Leeds University Library

Joseph Wood archive now online

Published Monday 22 February 2016

Small notebooks, Joseph Wood Archive, 1814

Letters and notebooks of remarkable Quaker minister and businessman now available

The catalogue of the Joseph Wood Archive is now online. Diaries, notebooks and letters reveal the fascinating life of a local Quaker minister.

About Joseph Wood

Joseph Wood (1750-1821) was a Quaker who was remarkable for his inspiring ministry and his dedication to the people he served. Wood was born in Newhouse, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire. As a young man he joined the Quaker meeting at Highflatts, where the ministers quickly realised that Wood had the gift of ministry. For 42 years he worked as a Minister of the Gospel, travelling widely in England to preach at Quaker meetings. Seemingly tireless, Wood also ran a business dealing in cloth.

Explore the Joseph Wood Archive

Writing and the books written in

Wood was a prolific writer. He recorded his thoughts, itineraries, letters and poems in 100 large and small notebooks. In this diary he talks about his Quaker faith, his work as a Minister of the Gospel and every day occurrences.

The notebooks are excellent examples of handmade books and are of interest for the papers used and their construction. Ninety book covers are cut from contemporary wallpapers, decorative papers and pen drawings. Digital images of the covers are available in the catalogue records for the large and small notebooks.

View the covers of the notebooks

A man of letters and meetings

Wood was a keen correspondent and the collection includes over 600 letters. Most of these are letters written to Wood. The subjects of the correspondence are wide ranging. The most common topic is Quakerism, followed by business. People valued Wood's advice, writing to request help with family matters and the hiring of servants.

Explore Wood's correspondence

The collection also contains documents relating to Quaker meetings. These include testimonies, meditations and meeting papers. There are also printed documents on subjects such as education and slavery.

The Joseph Wood Archive is part of the extensive Quaker collections held in the Library's Special Collections.