Day 23: Henry Cadbury

Born to a prominent Quaker family in Philadelphia, Henry Cadbury (1883-1974) was a biblical scholar, Quaker historian, writer and non-profit administrator. Although he was a Quaker throughout his life, he was essentially an agnostic. He was forced out of his teaching position at Haverford for writing an anti-war letter in 1918. This experience was a milestone for him, leading him to service beyond the Religious Society of Friends. He was a founding member of the American Friends Service Committee in 1917 and its chairman from 1928-34 and again from 1944-60.  He received a Ph.D. from Harvard, but initially rejected its oath because of the Quaker insistence that truth should always be told. He organized Friends from various branches to discuss the issue of how to deal with the draft and through that created an organization that would later help to rebuild Europe twice.

AFSC - 38Henry Cadburry_1

In 1947, AFSC and British Friends Service Committee accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Religious Society of Friends. Cadbury delivered the Nobel lecture on behalf of AFSC.  From his lecture:

“The common people of all nations want peace. In the presence of great impersonal forces they feel individually helpless to promote it. You are saying to them here today that common folk, not statesmen, nor generals nor great men of affairs, but just simple plain men and women like the few thousand Quakers and their friends, if they devote themselves to resolute insistence on goodwill in place of force, even in the face of great disaster past or threatened, can do something to build a better, peaceful world. The future hope of peace lies with such personal sacrificial service. To this ideal humble persons everywhere may contribute.”


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