Quaker Studies March 2011


Vol 15/2 – 01/03/2011


Author: ‘Ben’ Pink Dandelion (Ed)

Desc: Welcome to this second half of volume 15 of Quaker Studies.

This issue begins with the 2010 George Richardson Lecture, presented by Thomas C. Kennedy from the University of Arkansas in July 2010. Best known to date in Quaker studies circles for his monumental study British Quakerism 1860–1920: The Transformation of a Religious Community (Oxford University Press, 2001), Tom spoke to those gathered at Woodbrooke for the QSRA conference on his more recently published work, A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas (University of Arkansas Press, 2009).

Southland College was founded by two Indiana Friends, Alida and Calvin Clark, who, in the aftermath of the American Civil War, were concerned for the education of orphaned and other black children for whom there were no educational opportunities. Donated land and a building, the Clarks, who had planned only a brief stay in the south, found there was no turning back—the Clarks and their successors ran what later became Southland College for sixty years. The story of Southland College is a moving part of Quaker history and Thomas Kennedy brought a great sense of compassion as well as scholarly rigour to his presentation. Ultimately, though personality problems and the continuing hostility of the area combined with financial difficulties brought an end to the Southland concern, Thomas Kennedy’s work ensures its history is now preserved.

The following day Tom spoke to the participants at the Quaker Research Summer School about his two major pieces of historical research. The Southland work actually began before the work on British Quakerism, but circumstance meant the latter topic became a book first. His patient and dedicated approach over three decades working on the two projects was very inspiring for those of us who feel the pressure to publish. Two other aspects of Tom’s work also became clear. One was the ‘accidents’ that often lead to such work. Tom describes the accident of even finding out about Southland, and then a second accident of discovering its archive in an attic at Quaker Hill in Indiana. With the work on British Quakerism, Tom was told by Roger Wilson that he (Roger) had set everything up and Tom was the person to do the work, and that it needed to be done whilst key characters were still alive. From accident, we move quickly to responsibility. Once the archive had been discovered and later deposited in Arkansas, and Roger Wilson had set up the interviews, Tom too found there was no turning back. Second, we can see in Tom’s work and his current research into the Conservative Party in what is now Northern Ireland, in spite of having retired, a true model of research as vocation. We were privileged to hear him speak and I am very pleased to reprint his Lecture here.

The second piece in this issue, by Amanda Lawrence, is a detailed comparison of the attitudes to mental health held by George Fox, a leader of early Quakerism who was attributed with many miraculous healings, and William Tuke, founder of ‘The Retreat’ mental hospital in York in the early nineteenth century. This work is essentially an MPhil thesis, and, as we did with work by Nikki Coffey Tousley in 2004, we are reprinting it here in its entirety because of its value to Quaker studies scholarship and because of its quality. Work of this length, often too long to be considered by other journals and yet not of book length, can all too often end up laying under-read on the shelves of academic libraries. With this in mind, we are pleased to be able to bring it to a much wider readership. Amanda argues compellingly that there was a considerable degree of continuity across the centuries between the two Quakers. The study also pays important attention to the ongoing research agenda to which these findings give rise.

Robynne Rogers Healey’s book From Quaker to Upper Canadian: Faith and Community among Yonge Street Friends, 1801–1850 (McGill-Queen’s Press) was published in 2006 to critical acclaim. This work detailed the dual motivations of this British North American Quaker community of protecting itself from the corruptions of the world and participation within it. In the article published here, Robynne uses the archive of the Mullet family and the correspondence between branches migrating to Upper Canada and from Britain to the USA to identify the differing Quaker identities of the three locales, British, American, and British North American. Robynne suggests that the idea of the transatlantic Quaker community was at least breaking down in the nineteenth century and that it is more accurate to talk of the Religious Societies of Friends.

Presented as a paper at the 2010 British Sociological association Sociology of Religion Conference in Edinburgh, Hilary Pinder’s research note outlines the tensions facing religious idealism within a global business context. Charting some of the founding insights of Ernest Bader and their constancy and change over five centuries within Scott Bader, Hilary identifies the key areas of tension in terms of the governance of a multinational Quaker business. Hilary explores how far faithbased ideals can survive in a secular and secularising context and raises questions for future research.

The issue ends with a short selection of book reviews. Thanks to Betty Hagglund for overseeing this section and for the new energy of Helen Smith in helping for the first time as Assistant Reviews Editor.

‘Ben’ Pink Dandelion

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