Quaker Pamphlets


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:

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