War in the Social Order: the Great War and the Liberalization of American Quakerism

Howell John Harris

(NOTE: This essay was first published in David Adams and Cornelius van Minnen, eds., Religious and Secular Reform Movements in American History [Edinburgh, 1999], pp. 179-204.  It is reprinted here by permission.)


When, or if, historians think of the American branches of the Religious Society of Friends, of Quakers, we probably think of them as quintessential representatives of the social activist tradition within American Protestantism. Our views may be affected by experience of the liberal, welcoming meetings which are a feature of so many college towns.  But they are also, perhaps, influenced by the thought that one can draw a direct, unbroken line from the pioneering antislavery advocates of the late eighteenth century, through the supporters of a wide variety of reform causes in the nineteenth (particularly equal rights for women and other oppressed groups–including ‘Indians’, prisoners, and the mentally afflicted), to some of the founding members of SANE (the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy) in the 1950s, and even as far as the Freedom Riders of the early 1960s. Here, it seems, is an (Anglo)-American religious tradition with much to attract modern secular liberal historians–one which has remained faithful to the core values of pacifism, egalitarianism, and respect for individual human dignity and moral autonomy, which are rooted in its radical dissenting origins. 1

But wait a moment. The denomination which gave the United States Woodrow Wilson’s Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, architect of the Great Red Scare, and two Republican presidents, Herbert Hoover and more surprisingly Richard Nixon, cannot have had an unproblematic relationship with American liberalism during this century. Clearly there were tendencies within American Quakerism which will not fit easily within the picture of theological radicalism and social reformism presented above. For there were many Friends who came of age in the late nineteenth century, after the dramas of the Civil War era had ended, and who dropped their moral reformist politics along with the other peculiarities of language and dress which had once marked them out. Palmer was a product of this comfortable conformist milieu. And there was a whole different world of Quakerism beyond the Appalachians, where rural migrants became absorbed into the dominant local Protestant patterns of belief, worship, and church organization. Hoover’s and Nixon’s roots were in this evangelicized soil, not that of the Atlantic seaboard cities and their hinterlands, where Friends remained closer, spiritually and geographically, to their beginnings. 2

* * *

My purpose in this paper is to address the above apparent paradox, by exploring and explaining when, how, and why parts of American Quakerism re-established its historic identification with political dissent and reform and colored the enduring public image of the whole denomination. This question is not one that came to me very naturally. I am not a religious historian. The research project which drew me to the study of American Friends was a history of anti-unionism in the American metal trades–in particular, a case-study of the battles waged on behalf of employers’ sovereign authority by two generations of industrialists in America’s third-largest manufacturing city, Philadelphia, from the 1890s through the New Deal. 3

In the course of this work, I encountered some interesting, anomalous men — Republican entrepreneurs whom one could find organizing relief programs for the families of striking and destitute coal miners in the lean years of the 1920s and through Mr. Hoover’s depression, serving as labor arbitrators and acting as advisors in the creation of the federal Social Security system during the turbulent years of the 1930s, and making private pilgrimages to Germany in a desperate attempt to influence the Hitler régime to allow Jews to emigrate. In the 1920s, they had been leading figures in one of the most successful (but non-violent) anti-union organizations in American industry, the Metal Manufacturers Association of Philadelphia (MMA), which was my principal interest. But they were also among the founders, key activists, and chief financial supporters of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) during and after the Great War. 4

It was this experience, and this organization, which did more than anything else to reconnect American Quakerism with its own radical past, and to forge new links with the overlapping worlds of Social Gospel Protestantism and secular liberal reform. Explaining why some of the leading Philadelphia businessmen I encountered had such unusual and ambivalent political commitments and wide-ranging social concerns required that I examine the beliefs they had in common, which distinguished them from their capitalist friends and neighbors. They were at the heart of the AFSC; it was the key player in the lasting redefinition of what it meant to be a Friend. Religious renewal and reformist convictions came together in the crucible of war, in a ‘church’ without ministers or creeds, where ‘lay’ activism had to be the dominant force.

This paper will begin by sketching in a description of American Quakerism at the turn of the century. It will then concentrate on the interplay between religious commitment, pacifist ideals, social criticism, and social action, among the prosperous and formerly quite conservative Friends who forged the AFSC, situating them in a transatlantic religious milieu, and explaining the catalytic role of the war experience in their longer-run intellectual evolution. Finally and more briefly, it will explore the lasting consequences of the redefinition of Quakers’ critical role in American society whose origins it will have explored.          

1. The Background

Late nineteenth century American Quakerism was a denomination in crisis. Of its c. 100,000 adherents, about two-thirds were to be found west of the Appalachians, while a quarter still lived in the Atlantic seaboard cities and their hinterlands, from Baltimore to southern Maine. Quakers were divided into two main groups as an enduring result of a doctrinal schism in 1827. Hicksites–the schismatics–made up about 17 percent of the total, and were the largest group in the mid-Atlantic states. The Orthodox were themselves further subdivided among Conservatives, Wilburites, Gurneyites, and the far more numerous evangelicals who had sprung from the latter camp but had diverged so far that they “risked becoming, as one British Friend put it, ‘a second-rate holiness sect’.” 5

Sectarianism flourished among American Quakers, but the denomination itself stagnated. Midwestern Friends’ numbers were comparatively buoyant as a result of the evangelical impulse; but the Hicksites and the eastern Orthodox were slowly fading away. These well-educated, bourgeois Friends, particularly the original core communities of American Quakerism, the Philadelphia region’s c. 4,000 Orthodox and 11,000 Hicksites, still represented the greatest concentrations of wealth, intellect, and organized influence within their small, scattered, fissile denomination. They financed and controlled most of its magazines, its prestigious schools and colleges, and its reformist agencies, notably the Friends’ Freedmen’s Association, the Indian Rights Association, and the Peace Society. But they did not strive to make converts, were not especially welcoming to the few outsiders who wished to join, and, crucially, disowned anybody who married outside their particular branch of Quakerism. They also suffered demographically as a paradoxical result of their commitment to women’s education and active benevolence. These offered satisfying careers and ways of life outside of marriage, a choice which was itself rendered difficult by the rules of endogamy; so about 40 percent of their female members remained single.  It did not take a rocket scientist to work out that theirs was a denomination with more past than future6.

2. The Challenge of Modernity

The crisis of eastern seaboard bourgeois Quakerism was more than demographic, it was also spiritual. In a denomination utterly dependent on lay activism and personal commitment, about half of its members were Quakers through family tradition rather than real conviction; these nominal ‘birthright Friends’ scarcely participated in its religious or benevolent activities. Its younger members were also exposed to the intellectual challenges to Christian belief which afflicted Protestants on both sides of the Atlantic–critical Bible scholarship and modern scientific, in particular Darwinian, interpretations of the natural world and humankind’s place within it. The midwestern evangelical majority was less threatened, and took easy refuge in fundamentalism when it took notice of the problem at all. But well-educated younger Quakers, in the seaboard cities and in Britain, to which they remained closely attached, felt the need for, in the words of the key English modernist manifesto, “a reasonable faith,” some way of reconciling their traditional beliefs with contemporary thought, and of making their religion once again meaningful in their lives. 7

Most of the forces for regeneration showed themselves in Britain first–partly because of the greater intellectual openness of younger British Friends, firmly embedded within provincial Nonconformity, closely tied to Wilhelmine Germany, and not af-flicted by their American counterparts’ chilling memories of earlier but enduring schisms resulting from doctrinal disagreements.

