History

The nucleus of the Quaker archives in Canada began in the 1920’s when Arthur G Dorland collected records during research for his doctoral thesis which became the book A History of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Canada (1927) by Arthur Dorland. In 1927 he deposited these records at the University of Western Ontario where he was head of the History Department. During the next 56 years the UWO held Canadian Quaker records.

The Quakers in Canada, A History (1968) by Arthur Dorland is still available through the Archivist or the Quaker Book Service, 91A Fourth St. Ottawa, ON K1S 2L1 at a cost of $25.00 (CAN) plus shipping. Some lst editions are available.

The 1955 reunification of Friends in Canada resulted in the formation of the Canadian Yearly Meeting combining the records from Canada Yearly Meeting (Orthodox-Five Years Meeting), Canada Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Genesee Yearly Meeting some of which is in New York state (Hicksite -Friends General Conference). The Rendell Rhoades Collection of Quaker Disciplines was acquired in 1981.

Lacking ecclesiastical centres, Yearly Meetings in North America have often chosen a Quaker school as the location in which to establish an archives and library. Pickering College was founded by Friends in 1842 and is now an independent primary and secondary day/boarding school in Newmarket, Ontario. Rebuilding after a fire in 1981, Pickering College included in their plans an environmentally controlled room and vault for the archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting. The archives were moved to Pickering College in 1983 with Jane Zavitz-Bond, teacher and librarian at the College at the time, serving as volunteer archivist for almost 4 decades.

Researchers will find extensive documents in the more recent records of Canadian Yearly Meeting including those from the Canadian Friends Service Committee, the Quaker Committee on Native Concerns, Camp Neekaunis Committee, The Committee on Jails and Justice, The Home Missions and Advancement Committee, Religious Education Committee, the Discipline Committee, and the Foreign Missionary Board. These files may be found in the Vault Collection.

The personal papers of active Canadian Friends supplement these records. Non-textual records include maps and photographs of meetinghouses, homes and individuals. There are extensive holdings of published materials, particularly such as The Canadian Friend published since 1904 as well as pamphlets and tracts containing testimonies of Friends on subjects of simplicity, education, human rights and peace.