Anna Brinton

Anna Brinton (1887-1969) was an American administrator, teacher and writer. A dean of faculty, she was also a professor of archaeology and art history and a head of classical studies. Among her scholarly works were Maphaeus Vegius and his Thirteenth Book of the Aeneid; A Pre-Raphaelite Aeneid; and the introduction to Descensus Averno: Fourteen Woodcuts.

Brinton descended from a long line of Quakers, her grandparents the well-known Hannah and Joel Bean. She was a student at Westtown School and later a professor at Earlham College and, with her husband Howard, a co-director of Pendle Hill. In 1928 she became a minister of the Religious Society of Friends. For over thirty years, she was active with the American Friends Service Committee, serving on its board and performing postwar relief work in Germany and Japan. Brinton co-founded Pacific Yearly Meeting and worked toward the reunification of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. She was also a president of the Friends Historical Association. Her Quaker works included The Wit and Wisdom of William Bacon Evans; Toward Undiscovered Ends: Friends and Russia for 300 Years; Friends and Sacraments; and an introduction to Crisp’s A Short History of a Long Journey from Babylon to Bethel, and her editions of Penn’s No Cross, No Crown; Then & Now: Quaker Essays, Historical and Contemporary; and Quaker Profiles: Pictorial & Biographical 1750-1850. She was one of the models for Sylvia Shaw Judson’s sculpture of Mary Dyer, the Quaker martyr.

Anna Brinton was a remarkable Friend and a fine writer. I have read most of her books over the years. They are delightful, especially The Wit and Wisdom of William Bacon Evans.

Gary Sandman

June 2023

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