British Friends wholeheartedly embraced theological modernism; actively recruited a small new working-class member-ship through the Adult School Movement, which engaged the energies of a generation of Friends, and, together with their other benevolent activities, introduced them to the realities of life across the class divide; adopted a Christian Socialist or at least a Social Gospel perspective; and became increasingly involved in the overlapping worlds of Fabian Socialism and the ‘New Liberalism’ in late Victorian and Edwardian England. A renewed commitment to social service and activism gave Friends a sense of religious purpose, as participants in the common liberal Protestant design to perfect the Brotherhood of Man and to begin building the Kingdom of God on earth by the unselfish efforts of men and women of reason and good will. At the same time as it took them out of their sectarian isolation, they were also able to interpret this work as re-establishing their connection with original and historic Quakerism. 8

British and Mid-Atlantic Friends were closely linked by bonds of family, visiting, reading the same denominational magazines, and even by business, so it was natural that the modernizers’ solutions to common problems of faith would swiftly be disseminated among the Americans. 9 The principal agent of change among, first, the Philadelphia Orthodox, and later American Quakerism more generally, was Rufus M. Jones (1863-1948). Jones served from 1893 as Instructor in, and later Professor of, Philosophy at Haverford College, where most of the male Orthodox proceeded on graduating from the Friends’ day or boarding schools in the Philadelphia region; he was also editor of The American Friend, the leading denominational monthly. He collaborated closely with the British modernizers in a common project aimed at renewing Quakers’ theology, spirituality, and sense of a distinctive religious identity and purpose. 10

Jones’s task was in some ways easier than his British friends’, at least as far as reaching the Philadelphia Orthodox was concerned: the latter were a small, concentrated community of overlapping family groups, relatively homogeneous in social background and outlook, and when their young men went to Haverford, they all had to take at least one course with him. 11 In other ways, it was much harder: American Quakerism’s divisions prevented the modernist impulse from spreading far beyond the Mid-Atlantic city-regions; even in Philadelphia itself, ethnic, religious, and class barriers made it much more difficult for bourgeois WASPs to reach out to, or even sympathize with, their working-class immigrant neighbors, than in more culturally homogeneous milieux like the Cadbury family’s Birmingham, or the Rowntrees’ York. 12

In addition, American Friends did not at this time experience as great a revitalizing challenge to their most distinctive core conviction. For them, pacifism remained fairly unproblematic, unexamined, a commitment without cost; in Britain, a great imperial power engaged in the brutalities of the Boer War, 1899-1902, then embroiled in the international rivalries and arms races leading up to the First World War, members of a denomination devoted to the removal of force from human affairs were compelled to begin some hard thinking. Their opposition to the Boer War revealed to Friends that, though in most respects they fit comfortably within the world of provincial Liberal Nonconformity, their unwillingness to go along with imperialism and militarism set them apart from their community. Becoming ‘outsiders’ was a price many were willing to pay for their religious convictions; and, having become outsiders on one great issue, some of them felt free, even compelled, to embark on wide-ranging social criticism. Faith in the inevitability of human progress was soon questioned: the material prosperity of Atlantic capitalism provided reasons and resources for international conflict as well as the potential for social advancement. Capitalism itself came to be viewed through a Hobsonian, even Leninist frame of reference: it rested on inequality and exploitation at home, and resulted in conflicts between individuals, classes, and nations. The connected challenges of the Boer War, the pre-war social unrest, and the uneasy Edwardian peace, therefore encouraged a thoroughgoing modernization of British Quakerism which extended well beyond its original areas–theology, spirituality, and the details of denominational practice–to include an extensive engagement radical or at least reformist politics. 13

No such changes occurred in the United States. The most that happened was a faint impulse toward Progressivism–stronger, it seems, among Quaker women making their way in the worlds of the settlement house and social work, and in some ways substituting the religion of reform for their ancestral faith, than it was for their male contemporaries. 14

3. Encounters With Progressivism

Philadelphia Friends before the Great War were generally politically conservative–if they involved themselves in public affairs at all, that is. Their most sustained commitment was to successive largely futile attempts to clean up the city’s notoriously corrupt Republican political machine. 15 Most proved resistant to Rufus Jones’s social gospel, at the same time as many accepted him as a modernizer of their religious beliefs. As late as 1912, he was still bemoaning American Quakerism’s failure of political imagination:

social service is an inherent part of our heritage from the past, but. . . we as a religious people are not awake to the call of this age for spiritual light and leading in the solution of the great social and economic problems that confront us. . . . For the most part Friends have not yet caught the vision nor have they prepared themselves for what is to be one of the most impressive undertakings of the Twentieth Century, the conquest of unnecessary disease, the banishment of unnecessary poverty, the transformation of environments which breed and foster disease and sin, the spiritualizing of both capital and labor and the recovery of faith in the actual coming of the Kingdom of God in the world. 16

But the social gospel message was actually striking chords with some in his audience. One of the most influential among them was Morris Evans Leeds (1869-1952), a leading member of the local Quaker and business élites. Leeds was a scientist, a successful entrepreneur, and a deeply-committed birthright Friend–educated in Friends’ schools and at Haverford, finding his wife, golfing and vacation companions, closest business associates, and partners in a wide range of charitable endeavors, from within the narrow confines of the Orthodox community. By the late 1900s, Leeds was backing Jones’s call, and in some ways developing it, because as a businessman and an employer of labor he was daily confronted by a whole series of moral and practical questions about how a convinced liberal Quaker ought to make his religion operative in his everyday life. 17

Leeds’s argument started out sounding like that of a technocratic progressive. The application to industrial production of inanimate sources of power and of scientific knowledge was creating a revolution in economic and social organization, and ushering in an age of abundance, of limitless possibilities for improvement. 18  But this materialistic analysis led smoothly to a moral conclusion: since poverty was no longer inevitable, “economic justice and the best interests of the race as a whole, demand that every individual who is willing at the proper age to do his fair share of the world’s work, should always be in a position to earn at least the necessities of life, in exchange for a reasonable amount of work performed under healthful conditions.” This condition of affairs was now possible, it was desirable, but it was not normal. Bad housing, poor education, child labor, low and irregular wages, excessive hours, industrial accidents, seasonal and cyclical unemployment, all of these blighted workers’ lives. Leeds did not blame the poor for their poverty, and had moved beyond the old certainty that it resulted from their “idleness and vice”; rather, the moral failings of the poor, as well as their material insecurity, were the result of “lack of opportunity.” Leeds had become a thoroughgoing environmentalist, not at all given to the individualistic-moralistic or hereditarian explanations of poverty and inequality so common among his entrepreneurial contemporaries. 19

Leeds’s conclusions about the nature of the good society were profoundly egalitarian–”the existence of pressing need for a more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth needs no argument.” They were deeply rooted in personal religious convictions, whose detailed content one can trace in the summary of the teachings of Jesus which he wrote for his own guidance during a return trip across the Atlantic in 1912-13:

Wealth is a very great hindrance to righteousness and should be disposed of and used for the public good. Efforts to accumulate it are at least dangerous and perhaps wrong. . . .The poor, the hungry and the mourners are promised compensation in the future and are pronounced blessed, and a reversal of condition is also foretold for the rich, happy and well fed. 20

Leeds, and the contemporaries who shared his beliefs, were driven, in part, by the guilt of people who had come to think of themselves as the too-comfortable members of an imperfect society, whose private privilege depended on the very structures of inequality they saw as the greatest obstacles to its perfection. Doing something became a moral obligation. The question was, what? And how? Liberal Quakers’ theology might be radical, but their politics were at best reformist, and they were strongly inclined toward moderate, gradual, rational change.

