Quaker Meeting

Granger

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#29348 of 50019

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Quaker Meeting Photograph

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Northfield, MN - United States

This widely produced image of what is supposed to be a Quaker meeting is from a travel book by Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg. Unfortunately, it seems that neither the artist nor the author had ever seen the inside of a Quaker meetinghouse as the images can best be described as fanciful and contains multiple errors. Yes, men and women sat separately, but were seated side by side so that men seated on the floor of the meetinghouse were across from the men seated on the raised "facing benches." The men are shown wearing short pants, stocking and what appear to be buckled shoes. This style of dress went out a couple of generations before the date of this illustration. There was also never a time when Quaker "plain dress" was so uniform for either men or women. Even within the most "plain" dress there would be variations in cut and color of the cloth, and a meeting for worship would include individuals who stuck very closely to the plain style, and others who dressed more like their non-Quaker contemporaries. The woman speaking should have taken off her bonnet. In short the image is very inaccurate. Christopher Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.