QUAKER history involved many elements, each of which may conceivably be given the primary emphasis. The biographical interest is naturally prominent. Quaker history is the creation of its great leaders. A religion of the spirit expresses itself primarily through the personalities of men and women. Its method is the method of incarnation. The Quaker organization has been relatively unimportant except to serve as a nursery of sensitive and adventurous souls, and to carry on and perpetuate their concerns and principles. A large part, almost a preponderating part, of the Quaker historian's source materials is found in journals, memoirs and correspondence. The early histories, especially Sewel's and Bowden's, were largely extracts from the biographies of the founders. The biographical element must always be prominent in any true presentation of Quaker history.
Another element that bulks large in all Christian history is church organization. With some religious bodies it is the prominent element -- the organization dominating, using and eclipsing to a large extent the personal interests. Such is not the case with Friends; yet the Society as an organization has a history, embracing its constitution, its rules of discipline, its separations and its official activities. The minutes of yearly, quarterly and monthly meetings are a rich mine of source material for the history of organized Quakerism.
The history of a religious denomination may also be