Leeds himself was neither a socialist nor a believer in the simple redistribution of surplus wealth. He was, first and foremost, an employer; and saw the solution in the making available, somehow, of more good jobs within the existing capitalist system. But how? What could individuals do toward this end? As consumers they could of course shun “establishments which do not treat their employees fairly and thus bring pressure to raise the standard.” But Leeds offered a rather dismissive judgment on this key strategy of the National Consumers’ League, considering that Quaker women were among its leaders and loyal followers. Their method, inspired by Abolitionists’ boycotts of slave-made goods, was good for the soul and useful as a publicity technique, but no more than superficially effective. Concerned Quakers had to become more than discriminating shoppers.  They had to be active citizens, abandoning their conservatism and quietism to reach outside of their meeting communities and enter fully into the progressive coalitions then forming:

Reforms of the fundamental character which we are considering can best be advanced by organized effort. . . .[I]t is by aiding such organizations, where their methods are right and deserve support, that we have the best opportunity to advance the cause of social and economic justice. 21

They should favor bodies promoting protective legislation for women and children, which could be considered to be an unproblematic extension of established Quaker concerns for oppressed or disadvantaged minority groups; they should even support labor unions, despite reservations about their conflictual tendencies.

Finally, Quaker employers like himself had a special opportunity and responsibility to initiate improvement within the spheres they could influence directly–the companies they owned and ran. They “may do considerable to further the cause of economic injustice (sic) in spite of the limitations placed on them” by competitive pressures. Welfare capitalism therefore became a personal obligation, given that businessmen–particularly in America, with its weak state regulation and feeble unions–had more control over working conditions than anyone else. 22

Quaker masters were traditionally required to take responsibility for the material and moral welfare of their servants: just as Leeds’s progressivism blended the technocratic and the moralistic, so too his search for an ethically-defensible relation between employers and employees would build on this domestic model and adapt it to the demands of a bureaucratic and democratic age. And, just as modernist Quakerism was a transatlantic project in which, essentially, the British took the initiative, and (some) Americans followed, here too Leeds and his fellows would have their cousins’ experience to build on.

English Quaker confectionery manufacturers–the Rowntrees of York and Cadburys of Bournville–turned the 1900s into a Chocolate Age in the development of British personnel management by their early and comprehensive innovations in employment relations and employee welfare. These and other non-Quaker American and European pioneers (notably Ernst Abbé of the Carl Zeiss optical works at Jena, which Leeds had visited as a graduate student) were Leeds’s mentors. He advised other Quakers to “help the cause of economic justice. . .by keeping in touch with the[se] very interesting commercial experiments. . ., so as to help in the dissemination of knowledge about them. . . .Such experiments…are in the nature of preventitive (sic) medicine for the ills of the social body and where they succeed their methods should become known and be copied as widely as possible.” 23

And copy them he did, when in 1915 he introduced what were, in American terms, pioneering welfare measures and personnel management programs once his firm grew too large for him to manage employee relations personally. Leeds combined an ‘efficiency’ and a ‘social justice’ agenda within his reforms, and also began to cede his personal ownership and control by sharing them with his associates and employees. His aim was to find a way to motivate, reward, and include his co-workers as co-owners of a growing company which was evolving away from being a small, simple proprietary enterprise. Management and controlling ownership would broaden out and remain united in the same persons; absentee capital would be deprived of any right to anything more than a fair return. In particular, unsympathetic outside investors would be deprived of any power to subvert the ‘cooperative commonwealth’ Leeds was intent on creating within a dynamic company driven by scientific research and ethical imperatives. 24

In all his work and thought Leeds was the very model of the active citizen, the enlightened businessman, the middle-class Chris-tian as Progressive. He was cautious and moderate, aware of the complexity of the problems he was confronting and of the con-straints under which he and his liberal associates operated. “[J]ustice is by no means a simple matter and. . .the desire to do right is not in itself enough, but. . .we must make a serious effort to find out what is right.” His aim was to encourage “orderly evolution rather than revolution.” No total solution of the social problem was imminent, but “a reactionary position and failure to support” agencies working toward it could “but encourage the more radical and revolutionary proposals of socialists and other doctrinaire schools.” 25

Driven by serious internalized convictions, by his commitment to moderate social change, and by his belief in the possibilities of progress, directed by men and women of education, reason, and goodwill, toward the achievement of some portion of the Kingdom of God on earth, Leeds developed his ideas further in the prewar years. He was responsive to the zeitgeist and became a minor prophet, a ‘minister of reform,’ ready to stand at Armageddon and battle for the Lord, convinced that, as a movement, Friends should shift their attention from individual sin to social redemption. They should join the forces of social reform wholeheartedly, an army which has perhaps been poorly organized and disciplined, but which has nevertheless been engaged in successful warfare and which needs more than anything else a carefully worked out plan of campaign and the loyalty and devotion of a large body of men and women who do not only have consciences sensitive to all kinds of injustice, but that enduring conviction which comes from thorough and wide experience. . . .[Friends must] fit ourselves to play our part in helping society so to mold its conscious will that it will proceed with orderly activity to progressive steps of social betterment. 26

But, before Friends had time to come round to a group commitment to this new definition of their social activist responsibility, some-thing happened to wrench the ground of reason, gradualism, and measured optimism, out from under their feet. That something was total war involving the two countries, Britain and Germany, of greatest cultural importance to educated Friends. War as brute reality, not metaphor, created massive problems for the Quaker community. Ironically, what finally galvanized them to accept, belatedly but with enduring effect, the message Rufus Jones had preached, and Leeds and others had clearly endorsed, was not the years of Progressive persuasion, but rather the shock of war. For most of those Protestants–particularly ministers and theologians–who emerged from the war experience as convinced pacifists, their route to this destination led from an initial Social Gospel concern. For Quakers, uniquely, their particular road went mostly in the other direction. 27

4. War and Reconstruction

Philip Benjamin stressed that “If the pacifist testimony was the most singular of Friends’ religious tenets, it was the least tested in the late nineteenth century.” They had protested the oppression of Native Americans, the war against Spain, and proposals for universal military training in Pennsylvania high schools. But in prewar America, with its tiny, volunteer armed forces, and free security, they had not had to lay their consciences on the line. Their pacifism, in Charles Chatfield’s judgment, “was often nominal and passive, and with few exceptions, they merged into the broad peace movement of the progressive era.” 28

As Martin Ceadel describes their Edwardian British “pacificist” contemporaries, they were “in favour of peace and arbitration and opposed to militarism and settling disputes by war.” This undemanding creed was rooted in a thoroughly optimistic analysis of the international relations of modern liberal capitalism. As societies became more complex, nations more economically interdependent, populaces more rational (and, if you were an evangelical Protestant, more godly), and leaders more far-sighted, then the possibilities of war receded, and the attainability of peace through diplomacy increased.

