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Under Quaker Appointment: The Life of Jane P. Rushmore (review)
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46Bulletin of Friends Historical Association about in sentimental search for spectacular good works, but of a body of men and women, shrewdly and wisely led, seeking before God for penetrating answers to conditions whose existence is a tribute to the power of the Devil. The scale of the operations is relatively small: so was most of the service described in the New Testament. The account that Clarence Pickett gives does not amount to a success story. The world is a more cruel place today than it was when this story begins; the minds of men are more deeply divided; the sights of the politicians less lofty; the godly about as ineffective. But Clarence Pickett has led his fellow-workers ahead, undismayed and sometimes achieving the seemingly impossible. This book throws light on how he has done it. Three gifts stand out. The first is his capacity to stand up to a challenge and work through to an answer, a capacity rooted perhaps in his early experience of family life on a debt-laden Kansas farmstead where there was no turning aside from central issues. This involves having a policy, seeing in advance things that are going to happen, and taking the initiative. Twentieth-century Friends are not always very good at this. They tend to interpret waiting for guidance as an alternative to working out a policy. Clarence Pickett's attitude shone out from his answer when he was asked, on a visit to England toward the end of the second World War, for what special purpose he had come over. He said that British Friends had been living side by side with imperialist national policy for a good many generations; he wanted to study how it had been done since it looked as if American Friends were about to embark on a similar experience. Clarence Pickett's second gift is his capacity to keep a wide-ranging mind and eye; he knows everybody and something about most things—and well outside conventional Quaker circles. In consequence, he was quickly at the heart of matters. Thirdly, he has had the capacity to see detail against the backcloth of eternity. Again and again, he shows how a bit of work is related to far-reaching spiritual needs; at no point is the reader left asking: "So what?" Clarence Pickett is unfailing in his generosity to those with whom he has worked, from the Mennonites to Mrs. Roosevelt, from "The Joint" to British Friends, and to everybody else within and without that considerable range. Keynsham, Somerset, EnglandROGER WILSON Under Quaker Appointment: The Life of Jane P. Rushmore. By Emily Cooper Johnson. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1953. 211 pages. $3.00. Not since Margaret Fell Fox has any one woman Friend wielded greater influence in guiding the destinies of Friends than Jane P. Rushmore. In fact, there are many points of analogy between these two Quaker women leaders, except that Jane never took on the problem of direct management of an already powerful Quaker leader like George Fox. On the other hand, Book Reviews47 no one can read this volume without recognizing the comforting companionship of Emma Wallace, starting at a very early date and continuing as it does today in full bloom. We are grateful to Emily Cooper Johnson for devoting so much time and effort in portraying the life of Jane Rushmore and at the same time recording the progress of the Hicksite group of Friends. Never before have the detailed activities of liberal Friends been reviewed so completely. Recent Quaker historians have not been members of the Friends General Conference, and consequendy many of the accomplishments of this group have remained unpublished. This splendid biography is a fitting tribute and a grateful acknowledgement of the many varied services rendered to our Society by Jane Rushmore , and as the story unfolds, the reader is reminded of many other Friends who have played their individual parts in this same field. Many of these were honored some years ago in Quaker Torch Bearers (1943), published by the Friends General Conference. One naturally gives great thanks for the Providence that placed Jane Rushmore where she found such a fertile field, was able to...