Coffin (October 28, 1798 – September 16, 1877) was an American Quaker, abolitionist, and businessman. Coffin was deeply involved in the Underground Railroad in Indiana and Ohio and his home is often called "Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad". He was nicknamed "President of the Underground Railroad" because of the thousands of slaves that are reported to have passed through his care while escaping their masters.
1801 – 1889
John Cadbury (1801-89) founded the Cadbury chocolate business. He saw many social problems around him, and helped to alleviate them. He and his brother conceived the idea of a model village for their workers, and John's sons, George and Richard, brought this dream to fruition at Bournville.
1803 – 1893
John Horniman (1803-1893) was a Quaker tea merchant and philanthropist. As a merchant, he ensured that his tea was sold as an unadulterated product, safe to drink. As a philanthropist, he supported many charities, and endowed a children’s trust whose work continues to this day.
1809 – 1872
Robert Charleton was a pin manufacturer and an exemplary employer. He was also a philanthropist and set up a school for the children of his employees as well as financially supporting other schools for the children of the working classes. As a Quaker minister he toured England and Ireland and lectured on Quakerism and temperance. He was part of the delegation sent to Tsar Nicholas in the hope of preventing the Crimean War.
Quakers provided the finance, vision and in some cases the project management for the emergence of a network of railways in England. This had a profound influence on the transport of goods and people during the development of the Industrial Revolution.
1811 – 18890
John Bright (1811 – 1889) was the second Quaker to enter the British Parliament where he served for forty years. He was a Liberal and a Radical. He was a brilliant orator and a radical agitator who opposed the Corn Laws, the Crimean War and supported the North against the South in the American Civil War. He was also opposed to Home Rule for Ireland.
1813 – 1872
Ann Preston (1813-1872) was a pioneering American woman doctor and founder of Pennsylvania’s Women’s Hospital. She was a tireless and effective campaigner for the rights of women to become doctors.
1816 – 1856
John Fletcher Miller (1816-1856) was considered one of the foremost meteorologists of his time. One of a group of Quakers from the north of England to take a great interest in meteorology in the 19th Century, his meticulous observations and network of weather stations established the Lake District as one of the wettest places on earth, with higher rainfall than parts of the tropics.
1820 – 1964
Quakers have argued against capital punishment from very early on, and became effective campaigners in the 19th century.
1828 – 1889
Rachel Metcalf (1828-1889) was a 19th Quaker missionary to India, first travelling there in 1866. Despite contracting smallpox, which left her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she looked after a ‘growing family of orphans’ at Hoshangabad, the site of what would become the Friends Rural Centre at Rasulia.
1830 – 1899
Elizabeth Brown (1830-1899) was a British Quaker and amateur astronomer who made important observations of sunspots and the solar eclipse.
1831 – 1838
These nineteenth century Quaker missionaries travelled extensively throughout Australia, where they reported on conditions in the penal colonies and aboriginal settlements. Their six-year mission helped Quakerism take root in Australia. they also visited Mauritius and South Africa. Australian Friends’ annual Backhouse lecture commemorates James Backhouse.
1832 – 18990
Quakers were able to enter Parliament from 1832, and in the rest of the nineteenth century there was a disproportionally large number of Quaker MPs They all defended their convictions concerning social issues vigorously but were not always popular with their fellow Members of Parliament.
18th and 19th Century Quakers interest in observing the natural world led to a flourishing of Quaker scientists, particularly in the fields of botany, meteorology and astronomy. In Britain, one important way in which this interest was fostered was through Bootham School’s Natural History Society.
1836 – 1925
Joseph Rowntree (1836 – 1925) played an important part in building up the Rowntree family business, and later used his personal wealth to set up four charitable trusts. Throughout his lifetime he was concerned with the welfare of his employees and wider social issues, and the trusts take forward these concerns.
1838 – 1911
Cyrus Pringle (1838 - 1911) was a Quaker botanist for most of his adult life. However as a young man he was caught up in the American Civil War, and refused to fight because of his Quaker principles. He suffered greatly for this.
