Cho, Mijin (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explores the lives of four British Quaker women—Isabella Ford, Isabel Fry, Margery Fry, and Ruth Fry—focusing on the way they engaged in peace issues in the early twentieth century. In order to examine the complexity and diversity of their experiences, this thesis investigates the characteristics of their Quakerism, pacifism and wider political and personal life, as well as the connections between them. In contrast to O’Donnell’s view that most radical Victorian Quaker women left Quakerism to follow their political pursuits with like-minded friends outside of Quakerism, Isabella Ford, one of the most radical socialists, and feminists among Quakers remained as a Quaker. British Quakers were divided on peace issues but those who disagreed with the general Quaker approach resigned and were not disowned; the case of Isabel Fry is a good example of this. This thesis argues that the experiences of four Quaker women highlight the permissive approach Quakerism afforded its participants in the early twentieth century, challenging previous interpretations of Quakerism as a mono-culture. Highlighting the swift change within Quakerism from being the closed group of the nineteenth to a more open group in the twentieth century, this thesis describes the varied and varying levels of commitment these women had to the group as ‘elastic Quakerism’.
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