1652 – 2020
Crime and Justice
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
Rights of the Child
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
Quakers in Germany 1657–1918
Quaker missionaries first came to Germany in 1657. Later many German Quakers went to Pennsylvania, and some were early antislavery campaigners. Quakerism also persisted in Germany itself.
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 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
The first Quaker Lloyds were brothers Charles and Thomas, from Dolobran, Wales. Thomas emigrated and became deputy governor of Pennsylvania. Later generations prospered, notably in iron and banking.
1675 – 2030
Meeting for Sufferings
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.
1694 – 19121780
Botanists: the Illustrators
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
Interaction with Tsarist Russia
(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
Six Quaker Clockmakers in North America
(1702 -1813) comprised four generations of a family of skilled clock and instrument makers. The first, Abel Cottey, probably built the first clock made in America. A great-grandson made advanced compasses for surveyors.
1728 – 2020
Quakers in South Africa
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
(1732 - 1822) worked in the family tea and coffee business in York, UK. He was a keen philanthropist, and founded The Retreat, in York, where he introduced humane modes of treatment for the mentally ill.
1748 – 1814
Thomas Scattergood (1784-1814) brought the concept of the 'moral treatment' of mentally ill patients to Philadelphia from The Retreat in York. England. He helped found Friends Hospital, the first mental hospital in the US to follow this model.
1750 – 1950
Influential Quakers in crime and justice in Britain from 1750 to 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.
1751 – 1832
(1751-1832) was an early Quaker feminist and philanthropist. She established one of England's first savings banks, and wrote many books for young people on scientific subjects, as well as a significant book on feminist economics.
1756 – 2011
The Fry Family, Chocolate Makers
Bristol apothecary Joseph Fry was sure that cocoa was a much healthier drink than alcohol. The family became were major chocolate manufacturers in Bristol, and later created the first chocolate bar.
1759 – 1919
The 19th century saw three great Quaker chocolate firms emerge, all family enterprises – Frys, Cadburys and Rowntrees. In the 20th century the firms became public companies and Quaker involvement soon declined.
1760 – 1846
(1760-1846) although not a Quaker, was greatly influenced by them in his work for the abolition of the slave trade. He was a key member of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
1769 – 1831
(1769-1831) was influential both in Britain and the US in the campaign for the abolition of slavery. She was a key leader of the boycott of West Indian sugar, because it was produced by slaves. She was also a feminist.
1770 – 1843
(1770-1843) became an eminent pharmacist. A generous philanthropist and activist, he supported many causes - anti-slavery, poverty, emergency relief, and education. He travelled widely in Europe and Russia, in connection with these.
1771 – 1840
(1771-1840) was the first Quaker missionary to spend significant time in Russia. For 15 years he devoted himself to transforming the St Petersburg marshes 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
(1786 -1862) was an abolitionist and a feminist. Impatient with the slow progress towards abolition in Britain, she argued vehemently against compensation for slave owners. She also campaigned strongly for votes for women.
1787 – 1807
Quaker organisation and Anti-Slavery campaigning
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
Anti-Slavery: Pioneering Aspects of Modern Campaigning
The historic anti-slavery campaigners pioneered some of the key features of modern campaigning - logos, produce boycotts, direct action, and much else.
1789 – 1871
(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)
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.
1790 – 2020
Influence on Prison Design
The design of an institution is very important in determining what happens within it.
1793 – 1880
(1793-1880) was a prominent abolitionist and advocate of rights for women. She sheltered many runaway slaves and boycotted items produced by slave labour. She founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and in 1848 co-organised the first women's rights convention in the US.
1793 – 1859
(1793-1859) was a corn merchant and philanthropist in Birmingham. He worked for peace, the abolition of slavery, education and temperance. He helped revive the Adult School Movement.
1796 – 2020
The Retreat, York, England
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
(1798-1877) was an abolitionist, and a businessman. He was deeply involved in the Underground Railroad in Indiana and Ohio and his home was often called 'Grand Central Station'. Many escaping slaves passed through his care.
1801 – 1889
(1801-89) founded the Cadbury chocolate business in Birmingham, though he initially worked in the tea trade. He saw many social ills around him, and was especially active in the temperance movement.
1803 – 1893
(1803-1893) was a Quaker tea merchant. He ensured that his tea was sold as an unadulterated product, safe to drink. He supported many charities, and endowed a children’s trust whose work continues to this day.
