Fifteenth Street Quaker Meeting House and Friends Seminary

I spent last Sunday walking down Second Avenue in Manhattan exploring all that I came across. There were many things I expected to find during my stroll, but I also discovered treasures I wasn’t looking for. One such discovery is located just a short distance from Second Avenue, on the west side of Stuyvesant Square: The Fifteenth Street Quaker Meeting House and Friends Seminary.

The Friends Seminary, a private school for children in primary and secondary grades, has roots that go back more than 200 years to its founding in 1786. It was founded by members of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. In the years that followed, the school grew and moved twice into expanded facilities. In 1860, the Friends Seminary moved to its current location next to the new Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting. Today, both buildings still stand, and the school has expanded into adjacent buildings as well.

Here’s a photo of the front of the brick Meeting House.

And this is the Friends Seminary’s oldest building, accented by the sun’s rays.

This sign next to the Seminary’s door alerted me to the historic nature of my discovery.

As I looked closer at the Meeting House and its surroundings, I discovered evidence of the Friends’ underlying beliefs, which include pacifism, tolerance of others, and a commitment to diversity among other things.

Note the banner above the front entrance of the meeting house: “Torture is a moral issue.”
There were multiple copies of this sign along the wrought iron fence.

The meeting house and seminary are located at 15 Rutherford Place in Manhattan, between 15th and 17th Streets to the north and south, and between Second and Third Avenues to the east and west. The Meeting’s website has directions for getting there here.

7 thoughts on “Fifteenth Street Quaker Meeting House and Friends Seminary

  1. I’m very drawn to the Quaker simplicity, inclusiveness and generosity, and also their frequent determination to act on their beliefs against their self-interest. Your post confirms these qualities. They’re a bit of an oasis in a world of many fundamentalisms.

  2. What a timely post and a lovely anecdote to the violence and intolerance that still seems to sadly exist in many parts of the world. Having been researching my family history for a while now, I have come across several “non conformist” branches including a line of Quakers that went back for many generations. We had no idea about this, so I have been reading up a bit about it – very apt post for me to come across! 🙂

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