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The Annual Monitor for 1882: How to Access and Use this Valuable Quaker Resource

The Annual Monitor for 1882: Or Obituary of the Members of the Society of Friends; In Great Britain


If you are interested in learning more about the history and lives of Quakers in Great Britain and Ireland, you might want to check out the Annual Monitor. The Annual Monitor is a series of publications that contain obituaries of members of the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) who died each year, between 1813 and 1920. The Annual Monitor includes well over 20,000 persons, some of whom were prominent figures in politics, social reform, education, science, art, literature, and religion. The obituaries provide not only basic data such as age, date of death, and names of relatives, but also biographical details and testimonies of faith and service. The Annual Monitor is a valuable source of information for anyone who wants to explore the history and culture of Quakers in Britain and Ireland.

The Annual Monitor for 1882: Or Obituary of the Members of the Society of Friends; In Great Britain

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What is the Annual Monitor?

The Annual Monitor was first published in 1813 by William Alexander (1768-1841), a Quaker printer and bookseller from York. The project was initiated by his wife, Ann Alexander (born Tuke, 1767-1849), who was a descendant of a prominent Quaker family. The first issue was titled "The Annual monitor ; or, Newletter-case and memorandum book" and contained a list of deceased Quakers for the year 1812, along with some blank pages for notes. The idea was to provide a useful and convenient reference book for Quakers to keep track of their deceased friends and relatives.

The Annual Monitor soon became popular among Quakers and expanded its scope and content over the years. It changed its title several times, but always kept the word "monitor" as a reminder of the need to watch over one's own spiritual condition. It also added more features such as memoirs, portraits, poems, extracts from letters and journals, and historical sketches. The Annual Monitor aimed to preserve the memory and example of faithful Quakers who had passed away, and to inspire and encourage the living ones to follow their footsteps.

Who were the editors and contributors?

The Annual Monitor had several editors over the years, who were usually Quakers themselves or had close connections with the Society of Friends. Some of them were well-known figures in their own right, such as Samuel Tuke (1784-1857), a mental health reformer; Benjamin Seebohm (1798-1871), a banker and historian; Joseph Stickney Sewell (1819-1900), a poet and educator; William Robinson (1832-1908), a journalist and author; and Francis Arnold Knight (1852-1915), a naturalist and ornithologist.

The contributors to the Annual Monitor were also mostly Quakers or their relatives, friends, or acquaintances. They wrote obituaries or memoirs based on their personal knowledge or research. Some of them were famous or influential in their fields, such as John Bright (1811-1889), a politician and reformer; Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), a philanthropist and prison reformer; William Forster (1784-1854), a minister and peace activist; Hannah Kilham (1774-1832), a missionary and linguist; and Joseph Sturge (1793-1859), an abolitionist and pacifist.

What kind of information can be found in the Annual Monitor?

The Annual Monitor contains a wealth of information about the lives and deaths of Quakers in Britain and Ireland. It covers a wide range of topics, such as family history, education, occupation, travel, ministry, service, suffering, persecution, imprisonment, illness, death, burial, and legacy. It also reflects the diversity and complexity of Quakerism, as it includes people from different branches, sects, and regions of the Society of Friends. It also shows the changes and challenges that Quakers faced over time, such as the impact of wars, revolutions, social movements, scientific discoveries, religious controversies, and cultural trends.

The Annual Monitor is not only a source of factual information, but also a source of spiritual insight and inspiration. It reveals the faith, values, principles, testimonies, experiences, and practices of Quakers. It showcases their achievements and contributions to various fields and causes. It also highlights their struggles and difficulties, as well as their joys and hopes. It portrays them as human beings with strengths and weaknesses, virtues and faults, successes and failures. It invites the readers to learn from their examples, to emulate their virtues, to avoid their mistakes, and to share their vision.

The Annual Monitor for 1882

How many obituaries are included in this volume?

The Annual Monitor for 1882 is the 40th volume of the New Series. It contains obituaries of 264 Quakers who died between the 1st of the Eleventh Month 1880 (November 1st 1880) and the 31st of the Tenth Month 1881 (October 31st 1881). The obituaries are arranged alphabetically by surname, with a separate section for ministers at the end. The volume also includes a preface by the editor, Francis Arnold Knight; a list of abbreviations used; an index of names; and an advertisement for previous volumes.

What are some of the notable names and stories in this volume?

The Annual Monitor for 1882 includes obituaries of some remarkable Quakers who made significant contributions to various fields and causes. Here are some examples:

John Bright: A Quaker statesman and reformer

John Bright was born on November 16th 1811 in Rochdale, Lancashire. He was a prominent politician and social reformer who advocated for free trade, parliamentary reform, peace, education, temperance, Irish home rule, and Indian self-government. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League, which campaigned for the repeal of the Corn Laws that imposed tariffs on imported grain. He was also one of the founders of the Cobden Club, which promoted free trade principles. He served as a Member of Parliament for various constituencies from 1843 to 1889. He held several cabinet positions under different governments, such as President of the Board of Trade, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and President of the Local Government Board. He was widely respected for his eloquence, integrity, courage, and independence. He died on March 27th 1889 at his home in Rochdale.

Elizabeth Fry: A Quaker philanthropist and prison reformer

Elizabeth Fry was born on May 21st 1780 in Norwich, Norfolk. She was a renowned philanthropist and prison reformer who devoted her life to improving the conditions and treatment of prisoners, especially women and children. She was inspired by her visit to Newgate Prison in London in 1813, where she witnessed the appalling situation of female prisoners and their children. She founded the Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners in Newgate in 1817, which provided clothing, bedding, education, religion and religion to the inmates. She also visited other prisons in Britain and abroad, and campaigned for better laws and regulations to protect the rights and dignity of prisoners. She was widely admired and respected for her humanitarian work, and influenced many other reformers and philanthropists. She died on October 12th 1845 at Ramsgate, Kent.

