This dissertation asserts the existence of a dynamic relationship between an individual's religious affiliation and his public service activities. Specifically, it examines benevolent activities of members of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia during the early Republic. Friends were involved in and provided leadership for all of Philadelphia's key charitable organizations. These associations dealt with the poor, blacks, women, criminals, the sick, and the insane. The male and female Friends who organized these societies were propelled by their faith, history, and socioeconomic position into benevolent works. In their charities Friends employed the same paradigm for care as the one they used within the Quaker community--helping through relieving want and guiding behavior. The first chapter examines those features of Quakerism--its sectarianism, the primacy of the Inward Light, the spiritual equality of all men and women, and pacifism--which directly and indirectly shaped Friends' embracing of benevolence. Friends believed they were carrying out their duty as Christians to care for the sick, aged, infirm, and poor in participating in charitable organizations' operations. For Friends charity work glorified God and demonstrated the righteousness of the Society of Friends. The remaining chapters focus on the men and women who created charitable organizations and the organizations themselves. Using the organizations' account books, minute books, and other papers; the records of the relevant Friends religious meetings; and personal papers this dissertation reconstructs the structures, goals, and standard operating procedures of the organizations such as the Pennsylvania Hospital, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor, the Aimwell School Association, the Society for the Free Instruction of African Females, the Society for the Support and Establishment of Charity Schools. Using city tax records, city directories, and the records of the Society of Friends this dissertation assembles both individual and collective biographies. These biographies elucidate the types of Friends who chose benevolence. No discussion of Philadelphia during the early Republic can be considered complete without an examination of Friends and their many efforts on behalf of the city.
Thesis (Ph.D. in History) -- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1992. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-05, Section: A, page: 1642. Co-Supervisors: Carroll Smith-Rosenberg; J. William Frost.