John Woolman

(2038 words)
  • Michael Heller (Roanoke College )

John Woolman (1720-1772) is most well known as an activist working to end slavery among Quakers, who were more formally called the Religious Society of Friends. He wrote essays that sought to reverse the effects of oppression both for the oppressed as well as for those whose economic practices hurt others and damaged the environment. He is probably most revered for his Journal, a spiritual autobiography written for publication in the manner of Friends, in which he describes how he tried to live in accord with Quaker ideals of peace, equality, and simplicity.

Woolman was born in a Quaker community near Mount Holly, New Jersey, in 1720, and was raised on his parents’ farm. His upbringing and education were …

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Heller, Michael. "John Woolman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2004
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]