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This Project is to study and document Quaker women. Feel free to join, add to the list (below) - and bring your ancestresses profiles with you.

Quaker Views on Women

For many outside observers during the first hundred years of Quakerism, the most surprising aspect of Quakerism was the fact that "ministry" – the prerogative to speak during a Quaker meeting – was open to women from the very beginnings of the movement in the 1650s. In James Boswell's Life of Johnson, Samuel Johnson's opinion of a female Quaker preacher was recorded thus:

"Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

Charles Lamb wrote:

"Every Quakeress is a lily; and when they come up in bands to their Whitsun-conferences, whitening the easterly streets of the metropolis, from all parts of the United Kingdom, they show like troops of the Shining Ones ..."


  1. Rebecca Larson Daughters of Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies and Abroad, 1700-1775, New York, Alfred A Knopf, 1999.
  2. Jane Watson Brey and her work on Quakers of the Bucks Co., PA area


  • Elizabeth Gurney Fry (1780-1845) The "Angel of the Prisons" was Britain's best known Quaker long before 2002 when her picture on the five pound note made her common currency.
  • Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880) of Philadelphia was prominent in both the anti slavery and the women's rights movements.
  • "Comrade" Mary Hughes (1860-1941) was tireless, exasperatingly eccentric and greatly loved.
  • Priscilla Bell 1751- was an artist and writer, pioneered a lying-in charity, industrial school and frugality bank ... and may have been a patient in a madhouse.
  • Margaret Fell (1614-1702) was the "nursing mother" of Quakerism.
  • The house of Sarah Sawyer, in Rose and Rainbow Court (approximately the site of the Museum of London), formed one of the earliest Quaker meetings in London (before 1655).
  • Tacey (or Tace) Sowle Raylton (1665?-1745) eventually became virtually the official Quaker printer.
  • Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was a key spokesperson for the 19th century women's suffrage movement.
  • Mary Barrett Dyer d. 1660 was hanged for being a Quaker in Massachusetts.
  • Martha Coffin Wright 1806-1875 was an American feminist and abolitionist
  • Jane Addams 1860-1935 was one of the first people in America who sought to improve the lives of these desperate poor.
  • Elizabeth Hooton (ca. 1600 – January 8, 1672) is considered one of the Valiant Sixty, a group of daring Friends preachers.
  • Mary Fisher (ca. 1623 – 1698) was humiliated, beaten, and imprisoned on more than one occasion for promoting Quaker beliefs.

Women of the Valiant Sixty

from: Quaker Women

During the late 17th century a group of sixty ministers travelled extensively around Britain and the American colonies. Among them were a number of women who included:

  • Ann Audland, Wife of Shopkeeper from Preston Patrick;
  • Dorothy Benson, Wife of Yeoman from Sedbergh;
  • Anne Blaykling, Sister of Yeoman from Draw-well;
  • Mabel Camm, Wife of Yeoman from Preston Patrick;
  • Margaret Fell, Gentlewoman from Swathmoor Hall;
  • Mary Fisher, Servant from Selby;
  • Elizabeth Fletcher, Gentlewoman from Kendal;
  • Elizabeth Hooton, Wife of Yeoman from Skegsby;
  • Mary Howgill, Sister of Tailor from Grayrigg;
  • Elizabeth Leavens of "Lower ranke" .home town unknown;
  • Dorothy Waugh, Servant at Camsgill in Preston Patrick;
  • Jane Waugh, Servant at Camsgill in Preston Patrick.