1809 – 1872
(1809 -1872) was a pin manufacturer. He was also a philanthropist and set up a school for the children of his employees and supported other schools. He also lectured on Quakerism and temperance.
Railways in Britain
Quakers made a major contribution to 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.
Friends Hospital, Philadelphia
Friends Hospital is a mental hospital in Philadelphia. it was founded by Quakers in 1813 and was the first private psychiatric hospital in the US. It was modelled on the methods pioneered by William Tuke at The Retreat, in York, England.
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
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
Campaigning against Capital Punishment in Britain
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
Mission in Australia: James Backhouse and George Washington Walker
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. Australian Friends’ annual Backhouse lecture commemorates James Backhouse.
1832 – 18990
British Quakers in Parliament in the Nineteenth Century
Quakers were able to enter Parliament from 1832, and in the rest of the century there was a disproportionally large number of Quaker MPs. They were vigorous campaigners on social issues, and were not always popular with their fellow MPs.
1832 – 1917
Edward Burnett Tylor
Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) was an English anthropologist. he helped to establish anthropology as a recognised scientific discipline. I his work he upheld the Quaker belief in the equality of all humankind; he classified the cultures he observed as savage, barbarian or civilised, but saw these as stages through which all societies must pass.
John Ford and the Natural History Society of Bootham School
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
(1836 – 1925) built up the Rowntree family business, and later used his personal wealth to set up four charitable trusts. Throughout his lifetime he was concerned with social issues, and the trusts take forward these concerns.
1837 – 1909
Aborigines Protection Society
The Society was set up in 1837 to advocate for the indigenous peoples in the British Empire. In 1909 it merged with the British and Foreign Antislavery Society to form what is now Anti-Slavery International
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.
1839 – 1922
(1839 - 1922) built Cadburys into a large and successful concern, in partnership with his brother Richard, and created Bournville village, a 'factory in a garden'. He was also a philanthropist and social reformer.
1846 – 1850
Famine Relief in Ireland (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
Quakers and the American Women’s Suffrage Movement
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 Matchmakers
In 1850 Bryant and May opened a match making factory in London. In 1888 there was a notorious strike to protest against their 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
(1858 – 1951) was a committed adult educator. She was central to the development of education in Bournville and Birmingham. She was active in other issues too, notably disarmament and the League of Nations.
1860 – 2020
Involvement in the Middle East
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. Her husband Dr Alfred Salter worked tirelessly among the poor of Bermondsey.
1867 – 2020
Quakers in Madagascar
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
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
Friends War Victims Relief Committee (FWVRC)
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
Friends War Victims Relief Committee in the Franco-Prussian War
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
Institutions of Relief and Service
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
(1871 - 1954) undertook several seminal studies of poverty and its causes. He influenced the development of social policy in Britain and was at the heart of the enlightened labour conditions developed at Rowntrees.
Quakers in Central and South America
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 School, Lebanon
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 (1873-1945) was a medical practitioner, pacifist, teetotaler and politician who worked tirelessly for poor and socially deprived people in Bermondsey, London. His wife Ada was an prominent Bermondsey politician and activist.
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.
Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia, India
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. His observations of the 1919 solar eclipse confirmed Einstein's predictions. He felt that religious mysticism, and the feeling of inspiration scientists sometimes have, were rather alike .
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 a peaceful protest outside the White House and was jailed. After going on hunger strike, she was put on a psychopathic ward and force fed.
1888 – 1895
Quakers against racism: Catherine Impey and the Anti-Caste Journal
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
Friends Industrial Mission Zanzibar
In 1890 Britain took over Zanzibar, where slavery was widespread. Quakers established an industrial mission on Pemba Island. They are credited with liberating about 1000 slaves, and providing education and employment.
17180 – 1955
Gardeners and Nurserymen
Many Quakers ran businesses supplying plants to wealthy landowners. There were famous nurseries in Lancashire, York and London. Some worked as gardeners on large estates and had a reputation for diligence and hard work.
17720 – 18640
Luke Howard (1772 – 1864) was a pharmacist and meteorologist who created a classification of the clouds.
Anti-Slavery in Britain
Quakers were prominent in the abolition of the slave trade and in the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. Today many Quakers work against modern forms of slavery.