1846 – 1850
When Ireland suffered a terrible famine (1846-1850), Irish Friends appealed to Quakers in Britain and America to provide food and clothing. Soup kitchens were set up and a model farm was established to demonstrate efficient crop cultivation and help people to manage their holdings better. Altogether, during the Famine, Friends raised £200k in aid, a huge sum of money at the time.
1848 – 1920
The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the USA is widely considered to date from the First Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York State in 1848. This meeting was instigated by five women who had been closely involved in the abolition of slavery, all but one of whom were Quakers. In 1920, it was the actions and treatment of another Quaker woman – Alice Paul – which led at last to the passing of a Women’s Suffrage Bill by the US Congress.
1850 – 1888
Bryant and May opened a factory in London in 1850. The business grew and employed thousands of people, mainly women. In 1888 there was a notorious strike protesting at working conditions, which tarnished Quakers’ reputation as good employers.
1851 – 1916
Silvanus Phillips Thompson (1851-1916) was an electrical engineer, professor of physics, and a gifted communicator of scientific ideas. Like other Quaker scientists before and since, he drew parallels between the quests for truth in his science and in his faith.
1858 – 1951
Elizabeth Mary Cadbury (neẻ Taylor)DBE (1858 – 1951) She was a philanthropist, welfare worker and educationalist. She married George Cadbury in 1888 and raised his five children and six of her own, initially at Woodbrooke, their first house in Birmingham. Together they gave this house to British Friends in 1903, and it has been the home of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre ever since.
1860 – 2020
The Quaker presence in the Middle East goes back to the 1860s, when the first Quakers from Maine, USA arrived in Lebanon and Palestine. A community of Friends grew around the schools in Ramallah and Brummana. The community has lived through many changes of rulers in that time, but has always striven to be a beacon of hope for the future.
1862 – 1933
Nitobe Inazo (1862 - 1933) , 'Bridge Across the Pacific', was a Japanese Quaker who became the first Under Secretary General for the League of Nations.
1863 – 1948
Rufus Jones (1863-1948) was a highly influential American Quaker academic. For many years he was professor of psychology and philosophy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the American Friends Service Committee. His influence enabled the two divisions of American Quakerism, which split in the mid 19th Century, to reunite after his death.
1866 – 1942
Ada Salter (1866-1942) was a pacifist and a socialist. She was the first woman Labour mayor and spent her life working for the people of Bermondsey and London.
1867 – 2020
Quaker missionaries, mostly from Britain, served in Madagascar for a hundred years. They founded, and worked in, schools and hospitals, during a period of great change for the country. Malagasy Friends today are part of a wider Protestant church, and Quakers from elsewhere support their work financially and as volunteers.
1867 – 2020
Quaker Social Action, a UK charity, was originally established as the Bedford Institute Association n 1867, to combat poor quality and unaffordable housing, food poverty, poorly paid and intermittent work, and families struggling to pay for funerals. Many of these same issues are still being addressed today by QSA, along with feelings of social isolation and a lack of community.
1870 – 1946
The Friends War Victims Relief Committee was an official arm of the Society of Friends in Britain, set up in times of war to relieve civilian distress in practical ways. The first FWVRC was set up in 1870, following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. It was revived in Eastern Europe in 1876 and in the Balkans in 1912, and at the beginning of both World Wars. In 1941 its name was changed to the Friends Relief Service. In 1946, its work was taken over by the permanent Friends Service Council.
1870 – 1871
The first official Friends War Victims Relief Committee (FWVRC) was set up in 1870, following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. It undertook relief work among the civilian population of towns and villages devastated by the war. This was the first time the Quaker star - the badge of the Quaker relief worker - was used, and the policy of no discrimination between the "sides" in war was formally adopted.
1870 – 2020
Although Quakers were involved with relief work from their earliest days, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the first ‘official’ institution for relief was set up. Even then, such bodies tended to be disbanded when the immediate need was over. Only in the 20th century did Friends in several countries set up permanent Quaker service agencies, with relief as part of their work. Many Friends are also active in broader relief organisations such as Oxfam, which Quakers helped to establish.