William Forster: A Quaker minister and peace activist

William Forster was born on March 23rd 1784 in Tottenham, Middlesex. He was a travelling minister and a peace activist who dedicated his life to spreading the gospel and promoting peace and justice. He visited many countries in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, where he preached, taught, distributed books, and met with people of different faiths and backgrounds. He also advocated for the abolition of slavery, the rights of indigenous peoples, the relief of suffering, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. He was appointed by the British government as a commissioner to negotiate with the United States during the War of 1812. He also served as a mediator between the British and the Boers in South Africa in 1836. He died on January 27th 1854 at Hartford, Connecticut, while on a mission to urge the American government to abolish slavery.

Hannah Kilham: A Quaker missionary and linguist

Hannah Kilham was born on August 12th 1774 in Sheffield, Yorkshire. She was a missionary and a linguist who devoted her life to spreading Christianity and education among Africans. She learned several African languages, such as Wolof, Mandinka, Susu, Fula, and Hausa, and wrote grammars, dictionaries, and religious texts in them. She also established schools and training centres for African teachers and translators in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. She was one of the first women to travel extensively in West Africa, where she faced many dangers and difficulties. She died on March 31st 1832 at Fernando Po (now Bioko), an island off the coast of Cameroon.

Joseph Sturge: A Quaker abolitionist and pacifist

Joseph Sturge was born on August 2nd 1793 in Elberton, Gloucestershire. He was an abolitionist and a pacifist who worked tirelessly for the end of slavery and war. He was a leader of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which campaigned for the emancipation of slaves throughout the world. He visited the West Indies, Canada, and the United States to investigate the conditions of slaves and freedmen. He also supported the rights of women, workers, prisoners, and oppressed peoples. He was a founder of the Peace Society, which opposed war and promoted arbitration as a means of resolving conflicts. He also helped to organize the first World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840. He died on May 14th 1859 at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

How can the Annual Monitor be accessed online?

The Annual Monitor is available online through various websites and platforms. Some of them are:

  • The FamilySearch Catalog: This website provides digital images of some issues of the Annual Monitor from 1843 to 1920. It also provides links to other possible copy locations.

  • The Wikipedia article on Annual Monitor: This article gives an overview of the history and content of the Annual Monitor. It also provides links to online versions of some issues from 1813 to 1918.

  • The Internet Archive: This website offers free access to digital copies of some issues of the Annual Monitor from 1813 to 1869.


The Annual Monitor is a fascinating collection of obituaries that reveals much about the history and lives of Quakers in Britain and Ireland. It covers more than a century of social change and cultural development. It showcases the achievements and contributions of Quakers to various fields and causes. It also portrays them as human beings with faith, values, principles, experiences, practices, joys, hopes, struggles, difficulties, successes and failures. It invites the readers to learn from their examples, to emulate their virtues, to avoid their mistakes, and to share their vision.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Annual Monitor and Quakers in Britain and Ireland:

  • When did Quakerism start in Britain and Ireland?

Quakerism started in Britain in the mid-17th century, when George Fox and other early Friends began to preach and gather followers. Quakerism reached Ireland in 1654, when William Edmundson and other English Quakers settled there and converted some of the local people.

  • How many Quakers are there in Britain and Ireland today?

According to the 2021 figures from the Friends World Committee for Consultation, there are about 16,000 Quakers in Britain and about 1,500 Quakers in Ireland.

  • What are some of the distinctive features of Quaker worship and practice?

Quakers worship in a simple and silent way, without any clergy, rituals, or creeds. They wait for the guidance of the Holy Spirit within them, and anyone who feels moved to speak can do so. Quakers also practice testimonies of peace, equality, integrity, simplicity, and community, which shape their ethical and social actions.

  • What are some of the contributions of Quakers to British and Irish society?

Quakers have been involved in many fields and causes, such as banking, industry, education, science, art, literature, prison reform, abolition of slavery, women's rights, peace activism, humanitarian aid, and environmental protection. Some of the well-known Quakers in British and Irish history include John Bright, Elizabeth Fry, William Forster, Hannah Kilham, Joseph Sturge, John Cadbury, Levi Coffin, James Dean (the engineer), Judi Dench (the actress), Elizabeth Gaskell (the novelist), Edward Hicks (the painter), Herbert Hoover (the US president), Rufus Jones (the scholar), Thomas R. Kelly (the mystic), Benjamin Lay (the abolitionist), Lucretia Mott (the suffragist), James Nayler (the preacher), William Penn (the founder of Pennsylvania), Robert Pleasants (the abolitionist), Bayard Rustin (the civil rights leader), Jessamyn West (the writer), John Greenleaf Whittier (the poet), John Woolman (the abolitionist), and many more.

  • Where can I learn more about Quakers in Britain and Ireland?

There are many resources available online and offline to learn more about Quakers in Britain and Ireland. Some of them are:

  • The websites of Britain Yearly Meeting and Ireland Yearly Meeting, which are the national organizations of Quakers in these regions.

  • The website of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, which offers courses and events on various aspects of Quakerism.

  • The website of The Friend, which is a weekly Quaker magazine that covers news, views, arts, and spirituality.

  • The website of Quaker Tapestry Museum, which displays a collection of embroidered panels that depict the history and beliefs of Quakers.

  • The website of Swarthmoor Hall, which is a historic house that was the home of Margaret Fell and a centre of early Quaker activity.

  • The website of Friends Historical Society, which promotes research and publications on Quaker history.

  • The website of Friends House Library, which holds a large collection of books and manuscripts related to Quakerism.



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