This genial world-view was shattered by the events of 1914-1918. Friends were unable to remain for long apart from and above this battle. Eventually, they were compelled to declare themselves for or against the powerful currents of national sentiment sweeping America toward active involvement in the war on the Allies’ side. 29

The Philadelphia Orthodox were the most solid in maintain-ing their traditional ‘witness to peace’ right through this ordeal. The effect was to separate them further than usual from their fellow-citizens and even from their upper middle-class milieu. They found themselves projected beyond the bounds of the national consensus, keeping strange and unrespectable company, thinking new and challenging thoughts. In the opinion of their Military Intelligence watchdogs, it was “curious that the Quakers, who of all people, have scrupulously tried to preserve themselves from contamination with (sic) the world, should find themselves comfortable in the company of enemies, traitorous citizens, political profiteers of the Socialist type, and with some whose associates grade into the criminal classes.”

But, pejorative epithets aside, it was more or less true. The organizations they founded or supported–including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Collegiate Anti-Militarism League, the Liber-ty Defense Union and National Civil Liberties Bureau (forerunners of the American Civil Liberties Union), and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–were all suspect in the eyes of the government. Their names got into Military Intelligence files because of the causes they backed and the periodicals to which they attempted to subscribe, some of which were declared unmailable. Their neighbors reported on subversive teaching in Friends’ schools. Pillars of the community and leaders in mugwumpish civic reform like publisher John Winston and banker J. Henry Scattergood found their companies raided, bank accounts raked over, and meetings in the privacy of their own homes betrayed to the authorities. 30

The Philadelphia Orthodox’s response to the war mirrored that of their British Friends, who had already been forced to confront the implications of their pacifism more seriously than their Ameri-can counterparts even before the war, and then had to deal with growing pressures on young men to enlist in the armed forces, and eventually with the compulsory draft. Part of their answer was to provide a form of alternative service, an idea promoted by the coun-try banker William C. Braithwaite who “[r]ealiz[ed] the difficulties of many young men whose principles forbade them to fight and who yet wanted to help their country, and could not bear to remain in safety whilst others were hazarding their lives.”

Out of this perception came the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, for which American Friends raised at least $5,000 a month, and for which Rufus Jones selected volunteers; the Friends’ War Victims Relief Committee; and the Friends’ Service Committee to provide “help and counsel to those who were suffering for their faith as conscientious objectors.” 31

All too soon, Philadelphia Friends had to deal with the same forces–a belligerent public opinion, an all-devouring wartime state. They also had to cope with the way in which the conflicting demands of conscience exacerbated traditional divisions within their community. The Hicksites, being less separate in doctrine and lifestyle than the Orthodox from the Philadelphia Protestant main-stream, did not officially renounce pacifism, but they often did not cling to it either. Swarthmore was the only Quaker college to establish an Army Training Corps; Hicksites denounced Orthodox pacifists and their own to Military Intelligence; the Hicksite Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer displayed scant regard for opponents of war’s civil liberties. Most divisively, a large group of prominent Hicksites attacked the Orthodox position in a widely-reprinted public statement which was an odd combination of philosophical argument and scathing rhetoric. They ended up by calling on Jesus, “a religious teacher in normal times” (emphasis in original), in their support, throwing in His more warlike sayings, and lining up squarely behind the “Cause of Civilization” and “the President of the United States,” which were, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable. Not surprisingly, this onslaught on the continuing relevance of traditional Quaker beliefs was welcomed by Woodrow Wilson himself; it was encouraged (and perhaps got up in the first place) by Military Intelligence, who were delighted to have a way of undermining the moral effect of the (largely Orthodox) Quaker witness to peace in a country demanding total submission to the dictates of war. 32

Their manifesto illustrated the breadth of the divide separating many of the Hicksites from most of the Orthodox on this issue. But it does not seem to have had much effect. It was, in essence, a response to the success of absolutist Quaker pacifism in winning broad support within its own community, and even a grudging tolerance outside of it. The way the leaders of Orthodoxy managed this was by taking another leaf out of their British cousins’ book. They offered unconditional support and encouragement to those of their young men who would not enlist or fight; and they provided alternative service opportunities to make this course more acceptable to the draft resisters themselves, to the public, and to the government. As Charles Chatfield suggests, this kind of activity mitigated pacifists’ isolation from the shared idealism of the democratic war effort and limited the risk that such enthusiasm would prove contagious and undermine their commitment. 33

Rufus Jones became chair of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), set up at the end of April 1917 to give effect to this plan. As he later explained, “Friends could not accept exemption from military service and at the same time do nothing to express their positive faith and devotion in the great human crisis.” The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting had laid out the theological argument for this service commitment in their public statement a month earlier, that opposition to war did not entail a weak neutrality toward evil. For us, as for [Christ], it means a life of action devoted to the heroic purpose of overcoming evil with good. The unspeakable sufferings of humanity are now calling us and all men to larger sacrifices and more earnest endeavors to put this faith into practice. To such endeavors we dedicate ourselves. 34

The AFSC offered, in its historian Lester Jones’s words, “a unified leadership to which that somewhat dazed and inarticulate mass [the Quaker community] gladly turned for direction.” Divided about the question of absolute pacifism though they were, they were nevertheless able to unite in support of the AFSC’s program of unproblematic good works. The Orthodox, the Hicksites, and to a much lesser extent the more numerous evangelical Friends of the mid- and far west, poured in more than a quarter of a million dollars in 1917, twice that much in 1918. The main original objective was to aid the British Friends’ work, but when America entered the war and started its own draft the direct provision of alternative service became even more vital. Rufus Jones and Haverford president Isaac Sharpless wrote repeatedly to Woodrow Wilson seeking guarantees that the work the AFSC proposed (reconstruction of devastated areas in Eastern France) would be acceptable to the authorities. The War Department’s eventual readiness to cooperate, which resulted in only a very few absolutely uncompromising Quaker draft-resisters going to prison, was probably helped by the fact that the official in charge of these matters was an old Haverfordian. 35

In order to finance this massive effort, and to organize it, the ‘spiritual’ leaders of the AFSC–including Sharpless, Jones, Jones’s brother-in-law, neighbor, and fellow-Haverford theologian Henry J. Cadbury, and Cadbury’s father-in-law Thomas Brown, the former headmaster of the leading Orthodox boarding school–naturally turned to the high-minded Orthodox businessmen who were their friends and relatives, former students, golf and canoeing partners, and usual companions in philanthropy.

