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All lower and middle school classrooms at Mary McDowell Friends School are identified by Quaker names.
We are very proud that each classroom is named for either a Quaker who made important contributions to the formation of MMFS or an individual recognized for their unique contributions to Quaker history.
Here is a list of the classroom names you’ll encounter at MMFS, along with a brief overview of each namesake’s significant contributions.
David Anderson was a longtime member of the MMFS Board of Trustees. A well-known writer, David was an editor and writer at the New York Times, often reporting on issues of gun control. At MMFS, David worked tirelessly for a generous financial aid program so that all children could attend the school.
Emily Greene Balch was a Quaker economist and writer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Anthony Benezet was a teacher and vocal opponent of slavery in 18th century Philadelphia.
Mariana Wright Chapman was born in New York City and attended Friends Seminary. In 1880, she moved to Brooklyn and was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage, serving as the president of the New York State Women’s Suffrage Association. In her work for women’s suffrage, she worked closely with Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Levi Coffin was a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Paul Cuffe was an entrepreneur, sea captain, social activist, and philanthropist. He was a leading member of the American Colonization Society, a national organization dedicated to the freeing of enslaved Africans, and the settlement of free blacks in West Africa.
Barrington Dunbar devoted his life to social work and the black liberation movement.
Margaret Fell was active in the founding of Quakerism and in prison reform. She was the wife of George Fox.
George Fox was the founder of Quakerism.
Elizabeth Fry was a Quaker prison reformer.
Norman Krisberg was a founding member of the MMFS Board of Trustees. He used his superb financial and business acumen to watch over our finances. He was instrumental in guiding our growth and worked closely with both the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings on our behalf.
Paul Lacey was a Quaker educator and the author of numerous books on Quakerism. He was a professor at Earlham College and taught several MMFS faculty members.
Violet Longobardi was one of the founders of Mary McDowell Friends School and a member of Brooklyn Meeting. Violet’s generous spirit and thoughtful insights guided and inspired the Board, faculty, and students. In the early years of the school, she regularly invited students who visited the Brooklyn Museum to come across the street and eat lunch at her apartment. Violet helped the school in every way possible; she would often be found stuffing envelopes, making copies, and answering phones.
Maria Mitchell was an astronomer and the first American to discover a telescopic comet.
Lucretia Mott was an abolitionist and founder of the women’s rights movement. She was one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention.
Prudence Crandall was an educator, abolitionist, and founder of the first boarding school for African American girls in New England.
Edward Hicks was a distinguished American folk art painter and Quaker minister. He painted The Peaceable Kingdom, one of the world’s most recognizable paintings.
Rufus Jones was active in the War Resisters League and a friend of Mary McDowell.
Dr. Joseph Lister revolutionized surgery in the late 19th century by introducing antiseptic methods that drastically reduced the incidence of infection and death.
Alice Paul was a leader of the national suffrage movement.
Bayard Rustin was a civil rights leader and the organizer of the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. made the “I Have a Dream” speech. He was a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and was present at the gathering at which Mary McDowell Friends School was proposed and accepted as a new Quaker school.
Ham Seok-heon was a notable figure in the Religious Society of Friends movement in Korea and was nicknamed the “Gandhi of Korea.” He was an important voice for human rights and non-violence during the twentieth century, despite numerous imprisonments for his beliefs.
In the 1970s, Dorothy and Irving Stowe, along with Jim Bohlens, founded the Greenpeace organization and turned the attention of the world to environmental issues.
John Woolman was an abolitionist. He said, “Love the slave owners as well as the slave.”
Sarah Mapps Douglass was an educator, abolitionist, writer, and speaker, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.