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Japanese Yearly Meeting Letter


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Herbert V. Nicholson (1892-1983), a Quaker missionary, was born in Rochester, NY and later moved to the Philadelphia suburbs. He attended Haverford College in 1910, and began working as a secretary and missionary under Gilbert Bowles in Tokyo, Japan in 1915. In 1920, he married Madeline Waterhouse and had three children. During the Japanese invasion of China, Nicholson left Japan and moved to California in 1939, where he worked as a preacher at the Nisei Congregation (West Los Angeles Community Methodist Church). Nicholson was a vocal opponent of the Japanese internment during the war and would drive hours, helping Japanese families relocate. After the war, he would travel frequently to Japan, bringing thousnds of livestock to help small towns rebound, coining his nickname "Uncle Goat." Later, he published his book in 1982, "Comfort All Who Mourn" about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Japanese Yearly Meeting was formally established in 1917, however, Quaker work in Japan began with Philadelphia Friends in 1884. In 1940, the Yearly Meeting joined several other Protestant groups to form the National Christian Church, though a small group of Friends continued to meet separately, from which the new Japanese Yearly Meeting formed in 1947. The denomination runs several organizations and institutes, including Friends Old Folks Home, Friends Girls' School, Tokyo Friends Center, and Sunday School.

This collection contains a letter from Herbert V. Nicholson about the 1917 Japanese Yearly Meeting. Nicholson begins by addressing the map of the Ibaraki Province at the header of the letter and notices how in such a large region with over a million and a quarter people, there are seven missionaries (only three of which are Quaker). He goes on, listing Friends who have come to the Yearly Meeting, many of whom are there to represent their missionary or town or have had some interaction or influence on the Society of Friends. Friends listed include Nomura Tasuke, Suzuki San, Edith Sharpless, the Bindfords, Katoge San, Kato, Umpei Todzuka, Ouchi San, Osaki San, Uhara San, Toki Iwasawa, Rengo Kumatsu, and Hirakawa Sensei. Nicholson ends the letter by mentioning a few discussion topics surrounding the meeting (finances, conferences, prayer, discipline, etc.) and that the Meeting of Friends in Japan still has great room to grow and develop into a well-established organization.

This is a single letter.

Unknown acquisition.

Processed by Sakina Gulamhusein; completed November 2022.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Sakina Gulamhusein
Finding Aid Date
December, 2022
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Letter, 1917-05-12.

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