As a result, the latter became deeply involved with the AFSC’s work. Morris Evans Leeds joined J. Henry Scattergood, his company’s financial backer, on an exploratory visit to France and England in June 1917. They returned with a firm plan of action, whose implementation in the field was overseen by paper box-making machinery manufacturer Charles Evans, while Leeds handled the Philadelphia end of the AFSC’s operations. Nor did the altruistic capitalists’ commitment decline with the end of the war: plumbing fittings manufacturer Bob Yarnall left his own business in 1919-1920 to help J. Henry’s brother Alfred with the Kinderspeisung, the AFSC’s great child-feeding effort in a starving Germany. He was joined in that enterprise by his old crew companion from Penn, and successor as leader of the Philadelphia engineering community in the ‘teens, Arthur C. Jackson of Miller Lock, who had already served as the AFSC’s purchasing agent. In 1924, when the Friends’ Germany-Austria program was coming to an end, box-manufacturer Henry Tatnall Brown, married to a Scattergood, went to organize its wrapping-up. 36

Leeds, Evans, Yarnall, and others absented themselves from businesses which were booming because of the war economy, thereby imposing a burden on their partners and associates who were left managing the shop. This was a real sacrifice by proprietors of firms with at most a handful of policy-making executives. Companies like these could not avoid benefitting from the war, even though they were not directly involved in munitions making. Giving freely of their time to the AFSC, and doubtless of their money too, was one way for their owners to deal with their resulting sense of guilt. 37

But it was not enough. The AFSC represented, as Philip Benjamin wrote, “the culmination of the trend toward activism already at work in Philadelphia meetings” before the war, and “generated an excitement in the Quaker community which had not been felt since the programs for Indians and the freemen” after the Civil War. However, the aroused consciences of the Philadelphia Orthodox were not satisfied with merely palliative action to help the victims of war. Instead, they turned a sharp critical attention on what was wrong in their society that it should have produced such a calamity in the first place. 38

Here, too, they were inspired by the British example. In 1911, London Yearly Meeting had adopted a new ‘query’ to guide its members’ conduct: “Do you seek to understand the causes of social evils and do you take your right share in the endeavour to remove them?” In Britain, theological modernism and social activism were closely linked before the end of the nineteenth century. Growing dissatisfaction with a merely do-gooding engagement with ‘social problems,’ and close contact with a burgeoning working-class membership, encouraged Friends’ gradual radicalization. This cause was fostered by the Socialist Quaker Society (whose socialism was mostly of the moral, not Marxist, variety). Its analysis of capitalism was rhetorically blunt. Capitalist societies were soiled and riven by inequality, oppression, and injustice; they rested on force; their internal failings produced international conflict; they violated Friends’ conceptions of the inherent worth and equality of all humans. Capitalism was a form of “economic slavery” against which Quakers should struggle as they had against chattel slavery. 39

The Socialist Quakers were only a ginger group before the war, but the conflict seemed to confirm their analysis. Witnessing to peace in time of total war alienated many English Friends from middle-class respectability and its old certainties, and from the Liberal Party itself. Collaboration in draft-resistance brought them into unprecedentedly close contact with members of the Labour Party and the labor movement, revolutionizing both their political behavior and their attitude toward industrial relations. They became convinced that their commitments to peace, equality, and community must permeate all aspects of their life. So in 1915 London Yearly Meeting established a new committee on War and the Social Order to think through its response to the crisis. 40

Two years later, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting followed suit. A group including Leeds, Yarnall, his friend and partner Bernard Waring, Alfred Scattergood, Henry Brown, and other executives, petitioned the meeting stressing the growing “realization . . . that we should more completely live up to the ideals suggested in our Queries” and that Quakers “should seek more fully to recognize what is implied by our stand against all war.”

The war in Europe has laid bare the fact that Twentieth Century Civilization falls far below the standard of Christ in industrial and national as well as in international life. We have discovered the seeds of war in our social order. If Love can and should be trusted to the uttermost and made the ruling principle of action in international affairs it follows it can be and should be made supreme in social and industrial life. It seems, therefore, that part of the great task before us is to discover what practical steps the Society of Friends should take in applying Christ’s teaching of love and brotherhood in business, in the home, in politics and in all other relations of life. 

They were “baffled and perplexed,” but also surprisingly hopeful:

We believe that a great opportunity lies before us at this time. The world is in deep need of light and leadership. . . . If with the sin and agony of the world pressing on our hearts, with the vision of so many men and women in Europe laying down their lives for the right as they see it, we also are willing to give our time, our possessions, our lives to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, who can say what great work God may accomplish. . . . 41

Yearly Meeting responded by setting up a “Committee on Social and Industrial Problems” (soon shortened to Social Order Committee), whose active membership and that of the AFSC overlapped, and which was full of the usual suspects from the Military Intelligence ‘enemies lists.’ Bernard Waring was its chair, Morris Leeds its secretary. They were charged “to weightily consider the part which the religious Society of Friends should take in the present-day application of efforts to promote the Kingdom of God on earth, particularly as it relates to social, political and industrial conditions.” Their agenda was quite explicit: the critical analysis of the competitive and wage systems, that is, of basic capitalist institutions which were at variance with Friends’ beliefs42. But what did this mean in practice?

Two members, moved by the millenarian spirit common on the secular as well as the religious left, argued that fundamental social change was possible because of the war and that it was “surely more necessary to avert war between classes than between nations.” Others were not so radical: agricultural machinery manufacturer Samuel Leeds Allen suggested that they should explore possibilities for change within the existing social order. It was “impossible to eliminate all troubles, but let us commence by hoping they may be alleviated.” The patriarchal Allen recommended a mix of state and private action–legislation for minimum wages and maximum hours; provision of public work when the market economy could not sustain full employment; and welfare work conducted in a Christian spirit by employers. Haverford’s president Sharpless responded to the group’s evident uncertainty by advising Leeds to pursue open-ended investigation of “the various efforts that have been made in the past to correct [capitalism’s] evils, or replace it entirely with a better order of society,” aided by “lectures on the subject by people who know more about the subject than you do, if that supposition is possible.” 43

The Committee accepted Sharpless’s suggestion. It divided its work among several different interest groups which discussed matters most directly concerning them. The groups, in turn, organized programs of lectures by a roll-call of social reformers, enlightened businessmen, trade union leaders, educators, and others from the progressive center and non-revolutionary left, which became a regular feature of the social and intellectual life of Philadelphia Quakerism thereafter. But it would be wrong to dismiss the Social Order Committee as having resulted in little more than the creation of a series of talking-shops. This was a voluntary and quite effective program of political re-education, which produced (for example) a renewed, active, and thereafter unbroken commitment to the cause of racial equality, and a somewhat less full-blooded commitment to ‘industrial democracy’ which was of immediate practical significance. For one of the Social Order Committee’s largest, most active groups of supporters, whose wealth and generosity under-pinned the rest of its work, was its Business Problems (originally Managing Employers) Group, set up in October 1917. 44

The creation of the Business Problems Group was a natural response to the class backgrounds of the Philadelphia Orthodox, and to the social criticism in which some of them were so deeply engaged. In 1920 87 percent of those in paid work, and whose occupations were known, were professionals (39 percent), in salaried employment (24 percent), proprietors and senior executives of businesses (15 percent), or professors and teachers (9 percent). Of those not in paid work, about half were non-wage earning homemakers, and most of the remainder were rentiers. The community was overwhelmingly composed of members of the comfortable middle class, doing rather well out of the very social order of which some of them were so critical. The uneasiness this caused many of them rarely resulted in political radicalization, but there was a more moderate response possible, which their leaders pointed out. As the Committee summed it up,

When [the Society of Friends] has perceived wrongs in institutions in which it has been involved it has tried first of all to clear itself of complicity in those wrongs. It has believed that permanent good to society can best be brought about by the influence of conviction and example which spreads from the individual to the group and from the group to the community. This was Jesus’ teaching and method of work. 45

The Son of God’s method of social change–with which who could disagree?– was “an appeal to the conscience and the arousing of a sense of duty in the favored class, not a call to rebellion or to an assertion of their rights on the part of the poor.” And, Henry J. Cadbury pointed out, “As the membership of the Friends lies almost wholly in the favored class it is all the more important that we observe this technique of Jesus.” The employing capitalists among them bore a specially heavy responsibility to “stir our own consciences and appeal to our own sense of duty.” Out of this stern self-examination and inner-direction concrete results could follow, because they owned and controlled the firms they ran. Leeds, Samuel Allen, Bob Yarnall and Bernard Waring, the Scattergood brothers, Charles Evans, Arthur Jackson, and other AFSC activists were the Business Problems Group’s leaders or among its founder members46.

