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Quakers in Latin America: Quaker Archives Resources

Resources relating to Quakers in Latin America, including useful introductory sources and primary sources in the Quaker Archives at Guilford College.

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After several independent requests inviting Friends to begin a ministry in Cuba, the American Friends Board of Missions sent Zenas Martin to Havana in 1900, supported by Wilmington (Ohio), Iowa, Western, Indiana, and North Carolina yearly meetings. Francisco Cala, a protestant Cuban minister who embraced Quaker ideals, had already grown a meeting in Havana. Martin and a small group of American and Mexican missionaries began their ministry in Gibara, a more remote area still impoverished by the Spanish-American War. Friends’ meetings and schools branched out from Gibara to Holguín, Banes, and Puerto Padre, with itinerant work and missions in rural villages. Cuba Yearly Meeting became a separate entity in 1927.

The Cuban Revolution brought changes and trials. The new government confiscated all private schools, including Friends’. Some teachers moved to the U.S.A. and some remained in the government schools. Amidst embargoes and mistrust between the democratic and communist countries, Cuban Friends have basically been cut off from the rest of the world since 1961, with the exception of occasional visits from outside Friends, Cuban Friends who have been able to attend world conferences, and immigrants to the United States. Miami Monthly Meeting in Florida remains a hub of communication for Cuban Quaker immigrants, or “exiles,” in the U.S.

Published Sources

American Friends Board of Missions, Fifty Years of Service (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions, 1944).
Quaker BV 2535.F67 1944

Browne, Gordon M., Today was the Future Yesterday (Philadelphia, Wider Quaker Fellowship, 1989).
Quaker BX7733.B76 T6 1989

Economic Life on Our Mission Fields (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions).
Quaker BV 2535.E25 1949

Education on Our Mission Fields (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions).
Quaker BV 2535.E38 1948

Farr, Wendell G., Outreach of Friends of the Five Years Meeting, A Study Unit for Sunday Schools and Study Groups (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions).
Quaker BV 2535.F37 1950

Foreign Mission Work of American Friends, A Brief History of Their Work from the Beginning to the Year Nineteen Hundred and Twelve (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Foreign Missions, 1912).
Quaker BV 2535.F67 1912

Heironimus, Dorothy, Friends in Cuba (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions, ca 1940).
Quaker BV2848.C9 H4 c1

Hilty, Hiram Horace, Friends in Cuba (Richmond, Ind., Friends United Press, 1977).
Quaker BV2848.C9 H547 c1

Hilty, Hiram H., Herbert Lionel Matthews, Understanding Cuba: Articles (Philadelphia, Peace Education Program, American Friends Service Committee, 1960).
Quaker F1788 .M356 c1

Jones, Christina H., American Friends in World Missions (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions, 1946).
Quaker BV 2535.J6

Jones, Sylvester, Friends Mission in Cuba (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Foreign Missions, 1911).
pamphlet in FHC file: Friends: Cuba

Shepherd, Edith Lebrato, On Quakers in Cuba: 1900 to 1971 (Thesis, Guilford College, 1971).
Thesis 1971 S4

Wei, Deborah, Rachael Kamel, Resistance in Paradise: Rethinking 100 Years of U.S. Involvement in the Caribbean and the Pacific (Philadelphia, American Friends Service Committee, 1998).
Quaker F1436.8.U6 A44 1998

White, Mildred E., editor, Religious Life on Our Mission Fields (Richmond, Ind., American Friends Board of Missions, 1948).
Quaker BV 2535.F7

Plain & plenty: A Quaker Cookbook (Richmond, Ind., Quaker Life, 2003).
Quaker TX725.A1 P52 2003

Rayos de Luz from The Pearl of the Antilles, or Views of Friends’ Missions in Cuba (American Friends Board of Foreign Missions, 1908). Photos of Cuban meeting houses and schools.
pamphlet in FHC file: Friends: Cuba

Unpublished Sources

Finding Aid (inventory and descriptions) provided below. These collections are available for consultation in the Quaker Archives Research Room by appointment.

Quaker Periodicals

La Voz de los Amigos (Miami Monthly Meeting). Spanish-language monthly devotional newsletter from Miami Monthly Meeting.

Friends Missionary Advocate (Plainfield, Ind.). News of missionary activities around the world. Issues from 1885 to 1950 available on microfilm in Quaker Books. Issues from 1950 (followed by the present-day Advocate) available in periodicals (Reading Room). Special Cuban edition, Vol. XX, No. 7, July 1904: includes an early history by Mahalah Jay, the first conference of Friends in Cuba, short articles and photos.
microfilm MN #92-024.02


Poynter, Frances, “Changing Cuba,” Friends Missionary Advocate, Vol. 86, No. 4, April 1970, p.12 ff (Whittier, Calif., United Society of Friends Women). AFSC visit with communist hopes.

Hilty, Hiram H., “Zenas L. Martin, Quaker Pioneer in Cuba,” Quaker History: The Bulletin of the Friends Historical Association, Vol. 59, No. 2, Autumn 1970.

Bliss, George I., “A Cuban Report,” Quaker Life, Series XII, No. 11, November 1971, p. 38 (Richmond, Ind., Friends United Press). Visit and attempted visits in communist  Cuba.

Chance, Lela Gordon, “Our Cuban Quakers,” Friends Missionary Advocate, Vol. 88, No. 4, April 1972, pp. 24-25 (Whittier, Calif., United Society of Friends Women). Account of an immigrant family.

Harris, Harvey, “Cuba of ’70s freer than 20 Years Ago,” Greensboro Daily News (Greensboro, ca. 1977). Interview with Hiram Hilty after recent trip. [by request in FHC file: Friends: Cuba]

Ray-Jones, Alan, “Los Amigos, Cuban style,” the Friend, Vol. 171, No. 5, 1 Feb. 2013, pp. 10-11. Visit from a British Friend in 2010.