Annie Oakley


To support her siblings and widowed Quaker mother, Annie began trapping before the age of seven, and shooting and hunting by age eight. With these skills, she was able to pay the mortgage on her mother's farm by age 15.

She won a sharpshooter contest that same year which began a career of traveling with shows such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. This made Annie revered and famous. Performing for celebrities, royalty, and everyday people alike, she became the highest-paid performer next to Buffalo Bill himself.

“For me, sitting still is harder than any kind of work.”
~Annie Oakley

Margaret Fell

margaret fell-bible.jpg

Margaret Fell, born in Kirkby Ireleth, England, is most well known as one of the "Valiant Sixty" founders of Quakerism, and for her famous tract "Women Speaking Justified," written while she was imprisoned, describing the theological reasons for women's ministry and religious leadership.

"We are thieves; we are all thieves;
We have taken the scripture in words,
but know nothing of them in ourselves."

Margaret Fell (1614 – 23 April 1702)

Elizabeth Fry


Fry, born in Norwich, England, was raised by her Quaker parents, the Gurneys. She was a prison reformer, in particular for women who were imprisoned. Fry worked to get women who were being transported, especially via ship, to be able to have food, water, and to have access to quilt-making materials. She also worked for the abolition of slavery. She was well-regarded both in Quaker and non-Quaker settings.

“Oh Lord, may I be directed
what to do and what to leave undone.”

Elizabeth Gurney Fry, Katharine Fry, Rachel Elizabeth Cresswell (1847). “Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry: With Extracts from Her Letters and Journal”, p.307

Bayard Rustin

Photo Credit: Warren Leffler

Photo Credit: Warren Leffler

Bayard Rustin, born in West Chester, Pennsylvania was raised by his Quaker grandparents. Being expelled from Wilberforce University for helping to organize a strike was an piece of his activist life. Rustin was a trained activist and trained tenor vocalist, and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. At the time, he was pushed out of the spotlight because he was gay, including being anonomized as an author of the publication "Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for An Alternative to Violence," which was recently republished with correct attribution.

"To be afraid is to behave
as if the truth were not true."

Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987)

Fritz Eichenberg

Fritz Eichen.jpg

Fritz Eichenberg  (October 24, 1901 – November 30, 1990)
born in Cologne, Germany to a non-religious Jewish family, had his anti-war beliefs informed by his experiences growing up, however he joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1940, after the sudden death of his wife.

He was an artist, particularly wood engraving, and had his work used prominently in The Catholic Worker throughout his life and beyond.

For Fritz Eichenberg, art was completely intertwined with spirituality and conscience. He reflected on his life as an artist and activist in Pendle Hill pamphlet Artist on the Witness Stand:

“To remain sensitive to the human problems surrounding us we will have to descend from our Ivory Towers into the street, perhaps onto the barricades and into a brush with the law. If you are not afflicted with a social conscience this may not be your idea of an artist’s life.

But if you are born with certain convictions, your path,
no matter how thorny, is laid out for you and you have to follow,
even if your tender feet object.”

Ursula Franklin


Franklin, born in Munich Germany, became a Quaker in 1964 in Canada with her family. She was a metallurgist, physicist, researcher, activist, self-identified feminist, and author.

In the late 1960s, as a Canadian citizen, she advocated for Canada to increase funding for environmental research and preventative medicine instead of spending it on weapons research saying,

“Peace is not the absence of war
but the absence of fear.”

Jessamyn West


Mary Jessamyn West  (July 18, 1902 – February 23, 1984) was born in Indiana, raised as a Quaker in California in the same church as Richard Nixon. She began writing after a stint in a sanitorium because of a tuberculosis diagnosis. She is most well known for the book The Friendly Persuasian.

Photo Credit: Johan Hagemeyer

Photo Credit: Johan Hagemeyer

“A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused [them] in vain.”

—Jessamyn West

Carrie Newcomer


Newcomer, born in Dowagiac, Michigan, is a folk singer-songwriter, who collaborates on humanitarian causes. She first found Quakerism while in Monteverde, Costa Rica, during college.

“My best language has always come out of silence.”

—Carrie Newcomer
Interviewed on NPR’s
On Being with Krista Tippett
Air date: November 26. 2014

Stephen Grellet


Grellet was born in Limoges, France. At the age
of 23 he became a convinced Quaker after
reading William Penn and George Fox's works, and understanding Quaker beliefs. He became a missionary in Europe and North America, concerned in particular with prison
and education reform.

“I expect to pass through this world
but once. Any good thing, therefore,
that I can do or any kindness I can show
to any fellow human being
let me do it now.
Let me not defer nor neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again.”

—Stephen Grellet

Lucretia Mott


Mott was born into the Quaker Coffin family on Nantucket, Massachusetts. She was acknowledged as a miniser in 1818. She helped to organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, was part of many other anti-slavery and women's rights campaigns, including planning the Seneca Falls convention of 1848.

“We too often bind ourselves by authorities
rather than by the truth.”

—Lucretia Mott

Maria Mitchell


Mitchell was raised as a Quaker in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her education gave her an academic base, which she was provided as a Quaker, and as a woman of her time, may not have otherwise been respected for. In 1843, at age 25, she left Quakerism to become a Unitarian, as she felt Quakers were becoming too
narrow-minded for her.

“Study as if you were going to live forever;
live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

—Maria Mitchell

Paul Cuffee

Portrait of Paul Cuffee  by Chester Harding

Portrait of Paul Cuffee
by Chester Harding

Cuffee (Cuffe) was born in Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts. He became a privateer, ship owner, and merchant. In 1808 he became Quaker in Westport, Massachusetts. He worked on resettlement of free African-Americans to Sierra Leone, including founding the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone.

“My soul feels free to travel for the welfare of
my fellow creatures both here and hereafter.”

—Paul Cuffee

WORLD QUAKER DAY: Introducing Judi Dench

Photo Credit: Theo Kingma/REX

Photo Credit: Theo Kingma/REX

Dench converted to Quakerism at age 14 while attending The Mount, a Quaker boarding school in York, England. Her Quaker faith is fundamental to her, centering and grounding her. It is something she says she has to work hard at. She is a patron of the Leaveners, the Young Friends acting group of Britain Yearly Meeting.

“It informs everything I do, but I don't flaunt it.”

—Judi Dench
On Being a Quaker
BBC Interview, March 21, 2013