What did they do? Over the next several years, and indeed throughout the 1920s, as the prospects for large-scale social reconstruction receded, some of them (notably Leeds) turned their companies into nationally-renowned examples of welfare capitalism combined with a growing measure of employer-inspired industrial democracy. They lobbied within the business organizations they joined, like the MMA and its national counterparts, to win them round, too, to some less troublesome progressive causes, notably the crusade against insecurity and unemployment. In general, they helped keep alive the flickering flame of liberal optimism through a bleak time. Morris Leeds and his fellows enjoyed great prestige in the New Era, and even erstwhile labor-liberals and future New Dealers attached their realistically-limited hopes for social progress to them and their projects. In John Fitch’s words, progressive employers “constitute[d] merely an oasis in a great desert. But it is an oasis that is very cheering and full of promise. I have faith to believe that it will grow.” 47


In fact, it did not: the Depression destroyed welfare capitalism and business progressivism, whether their inspiration had been religious or secular, and ushered in a new and uncomfortable era of class politics and government intervention. Leeds and his friends’ day was past, but they played their part in easing the tensions of change, acting as conciliators in labor disputes who enjoyed both sides’ trust, helping to smooth the transition from welfare capitalism to welfare state. As war clouds gathered over Europe, they also attempted to capitalize on the goodwill they hoped the Kinderspeisung had won them by trying to intercede with the Nazis and buy the privilege of emigration for more Jews. Within the United States, they worked to ease the immigration and assimilation of these refugees, and joined themselves to a variety of liberal groups for whom the challenge of totalitarianism had increased their sensitivity to civil liberties and race relations issues, where the AFSC and associated ‘Quakerly’ organizations like the Fellowship of Reconciliation had taken a leading role since the War.

In all these ways, they helped complete the process, begun in the 1890s, whereby American Quakerism transformed itself from a marginal, declining collection of mutually-hostile sects, into a religious movement with broad social purposes, a continuing this-worldly meaning for its members, and prestige and influence far outweighing its small (but no longer shrinking) size. Curiously, given the divisive immediate effects of the Great War, one of the lasting benefits of the shared pride in, and identification with, the AFSC’s continuing work, was the healing of the Hicksite/Orthodox schism. As a result, the combined influence of the seaboard Quaker communities was enhanced, and they, not the more numerous but less distinctive conservative evangelicals of the mid- and far West came to stand and speak for the whole diverse Religious Society of Friends in the minds of outsiders. It was their kind of Quakerism which exerted powerful attractions on a stream of new adherents. These ‘Quakers by convincement’ were gathered from co-workers in the variety of civil liberties, social justice, and pacifist causes to which seaboard, metropolitan, and college town Quakers have continued to devote their efforts ever since the Great War brought them out of their sectarian shells, and thereby, perhaps, saved them from ordinariness and oblivion.

This paper has gone some of the way towards explaining this outcome. Clearly, the Great War was the catalyst for change rather than its underlying cause. The basic forces for change were generated by the transatlantic modernizers’ response to the spiritual crisis of the Gilded Age, and their identification of social activism as a way of making their religion once again meaningful. Much of the argument and programmatic content of the Quaker social gospel was scarcely distinguishable, and largely derived, from their liberal Protestant and secular Progressive contemporaries. And yet Quakers’ distinctive religious convictions did make a difference: in particular, the commitments to equality, community, and peace made them peculiarly sensitive to issues of domestic social injustice and exposed them to public hostility during times of international conflict. 1917-1919 was the first such major war in the American Century; ironically, one might argue that the resulting lasting revitalizing of (parts of) American Quakerism, with its incalculable benefits for the subsequent course of American liberalism, has been a significant positive byproduct of the fact that injustice and conflict have never since been absent, for those with eyes to see.


1. Hugh Barbour and J. William Frost, The Quakers (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1988), esp. Chs. 17-20; Carol and John Stoneburner, eds., The Influence of Quaker Women on American History: Biographical Studies (Lewiston, ME: Edwin Mellen, 1986); James M. McPherson, The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP (Princeton:Princeton U.P., 1975); Milton S. Katz, Ban the Bomb: a History of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, 1957-1985 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986); Douglas McAdam, Freedom Summer (New York: Oxford U.P., 1988), p. 174.

2.  Stanley Coben, A. Mitchell Palmer: Politician (New York: Columbia U.P., 1963); George H. Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover: the Engineer 1877-1914 (New York: Norton, 1983); Roger Morris, Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician (New York: Holt, 1990).

3. Howell J. Harris, Bloodless Victories:The Rise and Fall of the Open Shop in the Philadelphia Metal Trades, 1890-1940 (New York: Cambridge U.P., 2000).

4. The most prominent of these were Morris Evans Leeds, Bernard G. Waring and D. Robert Yarnall, for whom see William P. Vogel, Precision, People and Progress: A Business Philosophy at Work (Philadelphia, PA: Leeds and Northrup Co., 1949) and C. Elliott Barb, The Yarway Story: An Adventure in Serving (Philadelphia, PA: Yarnall-Waring Corporation, 1958). For the AFSC, see Rufus M. Jones, A Service of Love in Wartime: American Friends’ Relief Work in Europe, 1917-1919 (New York: Macmillan, 1920), Lester M. Jones, Quakers in Action: Recent Humanitarian and Reform Activities of American Quakers (New York: Macmillan, 1929), Mary Hoxie Jones, Swords Into Ploughshares: An Account of the American Friends Service Committee 1917-1937 (New York: Macmillan, 1937), and Clarence E. Pickett, For More Than Bread: An Autobiographical Account of Twenty Two Years’ Work With the American Friends Service Committee. (Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1953).   

5. Figures calculated from Barbour and Frost, The Quakers, pp. 234-5. For the history of Quaker divisions, see esp. Robert W. Doherty, The Hicksite Separation: A Sociological Analysis of Religious Schism in Early 19th Century America (New Brunswick: Rutgers U.P., 1967), H. Larry Ingle, Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Separation (Knoxville: U. of Tennessee Pr., 1986), and Thomas D. Hamm, The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907 (Bloomington: Indiana U.P., 1988). For the quote, see Hamm, “The Legacy of Allen Jay,” Quaker Life 27:1 (Jan-Feb. 1986): 13-15 at p. 15.

6. Philip S. Benjamin, The Philadelphia Quakers in the Industrial Age (Philadelphia: Temple U.P., 1976), p.159. There were about as many Quakers in the Philadelphia region alone as in all of Great Britain.

7. For contemporary developments in Britain, see esp. Elizabeth Isichei, Victorian Quakers (Oxford, England: Oxford U.P., 1970); quote from Francis Frith et al., A Reasonable Faith: Short Religious Essays for the Times (London: Macmillan, 1884).

