1. Guidelines for Recordkeeping

Though the Records Committee recognizes its responsibility to see that records of the meetings are preserved regardless of format or condition, the preservation of the records is made more certain by using durable paper and storage in archival-quality binders. It is advised that meeting minutes be typed on acid-free paper, 8.5 by 11 inches. Both bond paper (for use on one side or photocopying) and heavier ledger paper (for typing and copying on both sides) may be bought from stationery suppliers. When minutes have accumulated to the thickness of not more than two inches, they should be collected in chronological order and placed in good-quality binders, labeled with identification of the originating meeting and dates covered.

At intervals of five to ten years, the volumes of local and regional meeting minutes should be sent or delivered to Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399. The Curator will provide receipts to the originating meeting and to the Yearly Meeting Records Committee. A duplicate set of minutes can be retained by the meeting for reference when the originals have been deposited in Friends Historical Library.

Newspaper clippings, programs, pamphlets, and other items should not be attached to the minutes or bound with them, but may be kept in scrapbooks for meeting archives if copies are made on acid-free paper (necessary in case of newspapers, which are printed on paper that readily deteriorates). No staples, pins, metal clips, or any pressure-sensitive adhesives (such as Scotch tape) should be used on any records.

Monthly meetings are expected to name recorders, whose duty it is to maintain accurate membership registers. Such registers should be recorded on meeting membership sheets, one for each person, and kept in a loose-leaf binder. Meeting membership sheets will be supplied from the Yearly Meeting office, and may be duplicated on acid-free paper as needed by the recorder. When an individual’s membership is ended by transfer, removal, release, or death, that membership sheet should be placed in a separate binder. Cumulations of terminated membership sheets should be sent to Friends Historical Library at ten-year intervals.

For clarification of procedures and practices, the committee recommends The Handbook on Records: Their Creation, Maintenance, and Preservation in the Meeting. This 61-page softcover booklet is published by Baltimore Yearly Meeting, 17100 Quaker Lane, Sandy Spring, MD 20860 ($6.00, plus $3.50 for shipping and handling).

2. Access to Records in Friends Historical Library

All official records transferred to Friends Historical Library remain the legal property of the depositing meeting or its successor body. From time to time, a meeting may need to request return of its original records for legal or other purposes. In such case, a request from the clerk of the meeting or the clerk of its trustees should be addressed to the curator of Friends Historical Library stating the need and citing formal action by the meeting. All records so withdrawn should be returned to Friends Historical Library as soon as the immediate need has been satisfied.

Meeting records will not be released to any party other than the meeting concerned but may be inspected by anyone at Friends Historical Library, or at depository libraries if the records have been microfilmed. Access to the Minutes of Ministry and Oversight committees is restricted for a period of seventy-five years from the date of creation, unless the relevant meeting has instructed Friends Historical Library otherwise.

As records in the custody of Friends Historical Library are microfilmed, copies of the film will be deposited in the following libraries:

  1. Center for the Humanities, New York Public Library, New York, NY
  2. Manuscripts and Special Collections, New York State Library, Albany, NY
  3. Lockwood Memorial Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, Amherst, NY
  4. Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers—the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
  5. Long Island Studies Institute, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY (for Long Island meetings only)

Cataloging of the minutes according to archival standards is in progress. Access to catalogue entries is possible through the World Wide Web on personal computers at http://tripod.bryn mawr.edu.

Friends and others may direct inquiries to the curator of Friends Historical Library or to the clerk of the Yearly Meeting Records Committee concerning current status of the microfilming project and availability of the films at depository libraries.


Membership in the Religious Society of Friends is held in the monthly meeting. Each monthly meeting appoints a recorder, who maintains the official membership lists and records for every member of the monthly meeting.

Membership records should be kept on meeting membership sheets on acid-free paper, one for each member. When membership is ended by removal, death, or otherwise, that membership sheet should be removed to a separate binder. Cumulations of removals, appropriately designated, should be sent to the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College at five- to ten-year intervals.

As the recorder is notified by the monthly meeting of changes in the status of any member of the meeting, these changes are duly noted in the meeting records and the appropriate form filled out and sent in to the Yearly Meeting office so the changes can be made in the Spark mailing list and for publication in the Notices column. This includes marriages, new members, transfers in and out, deaths, and address changes. Notices of births may be sent to the Yearly Meeting office for publication in Spark, whether or not the baby is a member of the meeting. Marriages are also announced at the wish of the meeting and the parties involved. Twice a year, a computer printout is sent to each monthly meeting recorder for changes and corrections.

The monthly meeting recorder is also responsible for the Statistical Report of the members of the meeting, based on the official records. The form for this annual report is mailed to the recorder by the Yearly Meeting office.


The meeting clerk should immediately notify the office in writing of changes, since information is continually updated. This permits lists and mailing label requests to be current.

May 1 Your clerk is sent a form for information of your meeting and its officers.
May 1 Your recorder is sent a printout of the Spark mailing list and a form.
July 15 Deadline for forms to reach Yearly Meeting office, for information to be included in the Yearbook.