Woolman, John, 1720–72, American Quaker leader, b. near Mt. Holly, N.J. Originally a tailor and shopkeeper, Woolman was recorded a minister (1743) by the Burlington, N.J., Meeting. Thereafter he made many journeys throughout the colonies, preaching and advancing the antislavery cause. Keenly aware of social injustice, Woolman was one of the first protesters against slavery. He personally boycotted products made by slave labor, and was responsible for convincing many Quaker communities to publicly denounce slavery. He died at York on a visit to England. Among his published works is Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754, 1762, repr. 1969). Woolman is best remembered for his journal (1774; ed. by J. G. Whittier, 1871, and P. P. Moulton, 1971).
See study by R. Reynolds (1981).
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