8. The most recent and accessible discussion of the modernization of British Quakerism is Hope Hay Hewison, Hedge of Wild Almonds: South Africa, the ‘Pro-Boers’ and the Quaker Conscience (London: James Currey, 1989), esp. pp. 22-3, 43-8. See also J. Wilhelm Rowntree and Henry Bryan Binns, History of the Adult School Movement (London: Headley Bros., 1903) and Peter d’A. Jones, The Christian Socialist Revival 1877-1914: Religion, Class, and Social Conscience in Late-Victorian England (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 1968), pp. 367-89. For the best recent account of this postmillennial vision, see Paul T. Phillips, A Kingdom on Earth: Anglo-American Social Christianity, 1880-1940 (University Park: Penn State U.P., 1996).

9. See e.g. Edwin B. Bronner, “The Other Branch”: London Yearly Meeting and the Hicksites 1827-1912 (London: Friends Historical Society, 1975).

10. For Jones, see his memoir The Trail of Life in the Middle Years (New York: Macmillan, 1934) and Elizabeth G. Vining, Friend of Life: the Biography of Rufus M. Jones (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1958).

11. For the sectarian and clannish nature of Philadelphia Quakerism, see esp. Margaret Hope Bacon, Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1987), p. 3; E. Digby Baltzell, Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958), esp. Chs. 10, 11; Logan Pearsall Smith, Unforgotten Years (London: Constable, 1938); Francis J. Stokes, Jr., Stokes Cope Emlen Evans Genealogy: Genealogical Charts of Four Closely Associated Germantown Families (Philadelphia: author, 1982), pp. 3 4.

12. Iolo A. Williams, The Firm of Cadbury 1831-1931 (London: Constable, 1931) and Charles Dellheim, “The Creation of a Company Culture: Cadburys, 1861-1931,” American Historical Review 92 (1987): 13-44; Anne Vernon, A Quaker Business Man: The Life of Joseph Rowntree, 1836-1924 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1958); Elfrida Vipont, Arnold Rowntree: A Life (London: Bannisdale Press, 1955); Asa Briggs, Social Thought and Social Action: A Study of the Work of Seebohm Rowntree 1871-1954 (London: Longmans, 1961); Gillian Wagner, The Chocolate Conscience (London: Chatto & Windus, 1987)–for the two remarkable families at the heart of Quaker “progressivism” in Britain.

13. Hewison, Hedge of Wild Almonds, esp. Ch. 8, and Jones, Christian Socialist Revival, pp. 367-89.

14. For leading women progressives who were brought up as Quakers, and in some cases returned to the religion of their ancestors after the religions of reform and even socialism had disappointed, see Stoneburner and Stoneburner, eds., The Influence of Quaker Women on American History.

15. Philip S. Benjamin, “Gentleman Reformers in the Quaker City, 1870-1912,” Political Science Quarterly 85 (1970): 61-79.

16. Quoted in Vining, Friend of Life, p. 144; cf. Joshua Rowntree, Social Service: Its Place in the Society of Friends–the Swarthmore Lecture 1913 (London: Headley, 1913).

17. Vogel, Precision, People, and Progress and “Morris Evans Leeds 1869-1952,” The Cooperator IX:11 (March 1952): 3, 15. For the key Orthodox educational institutions he and his closest associates attended, see Watson W. Dewees, compiler, A Brief History of Westtown Boarding School (Philadelphia: Sherman & Co., 1888) and Helen G. Hole, Westtown Through the Years (Westtown, PA: Westtown Alumni Association, 1942); Committee of the Haverford College Alumni Association, A History of Haverford College for the First Sixty Years of Its Existence (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1892) and Isaac Sharpless, The Story of a Small College (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1918). Leeds’s papers are Accession No. 1127 in the Quaker Collections, Haverford College (hereafter QCHC)–see esp. his letters to his wife; his 1951 “Personnel Security Questionnaire,” which lists his affiliations and associates; offprint, John Van Schaick, Jr., “Cruising Cross the Country, V: The Four Way Lodge,” Universalist Leader (31 January 1925): 6-7 [an Orthodox Quaker retreat Leeds helped found in the New Jersey Pine Barrens]; and “Down the Fairway” and In the Rough with the Ozone Club from 1901 to 1927 (Philadelphia: privately printed, 1927)–his Orthodox Quaker golf club.

18. This was the heretically optimistic message of Simon Patten, professor at the Quaker-endowed Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, and an intellectual leader for the city’s reformers–see Daniel M. Fox, The Discovery of Abundance: Simon N. Patten & the Transformation of Social Theory (Ithaca: Cornell U.P., 1967).

19. “The Attitude of Friends Toward Industrial Conditions,” typescript c. 1909, Leeds Papers, Box 9.

20. ibid.; Holograph ms., pp. 3-6, in file “New Testament Study,” Leeds Papers, Box 9, F. 4.

21. Leeds, “Attitude of Friends.”

22. Ibid.

23. ibid.; for the influence of Abbé and Rowntree, see letter to Hadassah Leeds, 26 June 1923, in Leeds Papers, Box 5, and typescript ms., “Ernst Abbe and the Karl Zeiss Stiftung,” n.d. (1912 latest date within document), p. 4, Box 9, F. 3.

24. Daniel Nelson, “‘A Newly Appreciated Art’: The Development of Personnel Work at Leeds and Northrup, 1915-1923,” Business History Review 44 (1970): 520-35 and “The Company Union Movement, 1900-1937: A Reexamination,” BHR 56 (1982): 335-57, are generally reliable, but neglect Leeds’s religious motivation, as does C. Canby Balderston, Executive Guidance of Industrial Relations: An Analysis of the Experience of 25 Companies (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1935), pp.141-54; Vogel, Precision, People, and Progress, esp Ch. 3. Leeds’s friends Yarnall and Waring also inaugurated a profit-sharing plan in 1915–Barb, Yarway Story, p. 52.

25. Leeds, “Attitude of Friends.”

26. Leeds, “The Social Order: Why Should Friends Study It” (to Germantown Group Preceding Social Order Committee), n.d. but pre-1917, unpaginated 20 pp. typescript, Leeds Papers, Box 9.

27. John K. Nelson, The Peace Prophets: American Pacifist Thought, 1919-1941 (Chapel Hill: Univ. of N. Carolina Pr., 1967), pp. 22-3.

28. Benjamin, Philadelphia Quakers, p. 192; Margaret E. Hirst, The Quakers in Peace and War: An Account of Their Peace Principles and Practice (London: The Swarthmore Press, 1923), p. 450; Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, p. 8; cf. Jones, A Service of Love in War Time, p. 3, and C. Roland Marchand, The American Peace Movement and Social Reform, 1898-1918 (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 1972), pp. xiv, 18.

29. Martin Ceadel, Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945: The Defining of a Faith (Oxford: Clarendon Pr., 1980), pp. 3 [quote], 29; Jones, Quakers in Action, pp. 16, 163 esp.; cf. A. Neave Brayshaw, The Quakers: Their Story and Message (Harrogate: Robert Davis, for the 1905 Committee of Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting, 1921), p. 132; James Dudley, The Life of Edward Grubb 1854-1939: A Spiritual Pilgrimage (London: James Clarke & Co., 1946), p. 103.

