Publishers of the Truth
Rufus Jones, in his early pamphlet
Rethinking Quaker Principles,
writes of the efforts of George Fox and the early Quakers to publish pamphlets and
broadsides to make their truth known to all:
By 1647 he knew that he had found what he sought, and from that time on he began
to gather kindred spirits around him, remarkable persons like Elizabeth Hooton,
James Nayler, Richard Farnsworth and William Dewsbury. They were his first disciples.
Five years later, in 1652, he found in the neighborhood of Pendle Hill, “a great
people to be gathered”, and an immense convincement followed, which marks the birth
of Quakerism as a successful movement. Out of the convincement of the northern
“seekers” he secured Swarthmoor Hall as the center of his mission, and sixty highly
qualified “Publishers of Truth” to assist him in proclaiming the Quaker message.
John Yungblut, in looking forward to the
Quakerism of the Future, exhorts us to continue this tradition:
Indeed if one has been visited by a direct sense of inward presence, he is driven
to tell everyone who will listen to him. Strange and unendurable irony – that Friends
who speak so much about the Inward Light should so timidly hide their own light under
a bushel! The time has come to preach the faith we have resolved to practice. If we
have good news for our brothers, and I believe we do, let us shout it from the housetops!
Let us learn to be publishers of truth about our faith as well as our social concerns.
A large number of Quakers and others in the 20th Century have taken up the
charge to "publish the truth." Writers like Rufus Jones, Howard Brinton,
Douglas Steere, Gilbert Kilpack, Thomas Kelly and John Yungblut have developed their thoughts
in print, and served as a model to others who have contributed to Quaker
literature, philosophy, theology and religion.
Unfortunately many of these treasured works are completely out of print or otherwise
inaccessible to most of us. We and others have made an effort to remedy that problem
by republishing out-of-print pamphlets on the web. The following pages give you direct
access to four libraries of fundamental writings by modern Quakers:
William Penn Lectures
These lectures were supported by the Young Friends' Movement of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
which was organized on Fifth month thirteenth, 1916, at Race Street Meeting House in Philadelphia,
for the purpose of closer fellowship. Forty-four lectures were given between 1916 and 1966
when the lectures were laid down.
Pendle Hill Pamphlets
Published since 1934 this series includes great pamphlets which range from historical
analysis to theological statements to thoughtful advices to young and old alike. This
series continues to be published, but many of the older pamphlets are available only as copies and are now republished electronically by Pendle Hill.
Quaker Universalist Fellowship
Introspective pieces from renowned Friends, historical overviews and incisive book reports.
Read about universalism in other cultures, and the effort to include all
peoples. As QUF continues to put ever more content online, their Quaker Library
will grow to become a great collection of contemporary Quaker writings.
Other Quaker Pamphlets
Quakers have published extensively in the past, and continue to do so. In addition to the William Penn Lectures, the Pendle Hill Pamphlets, and the pamphlets of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, a number of lectures have been sponsored by various organizations in this country and elsewhere. This section collects these materials as they are found and made available to the world on the web.
Each entry in the Pamphlet Catalog provides links to different formats:
- Web Page
Except for the Pendle Hill Pamphlets, the primary pointer to the
document links you directly to the text of the pamphlet in
HyperText Markup Language (HTML). This is a continuous stream
of text without page breaks, and can be printed directly from
your browser. We found that Internet Explorer prints more cleanly
than does Navigator.
- Printer Friendly
The primary HTML pages have a good deal of white space around the
text which some readers felt consumed too much paper. This alternate
HTML version of the document is provided without formatting decorations
to allow a dense, paper-efficient, printing.
Adobe Acrobat: Portable Document Format. This version of the
pamphlets is designed as an electronic book to be read on-screen. The
most recent Adobe Acrobat Reader, free from Adobe, can help you maintain
your own electronic library of these pamphlets.
- Booked PDF
The eBook version, while usefully formatted for the computer screen,
is not the most efficient way to print a pamphlet: the small pages of
the pamphlet waste a great deal of space on a standard 8.5x11 page.
This "booked" version (also PDF) can be printed in landscape mode,
two pamphlet pages per sheet of paper (or 4 pages/sheet double-sided).
This can be easily assembled and bound with a long-necked stapler
into a much more usable product for discussion groups and workshops.
Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader: