Quakers and Slavery


The Religious Society of Friends was the first corporate body in Britain and North America to fully condemn slavery as both ethically and religiously wrong in all circumstances. It is in Quaker records that we have some of the earliest manifestations of anti-slavery sentiment, dating from the 1600s. After the 1750s, some Quakers actively engaged in attempting to sway public opinion in Britain and America against the slave trade and slavery in general. At the same time, some Quakers became actively involved in the economic, educational and political well being of the formerly enslaved.

 Quakers and Slavery was a consortial project of Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Funding was provided by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, through a program stipulated by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). This program is administered in Pennsylvania through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries for assisting libraries in providing all users access to information, developing partnerships, and increasing information access for persons who have difficulty gaining it.

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Letter to George Dillwyn, 1781-12
Letter to George Dillwyn, 1767-08-30
Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District Minutes, 1844-04-05 [extracts]
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes, 1789-09-28 to 1789-10-03 [extracts]
Letter to Doctor Reynell Coates, 1839-11-22
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes,  1681-1746 [extracts]
The Petition of sundry Inhabitants of the county of Salem
Letter to George Dillwyn, 1767-04-15
Anti-Slavery circular of William Harned et al
'At a full meeting of some of the warmest advocates of the Anti-Slavery cause in Boston'
Lucretia Mott letter to Martha Mott Lord
Lucretia Mott letter to Martha Coffin Wright
To our fellow members of the Religious Society of Friends
Letter to Samuel Fothergill, 1757-10-17
Letter to George Dillwyn, 1769-11
Letter to George Dillwyn, 1774-02-15
The constitution of the Pennsylvania society, for promoting the abolition of slavery, and the relief of free Negroes, unlawfully held in bondage : Begun in the year 1774, and enlarged on the twenty-third of April, 1787. To which are added, the acts of the
Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, 1853-1862
Letter of Appreciation 1899-04-23
Letter to George Washington Taylor, 1856-11-08