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Woolman, John


American Quaker preacher; b. Rancocas, N.J., Oct. 19, 1720; d. York, England, Oct. 7, 1772. He was a tailor by trade and lived in Mount Holly, N.J., during most of his life. In 1743 he experienced a call to the Quaker ministry and traveled throughout the colonies as a preaching Friend. A visit to Virginia in 1746 intensified his opposition to African-American slavery, and he devoted the rest of his life to attacking this institution. In addition to his sermons on slavery, Woolman published Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754). His famed Journal (1773) is a record of his spiritual experience on his preaching tours. He died on an antislavery mission to England.

Bibliography: j. whitney, John Woolman: American Quaker (Boston 1942). t. e. drake, Quakers and Slavery in America (New Haven 1950).

[r. k. macmaster]

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