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A QUEEN ANNE QUAKER MEETINGHOUSE: NEWTON MEETING, CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY By Edward Teitelman* The architecture of Friends meetinghouses on the East Coast is generally of one type. Although many of these are charming and architecturally interesting and effective works, they usually present subdued, utilitarian variations of early Georgian style, most often by a local architect or builder. Most new structures follow the old patterns, and in the few cases where architects of some stature have been involved, either from weight of tradition or a feeling that the proper form had been found, significant departures have been almost nonexistent. The small meetinghouse of Newton Monthly Meeting in downtown Camden, New Jersey, although well within the expected limits of muted expression and simplicity, presents a unique and pleasing variation of the pattern . Starting from an indigenous early eighteenth-century "clapboard Quaker" cabin, it was enlarged and remodeled in 1885 in the oft-riotous, but here subdued, Queen Anne style by Wilson Eyre, Jr., an important creative architect of the period. The meeting traces its origins back to 1679, the time of the founding of Camden by William Cooper, an English convinced Quaker. With Friends from across the Delaware River at Shackamaxon (Kensington, Philadelphia) a meeting was formed under the care of Burlington, New Jersey, Meeting. The first meetinghouses were near Newton Creek in what is now Gloucester; in 1801 a brick house was erected at Mt. Vernon and Mt. Ephraim Avenues, the first house of worship within the present limits of * Edward Teitelman, a member of Newton Meeting in Camden, New Jersey , is a physician by profession and an architectural photographer and historian by avocation. This paper was prepared in part under a grant from the Penrose Fund, American Philosophical Society. The author wishes to express his appreciation to the librarian and staff of the Camden County Historical Society, Camden , New Jersey, and the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College and to Mrs. Emily Cooper Johnson for their assistance and many kindnesses. He also wants to acknowledge the cooperation of the Avery Library, Columbia University the Library of the Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania ; and the Philadelphia Historical Commission in his general study of the work of Wilson Eyre, Jr. 104 A Queen Anne Quaker Meetinghouse105 106Quaker History Camden city. This was taken over by Orthodox Friends on First Month 14, 1828, following the schism, and the Hicksite faction was forced to meet elsewhere. After a period when worship was held in the Camden Academy, the current small wooden structure was erected for the group under the supervision of Joseph Kaighn and Edward Bullock, members of the meeting.1 A large lot of ground at Seventh and Cooper Streets, then still forest, was donated by Joseph W. Cooper, a non-member, much to the chagrin, apparently freely expressed, of some of his Orthodox cousins. The structure was a single-story affair, one bay wide on either side of a severe entrance porch. The Orthodox called it the "Hicksite cabin in the woods" and considered it a "nine days' wonder."2 As the years went by, however, the area became more urban and the meeting flourished. A school was established, and eventually another small one-room building was erected nearby on the property as a classroom. By the 1880's the facilities became markedly inadequate. The minute books tell the following interesting and curious tale: 10/2/84. A proposition was introduced in this meeting of altering or doing something to the Meeting House to make it more comfortable. It was concluded to call an adjourned Preparative Meeting to meet on the 6th of this month at half past seven in the evening to see what had better be done. 10/6/84. Howard M. Cooper, Benjamin Shreeve, James Warrington, Genetta C. Betts and John B. Betts: Committee appointed to consider what would be best to accomplish the end and at what cost. 10/14/84. The Committee reported that not much needed to be done. Committee to make the necessary repairs and report to next meeting. 11/27/84. The committee reported that owing to the strong objection by several members to putting expense on our present house from...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 104-110
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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