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John Parrish diaries


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

John Parrish (1729-1807) was a Quaker abolitionist and a proponent of Native American rights. He was born in Baltimore in 1729, to John Parrish and Elizabeth Roberts. He married Elizabeth Durrant in Philadelphia in 1753. In his adult years, he lived with his wife and daughter in Philadelphia, although as a young man he resided in Maryland. It is also known that he suffered from a stroke in 1807, while in Philadelphia, and is thought to have died as a result.

Parrish is best remembered for authoring "Remarks on the Slavery of the Black People." Published in 1806, Parrish's pamphlet ran to nearly 70 pages and ranged over such issues as Biblical antislavery, constitutional rationales for emancipation, colonization, and African-American political protest. Parrish believed that Americans needed to redouble their antislavery efforts to avert either eternal damnation or massive slave rebellion- or both.

This collection is comprised of the original, handwritten diaries of John Parrish, a member and minister of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The diaries describe Parrish's travels to Quaker families, including those disowned by their Meeting, throughout Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Included with the diaries are a photocopy of a silhouette of John Parrish and an article about the diaries published in The Friend on March 30, 1957.

The John Parrish diaries were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1957 by The Archives and Historical Committee of Merion Friends Meeting, with the cooperation of Reverend Bartholomew Fair, Librarian of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed July, 2015.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Kara Flynn
Finding Aid Date
July, 2015
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Vol. 1, 1796.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

Entries in this volume describe visits to Friends at Chester Monthly Meeting and family visits Parrish conducted.

Vol. 2, 1798.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

Entries in this volume describe Parrish's attendance at the Yearly Meeting at Newport, R.I., his travels to New York and attendance of the meeting of the Committee on Indian Affairs. He also describes a visit to a woman named Mary Collins concerning her enslavement of a woman.

Vol. 3, 1799.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

Entries in this volume describe Parrish's travels throughout the Philadelphia area, including family visits in Haverford, Darby, and Radnor. The last pages of the diary include records of Parrish's removal and admittance to and from the various meetings he visited.

Vol. 4, 1799.
Volume 1
Vol. 5, 1801.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

This volume describes Meetings attended while in Darby, PA.

Vol. 6, 1803.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

This volume opens with a few pages concerning the "grevious sufferings of the Black people." Entries describe the Baltimore Yearly Meeting, including discussions about education and the building of new Meeting houses.

Vol. 7, 1805.
Volume 1
Scope and Content note

This volume describes Parrish's travels with Thomas Scattergood, Thomas Wistar, and John Shoemaker from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to give the U.S. government a report from the Meeting for Sufferings concerning the abolition of slavery.

Scope and Content note

This volume is a miscellaneous notebook, stored with Parrish's diaries.

Notebook, 1784-1790.

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