William Penn, et al., The Harmony of Divine and Heavenly Doctrines (1696)

In April 2019, we featured a collection of Quaker George Fox’s writings once in the possession of female members of the Steevens family. Today, we highlight another book of Quaker writings owned by a woman. The name “Hannah Dink” is inscribed in the narrow space between the first words of the title and the printed double border. [Update: Rose G. of the blog I Bequeath suggests that the inscriber is actually Hannah Pink, a name referenced in eighteenth-century Quaker burial records.] The title page indicates that the “Sundry DECLARATIONS on [sic] Variety of Subjects” by William Penn, George Whitehead, Samuel Waldenfield, and Benjamin Coole were “Taken in Short-hand . . . By a Lover of that People” in an attempt to blunt some of the “Prejudice” against Quakers.

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William Penn, as discussed in a previous post on this blog, is perhaps best known today as the founder of Pennsylvania province, while George Whitehead was a prominent Quaker leader who was buried alongside George Fox upon his death. Minister Samuel Waldenfield was one of several individuals to whom William Penn left “all my land, tenements and hereditaments, whatsoever rents, and other profits, situate, lying and being in Pensilvania, and the territories thereunto belonging, or elsewhere in America, upon trust, that they shall sell, and dispose of, so much thereof, as shall be sufficient to pay all my just debts, and from and after payment thereof, shall convey to each of the three children of my son .. and their respective heirs, 10,000 acres of land …”[1] Based in Bristol, Benjamin Coole was also a minister of the Quaker faith.

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While Hannah’s identity is unknown for the time being, she may be one of the countless women who took an active role in the burgeoning Quaker faith during the long eighteenth century.

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[1] Robert Proud, The History of Pennsylvania in North America. Volume II. Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, 1798, p. 115–116.

Source: Book offered for sale by Tavistock Books, 4/28/20. Images used with permission.

Further Reading

Naomi Pullin, Female Friends and the Making of Transatlantic Quakerism, 1650–1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Michele Lise Tarter and Catie Gill, New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650–1800. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

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