In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Book Reviews49 planation. Beyond the scope of the photograph, at the left, is a brick building , erected in 1857, with the two front entrances of the traditional American meetinghouse, now used as a museum. It is connected by a colonnade with the Springfield Memorial Meetinghouse (1927) near High Point, N. C. The beautiful portico with slender wood columns characteristic of American "Georgian" imparts its style to the much smaller chapel at the right, built in 1948 to accommodate small weddings, funerals, and various meetings. The only plans of American meetinghouses are those of Merion (1695) and of Radnor (1718) on page 77. Both are in the "Welsh Barony" of Pennsylvania and each was built in two parts; documentary evidence as to dates of construction is scanty and inconclusive. On the Merion plan our author designates the larger area as "First Building" and the smaller as "Extension." This seems to follow a vague statement in a paper presented at the Bi-Centennial Celebration (1895), but further analysis of the available evidence over the past twenty years seems to point to the smaller area (perhaps with attic schoolroom) as being the earlier. The larger area would then have been provided when the growing settlement required it, and the wooden partition between the two parts was useful to separate the two business meetings of men and women Friends. If there are errors of fact or interpretation, the frustration of the reader is more than counterbalanced by gratitude toward the distinguished architect who has compiled so much and published it so attractively. If he has stimulated others to explore further or deeper into the significance of the Quaker meetinghouses, especially as they became a part of the social history of oui world, he has increased our gratitude. Lansdowne, PennsylvaniaFrancis R. Bacon Quaker Chuckles, and Other True Stories About Friends. Collected and edited by Helen White Charles. Richmond, Indiana: privately printed. 1961. 123 pages. $3.00. The present compilation of "true Quaker anecdotes" and "old folklore of the Friends" contains some two hundred items, consisting not only of orally transmitted stories, but also excerpts from early Meeting records, newspaper articles, and book reviews, as well as fragments of verse. (Doggerel would be a better term for the latter, including even the offering from Whittier.) This heterogeneous material is usually, but not consistently, offered according to the states from which informants sent their contributions to the compiler. Unfortunately, it is here arranged alphabetically by the nicknames, rather than the true names, of the states. Unaccountably, the material for Nantucket, all excerpted from a single printed source, is classified as "Little Rhody," rather than as "Bay State." The book is obviously not intended for the student of history or of folklore. But the arrangement of the material may also be objected to from 50Quaker History the standpoint of the general reader. Interest is usually in the principals and in the locale of a story, rather than in the address of its transmitter. Who would think of looking under "Aloha State" for stories of Catharine Shipley, who lived most of her life in Cincinnati and Philadelphia, or expect to find an anecdote of Elijah Coffin under "Land of Enchantment" ? More serious objection can be made with respect to the material included and the style of its presentation. Some of the items are neither anecdotal nor humorous, nor would they qualify as folklore. Moreover, some thirty of the anecdotes have been previously printed in a well-known American anthology of Quaker anecdotes. It is fair to say that, almost without exception , they are told more felicitously, and usually with more Friendly turns of phrase, in the previously published book. A still more serious objection is that these stories are here offered as "true stories about Friends." Doubtless most of them are true, but certainly some of them are not.The author cites one story as apocryphal (the John Woolman item on page 33); the Friend involved in the "humble servant" anecdote on page 89 has denied its authenticity; an item on page 93 has been variously ascribed to Cromwell Barnard and to John Whitall, and is improbably true for both. But the worst lapse of all is the letter...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 49-50
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.