Papers of Hugh McGregor Ross concerning George Fox

Scope and Content

This small collection comprises mainly notes on and transcriptions of George Fox's writings by McGregor Ross, and related papers on the work of Lewis Benson, Arthur Windsor and the New Foundation Fellowship (including material prepared for publication).

Administrative / Biographical History

Hugh McGregor Ross has a special interest in the work of George Fox (1624 - 1690), the founding father of the Religious Society of Friends. His mother Isabel was descended from the youngest daughter of Margaret Fell, who married Fox in later life. The family lived at the ancestral home of Swarthmoor Hall during Ross' late teens. It was there that Isabel Ross began her research into Fell. Her biography, Margaret Fell: mother of Quakerism was published by Longmans in 1949 and a copy has been donated to the Library as part of this collection.

However, it was not until Ross' late fifties that he began his own research into Fox. This was after he attended lectures given by Lewis Benson, an American Quaker, in 1974, whose interest lay in identifying the principal elements in Fox's teaching. Ross embarked upon both a spiritual journey and an academic investigation into what it was that Fox had really said. He used Benson's work as a guide through the documents, and began to identify those texts which he felt to be of greater importance, particularly those which had been omitted from the various printed collections published after Fox's death. Ross made notes on and transcriptions of Fox's texts and it is these papers which form the bulk of this collection. The original manuscripts and printed collections of Fox's writings on which Ross worked are held at Friends House Library. Researchers will find these papers of most use when used in conjunction with the originals - they are essentially finding and interpretative tools. It is intended that researchers may obtain copies of relevant papers from the Ross collection for use when undertaking work at Friends House Library.

It was through his interest and research that Ross became involved with the New Foundation Fellowship, a group interested in the presentation of Fox's original gospel to modern Quakers. He produced a significant body of work for them, much of which was reproduced in typescript booklets. After several years of such activity, his working papers were stored away in the late 1970s.

However, with the commemoration of the tercentenary of Fox's death, Ross selected parts of that research for publication in George Fox speaks for himself (published 1991 by William Sessions Ltd. York). A copy of this book is held in the Brynmor Jones Library, along with many other booklets and publications donated by Ross on the subjects of Fox and Quakerism. Some of these Ross had a role in producing and others are by his friends and colleagues, including Lewis Benson and Joseph Pickvance.

A detailed version of Ross's own introduction to this collection, along with his lists of the files and publications donated, can be found at DRO/1.

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Conditions Governing Use

Hugh McGregor Ross

Custodial History

Donated by Hugh McGregor Ross, Painswick, 8 March 2000

Related Material

Other repositories:

Original manuscripts and printed editions of George Fox's writings, Library of the Religious Society of Friends