The Surprising Quakers: Recommended resources


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); Wilmer Cooper, A Living Faith: An Historical Study of Quaker Beliefs (1990); Leonard Kenworthy, Quakerism: A Study Guide on the Religious Society of Friends (1981); and Rufus Jones, The Faith and Practice of the Quakers(1927).

Hear Friends speak in their own words in Thomas Hamm, Quaker Writings: An Anthology, 1650–1920 (2011); Mary Garman, Judith Applegate, Margaret Benefiel, and Dortha Meredith, Hidden in Plain Sight: Quaker Women’s Writings, 1650–1700 (1996); Jessamin West, The Quaker Reader (1992); Hugh Barbour and Arthur O. Roberts, Early Quaker Writings: 1650–1700 (1973); and Douglas Steere, Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings in the Classics of Western Spirituality series (1983). Be sure to check out full-length classic writings of Quaker authors including George Fox, Journal, John Woolman, Journal, and William Penn, No Cross, No Crown and Some Fruits of Solitude. And look at Friends humorously in Chuck Fager, Quakers Are Hilarious! (2013).

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The Quaker movement in America, including its various splits and conflicts, is covered in Hamm, The Quakers in America (2003) and The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800–1907 (1988); H. Larry Ingle, Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Reformation (1998); Hugh Barbour and J. William Frost, The Quakers (1988); and Fager, Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism and Helped Save America(2014).

William Penn is the subject of George Hodges, William Penn (1929); Jean Soderlund, ed., William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania (1983); John Moretta, William Penn and the Quaker Legacy (2006); Genevieve Foster, The World of William Penn (2008); and Kevin Kenny, Peaceable Kingdom Lost(2009).

Read more about Quakers and slavery in David Crosby, ed., The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754–1783 (2013); Geoffrey Plank, John Woolman’s Path to the Peaceable Kingdom: A Quaker in the British Empire (2012); Harold Weaver Jr., Paul Kriese, and Stephen Angell, eds., Black Fire: African-American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights (2011); Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank, eds., Quakers and Abolition (2014); Jean Soderlund, Quakers and Slavery: A Divided Spirit (1985); Hugh Barbour, Slavery and Theology: Writings of Seven Quaker Reformers, 1800–1870 (1985); Phillips Moulton, The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman (1971); Thomas Drake, Quakers and Slavery in America (1965); and Levi Coffin, Reminiscences (1876).

Elizabeth Fry and prison reform form the centerpiece of Anne Isba, The Excellent Mrs. Fry: Unlikely Heroine (2010); Annemieke van Drenth and Francisca de Haan, The Rise of Caring Power: Elizabeth Fry and Josephine Butler in Britain and the Netherlands (1999); June Rose, Elizabeth Fry: A Biography (1980) and Prison Pioneer: The Story of Elizabeth Fry (1994); and Janet Whitney, Elizabeth Fry: Quaker Heroine (1940). Listen to Fry speak in her own words in Gil Skidmore, ed., Elizabeth Fry: A Quaker Life: Selected Writings and Letters(2005).

Read more about Quakers and peace in Meredith Baldwin Weddle, Walking in the Way of Peace: Quaker Pacifism in the Seventeenth Century (2001); Chuck Fager, ed., A Continuing Journey: Papers from the Quaker Peace Roundtable (1995), Sustaining Peace Witness in the 21st Century (1997), and Friends and the Vietnam War (1998); Peter Brock, The Quaker Peace Testimony: 1660 to 1914 (1990); Jennifer Edwards Baily, World War II: A Challenge to the Peace Testimony of Quakers in America (1982); Leonard Kenworthy, The Friends Peace Testimony (1977); E. W. Orr, The Quakers in Peace and War, 1920–1967 (1974); and Jos Rowntree and Helen Byles Ford, The Quaker Peace Testimony: An Anthology (1949).

Finally, read about Quakers worldwide in Ron Stansell, Missions by the Spirit (2010); Herbert and Beatrice Kimbal, Go into All the World: A Centennial Celebration of Friends in East Africa (2002); Ane Marie Bak Rasmussen, A History of the Quaker Movement in Africa (1995); and Tom and Liz Gates, Stories from Kenya (1995)

Videos from Vision Video

Videos treating the Quaker story include The Quakers: That of God in Everyone; Saints and Strangers; People of Faith; and PAX Service.

Websites and publications is an umbrella website with links to practically everything Quaker-related: from Yearly Meetings of all the branches of Quakerism, to bibliographies, to meetinghouse locations, to Quaker businesses, to genealogy, to misuses of the name “Quaker.” Some related blogs are at Planet Quaker.

The three major modern strands of Friends are at Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, and Evangelical Friends Church International. Quakers in the World collects information about Quakers trying to put Quaker testimonies into practice worldwide, and it has many resources for educators. Quakers in Britain is the umbrella British Friends site with both historical and current resources. QuakerPages collects primary source documents dealing with Friends, including a large collection of sermons.

Friends founded many educational institutions, and many maintain robust historical information on their websites. Check out the Quaker resources at Swarthmore College, Earlham College (including the Newlin Quaker Center, and George Fox University. You might also enjoy perusing the website of Renovaré, a devotional organization welcoming all streams of Christian spirituality but founded by Quaker author and pastor Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline (3rd ed. 1998).

Quaker magazines and journals include Friends Journal, The Friend, and the influential Pendle Hill pamphlets series. Pendle Hill is also a retreat and resource center in Pennsylvania. Quaker Heritage Press produces historic reprints of Quaker texts. CH

This article is from Christian History magazine #117 The Surprising Quakers. Read it in context here!

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #117 in 2016]

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