30. Maj. John W. Geary to Col. M. Churchill, “Quaker Pacifist Activities in Philadelphia: Report,” 16 Aug. 1918, File 99-35, Box 137, and attachments–”The Peace Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends,” “Fellowship of Reconciliation,” “Collegiate Anti-Militarism League,” “Liberty Defense Union,” all 1 Aug. 1918, and “National Civil Liberties Bureau,” 12 Aug. 1918, with consolidated mailing lists for pacifist organizations and magazines; Maj. W.C. Smiley to General Churchill, “Subject: Radical Activities,” 24 Apr. 1919, and Capt. J.S. Cottrell to Brig.-Gen. Churchill, same title, 16 May 1919, Files 10110-92-53 and 60, Box 2792 (Quaker schools). Scattergood’s acquaintances denounced him as “entirely too radical” and “almost insane,” though intelligence operatives admitted that as long as he confined himself to his normal philanthropies “he does good work, but when he crosses over to pacifism or socialism or Christian Love, he begins to utter very dangerous sentiments.” His problem was that “while well balanced in other ways,” he was “a fanatic on the idea that Christian Love can end the war,” and that his family had “always been rabid Pacifists and wealthy enough to indulge in their propensities in this line.” See File 10175-292, Box 2891–quotes from Office of M.I. Service to Col. Churchill, “Subject: John C. Winston Co.,” 12 Aug. 1918, Capt. John W. Geary to Lieut. Col. Churchill, 14 June 1918, File 9771-24, Box 2184, and Maj. John W. Geary to Brig. Gen. Churchill, 4 Nov. 1918, File 10175-292. All references to MID Corr., RG165, U.S. National Archives.

31. Isichei, Victorian Quakers, pp. 151-2; Edward Grubb, Does War Promote Industry? An Answer to ‘Can We Disarm?’ (London: Headley, 1899); John W. Graham, War from a Quaker Point of View (London: Headley, 1915); Anna L.B. Thomas and Elizabeth B. Emmott, William Charles Braithwaite: Memoir and Papers (London: Longmans, Green, 1931), p. 75; Jones, A Service of Love in Wartime, pp. 4-5

32. Benjamin, Philadelphia Quakers, pp. 203-6; Elbert Russell, The History of Quakerism (New York: Macmillan, 1942), pp. 510-15; Copy of Horace Lippincott to “Esteemed Friend,” 7th. Feb. 1918 and “Some Particular Advices for Friends and A Statement of Loyalty for Others: Being the Views of Some Members of the Society of Friends Regarding Its Attitude toward the Present Crisis. Third Month, 1918,” File 99-35, Box 137, MID Corr., RG165, NARS; Wilson to Lippincott, 24 Apr. 1918, in Arthur S. Link et al., eds., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1966-), vol. 47, pp. 415-6; Maj. John W. Geary to Col. M. Churchill, “Subject: Quaker Pacifist Activities in Philadelphia,” 19 Aug. 1918, Lieut. J.R. Winterbotham to Geary 30 Aug. 1918, Geary to Churchill 10 Sept. 1918, and Churchill to George Creel (chair, Committee on Public Information), 17 Sept. 1918–all in File 99-35, Box 137, MID Corr., RG165, NARS.

33. Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, p. 38.

34. Jones, A Service of Love, pp. 8-9 (quote), 49; A Statement by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends Third Month 29th, 1918, copy in File 99-35, Box 137, MID Corr., RG165, NARS; cf. Jones, Quakers In Action, Ch. 2.

35. Jones, Quakers In Action, pp. 21, 157; Russell, History of Quakerism, pp. 516-17; Woodrow Wilson to Newton D. Baker [Secretary of War], 16 August 1917; Baker to Wilson, 22 August 1917; Wilson to Jones, 28 August 1917, in Link et al., eds., Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 43 p. 492, vol. 44 pp. 29, 75; Jones, Quakers in Action, pp. 16-17.

36. Bacon, Let This Life Speak, Ch.3; Jones, Swords Into Ploughshares, pp. 16-17; Jones, A Service of Love, pp. 12-15, 72, 62, 119-20; Jones, Quakers in Action, pp. 47-8;Jackson remarks in verbatim transcript, Memorial Meeting for Worship, 7th day, 9th. Month 16, 1967, in D. Robert Yarnall Papers (copy in author’s possession, supplied by D. Robert Yarnall, Jr.); Brown entry in Dictionary of Quaker Biography (typescript, QCHC).

37. Leeds & Northrup shipments increased from $149,000 in 1914 to $1,015,000 in 1919–”Estimate of Production Capacity,” Executive Committee Minutes 25 July 1919, L & N Papers, Hagley Library; Yarway’s went from $91,000 to $428,000, 1914-1920. “Shipments 1908-1959,” Yarnall Papers.

38. Benjamin, Philadelphia Quakers, pp. 202-3.

39. Lucy Fryer Morland, The New Social Outlook: The Swarthmore Lecture, 1918 (London: Headley Bros., 1918), p. 14; Edward Grubb, Social Aspects of the Quaker Faith (London: Headley Bros., 1899); Rowntree, Social Service; Mary O’Brien Harris (Clerk, Socialist Quaker Society) in Committee on War and the Social Order, Facing the Facts: Being the Report of the Conference of ‘The Society of Friends and the Social Order’ Held by Direction of the Yearly Meeting at Devonshire House, Bishopsgate, London, 19-22 October 1916 (London: Headley Bros., 1916), p. 103.

40. Committee on War and the Social Order, Social Thought in the Society of Friends (London: n.p., n.d.–c. 1922), esp. pp. 1-3; cf. Catherine Anne Cline, Recruits to Labor: the British Labour Party 1914-1919 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse U. P., 1963); Committee on War and the Social Order, ‘Whence Come Wars?’ First Report (London: Headley Bros., 1916) and Facing the Facts.

41. “To the Yearly Meeting,” March 1917 (month names used in footnote references, not in originals), in Social Order Committee (hereafter SOC) Minutes, SOC Records F4.18, QCHC.

42. Vining, Friend of Life, p. 79.

43. Extract from the Minutes of Yearly Meeting, 26/30 Mar. 1917; Charles A. Ellwood and Agnes Tierney to SOC, 24 Apr. 1917; SOC Minutes, 8 May 1917; Sharpless to Leeds, 20 April 1917–all in SOC Records, F4.18, QCHC.

44. Benjamin, Philadelphia Quakers, pp. 208-12; Minutes of the SOC, 13/14 Oct. 1917, in SOC Records, F4.18; SOC Report to the Yearly Meeting, Third-Month 1920, p. 2, in SOC Records, F4.13; Minutes of the SOC, 15 June 1922, p. 1, in SOC Records, F4.18, QCHC.

45. Occupational Census in SOC Minutes 10 Jan. 1921; SOC, Second Annual Report, 1919, p. 5, in SOC Records, F4.18, QCHC.

46. SOC Annual Conference (November 1926), p. 5; SOC Minutes, 13/14 Oct. 1917, p. 6, 11 Mar. 1918, p. 1, 9 Apr. 1918, p. 2, all in SOC Records, F4.18, QCHC.

47. Vogel, Precision, People and Progress, p. 40; John Fitch, “‘An Oasis That is Full of Promise’,” American Association for Labor Legislation Review 17 (1927): 242-3 at p. 242.


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