1871 – 1974
Alongside working in senior positions in the Rowntree family business Seebohm undertook several seminal studies of poverty and its causes. His analyses influenced the development of social policy in Britain in many ways. He was at the heart of the enlightened labour conditions developed at Rowntrees.
Seventeen percent of the world’s Quakers live in Latin America, with roughly half of them in Bolivia, with the majority of the rest in Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. Many are indigenous Andean people.
1873 – 2020
Brummana High school was founded in 1873. It pioneered a unique multi-faith co-educational approach in Lebanon adapting the English Quaker boarding school model. The curriculum is international. Students work in the community, and support charities. The school motto is "I Serve", and many alumni testify to its enduring effect on their lives.
1873 – 1945
Alfred Salter was a medical practitioner, pacifist, teetotaler and politician who worked tirelessly for poor and socially deprived people. His wife Ada was also a prominent socialist.
1874 – 1958
The life and work of Margery Fry illustrates Quaker faith in action with clear impact. She brought together many strands of concern for offenders, victims and communities, seeking to join together in meeting needs and restoring equilibrium.
1875 – 2020
Friends Rural Centre in Rasulia, Madhya Pradesh, India, has been a centre for rural development for over a hundred years. It was established as a missionary site by the Friends Foreign Mission Association in 1875. It developed as an orphanage following severe famines, then became a centre for study and meditation, before finally becoming a centre of a network of rural development programmes, sharing knowledge of sustainable farming methods.
1878 – 1962
Anna Ruth Fry (1878-1962) was secretary to the Friends War Victims Relief Committee from 1914 to 1923. During this time, she travelled to every country in which the FWVRC worked, including making three trips to Russia under very difficult conditions.
1882 – 1944
Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) was a Quaker astronomer and physicist. He was the first British scientist to receive papers expounding Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and his observations of the solar eclipse in 1919 provided the first proof that light is subject to gravity. He saw no dichotomy between personal religious experience and the new physics, and felt there was a close relationship between religious mysticism and the feeling of inspiration experienced by scientists on the cusp of a major breakthrough.
1883 – 1952
Corder Catchpool (1883-1952) was a British Quaker and an absolutist conscientious objector who served time in prison during the First World War. He worked in Berlin between the wars, initially in relief and reparations, and later providing support for Jewish families persecuted by the Nazis.
1885 – 1977
Alice Paul (1885-1977) was an American Quaker campaigner for women’s suffrage. She led the Silent Sentinels – a peaceful protest outside the White House calling for women’s votes – and was jailed. After going on hunger strike to protest at conditions there, she was put on a psychopathic ward and force fed.
1888 – 1895
Anti-Caste was Britain’s first anti-racist journal. It was published from 1888 to 1895 by Catherine Impey (1847–1923), a Quaker woman from Somerset. It included reports on anti-lynching campaigns in the southern states of America, and the work of prominent African American campaigners, as well as confronting issues of racism within the British Empire.
1889 – 1989
Horace Alexander (1889-1989) was a Quaker who contributed significantly to the peaceful transfer of power from the British to the independent governments of India and Pakistan, and afterwards worked to limit the terrible communal violence that followed.
1889 – 1982
Philip Noel-Baker was a British Quaker. An academic and politician, he was involved in the establishment of both the League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1959, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work on disarmament.
1897 – 1963
In 1890 Britain took over the protectorate of Zanzibar, where slavery was widespread. In 1897 British Quakers established an industrial mission on Pemba Island, which lasted in various forms until 1963. They met with many difficulties, but are credited with liberating about 1000 slaves, and for providing education and employment for many.
17180 – 1955
Many Quakers ran businesses supplying plants to the nobility. There were famous nurseries in Lancashire, York and London. They were responsible for making many varieties of plants commercially available. Many were also dedicated gardeners and had a reputation for diligence and hard work. They were sought after by the gentry to care for their gardens and estates.
17720 – 18640
Luke Howard (1772 – 1864) was a pharmacist and meteorologist who created a classification of the clouds.
Quakers were prominent in the abolition of the slave trade and in the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. They remain active as individuals in efforts to alleviate modern forms of slavery.
18390 – 1922
Chocolate and cocoa maker in Birmingham. England. He was also a philanthropist and social reformer.