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BOOK REVIEWS Edited by Edwin B. Bronner Friends in the Delaware Valley: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 1681-1981. Edited by John M. Moore. Haverford: Friends Historical Association, 1981. 273 pages. $8.95, $4.95 paper. This book celebrates the tercentenary of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. It consists of essays by historians and knowledgeable Friends. Included are chronological sections that carry the account of Quaker experience in the Delaware from the establishment of the Yearly Meeting to the reunion of separated Yearly Meetings in 1955. There are also essays dealing with topics of special interest concerning the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's relationship with Indians, Japan, its women members, and the American Friends Service Committee. Editor John M. Moore provides an excellent introduction that ties disparate sections together, and itself introduces useful evidence and some suggestions for further research. Of the four chapters that deal with periods of Quaker history, those by Edwin Bronner and J. William Frost stand out. Both provide a synthesis of available recent secondary literature, a rather skimpy literature in both cases. Frost had the more difficult time of it, for he had to discuss an issue that still can cause discomfort—the separation of the Hicksites and the Orthodox—on the way to a general discussion of the period from the American Revolution to the Civil War. He writes clearly and concisely measuring the development of schism among Friends against external factors both religious and secular. Edwin Bronner also writes well and has the added advantage of having Philip Benjamin's work on Philadelphia Quakers for support. Bronner's major contribution is to detail how the Orthodox and Hicksites gradually began to patch up the old quarrel. Arthur Mekeel's chapter on the colonial period deals with an aspect of Quaker history that has been well surveyed. Although there are instances of synthesis at various points, he apparently decided to rely principally on his reading of Yearly Meeting minutes. His is a solid piece, although specialists will wish that he had more clearly utilized the work of Sydney James, Jack Marietta, Gary Nash, and others either in the footnotes or in the body of the text. Herbert Hadley had probably the most difficult task for he had very little on which he could rely in framing his chapter. While he might have considered theological and other developments more than he did, the paucity of basic monographic work probably led him to focus on the reunion of the Orthodox and Hicksite Yearly Meetings. In fairness for the overall scheme of the book, one should note that John Moore made some suggestions on contemporary theological background and other recent developments in his introduction. The topical chapters provide vignettes appropriate to contemporary interests . Margaret Bacon usefully repeats much of her earlier work in her discussion of how women attained equality in the Yearly Meeting. Although it would have been helpful to have had more references to the history of 54 Book Reviews55 women in general than she provides, she succeeds in detailing difficulties that women had in attaining equal status within the Yearly Meeting. Milton Ream recounts what Philadelphia Friends did for Indians. Clearly, a great deal more could be done with this topic in relating Quaker activities to those of others, but in fairness one should note that Ream had only a chapter , not a book, to examine his topic. Elizabeth Gray Vining provides a balanced narrative of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Japan. Mary Hoxie Jones' account of the Yearly Meeting and the American Friends Service Committee is a good introduction to the Committee's founding and recent problems some Friends have had with the Committee's alleged departure from Quaker principles. One unhappy gap in an otherwise informative chapter is the slight attention given the AFSC in the eras of the Second World and Korean wars. Overall the commemorative intent of this volume is well met. While the specialist might want more in many instances, the challenge is there for scholars to provide the basic and necessary monographic work for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Only one caveat remains to John Moore's introduction: if Friends have lost numbers in the past generation as he points out, they...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 54-55
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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