The Quakers of Iowa


"Here upon the soil of the first free State west of the Mississippi River the lines from the North and the South converged; the varied habits of life, traits of character, manners, customs, and beliefs were to be moulded and fashioned together; and out of the combination was to come that which to-day is characterized as 'Western Quakerism'." The author, a member of the Society of Friends, has compiled material from a wealth of manuscripts at Penn College in Oskaloosa, the Library of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and personal correspondence with various sects. This work was written at the request of the State Historical Society of Iowa to document the considerable influence of Iowa’s small Quaker population on Iowa history.

A brief historical account of the rise and spread of Quakerism provides a foundation for further exploration of the history and evolution of Iowa Quakers, including the organization’s structure and a look at some of the factions of the Friends in Iowa, including: Anti-Slavery Friends, Hicksite Friends, Wilbur Friends, Conservative Friends, and Norwegian Friends of Iowa; benevolent and educational enterprises including African Americans, American Indians, White’s Iowa Manual Labor Institute, Missionary activities, and educational issues. The author touches on Quakerism in England during the reign of the Stuarts, the persecution of the first Quaker immigrants to America, the "Holy Experiment" of William Penn, the exodus of Quakers from the South due to their abhorrence of the institute of slavery, the first Quaker settlers in Iowa, Isaac Pidgeon (1835), the expansion of Quaker settlements (1850-1860), the establishment of a yearly meeting, and humanitarian efforts into the early 1900s. This work is enhanced by a full-name, place and subject index; appendices; and is fully annotated with citations and sources.

Louis Thomas Jones

(1914, 1999), 2020, 5½x8½, paper, index, 360 pp.

ISBN: 9780788412837