Today in History: William Penn

The Frame of the Government of the Province of Pennsilvania in America
Today in History–October 14–the Library of Congress features the religious and social reformer William Penn, born on this day in 1644.  Having no luck in his campaign for religious freedom for Quakers and others in England, Penn received an American land grant in payment of a debt owed his father. He named the colony Pennsylvania in honor of his father, promising freedom of worship for all settlers. Many of Penn’s ideas helped lay the groundwork for the future United States. Learn more about this forward-thinking colonial founder by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to read texts by and about William Penn and to view related resources.

Some Fruits of Solitude In Reflections and Maxims 1903 edition of 1682 work

A brief account of the Province of Pennsilvania in America, lately granted under the great seal of England to William Penn 1682

Frame of Government of Pennsylvania May 5, 1682 (Avalon Project, Yale Law School)

An essay towards the present and future peace of Europe 1912 edition of 1683 work

Proposals for a second settlement in the Province of Pennsylvania 1690

A brief account of the rise and progress of the people called Quakers 1816 edition of 1694 work

Charter of Privileges Granted by William Penn 1701

William Penn image set

William Penn sheet music

Early Pennsylvania maps

Books about William Penn

William Penn’s Conversion To Quakerism” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Volume 2, Issue 11 April, 1851

Early Quaker primary source set 

America as a Religious Refuge: The 17th Century Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

This Separation Forced upon Us: Philadelphia’s Free Quakers and the Culture of Revolution (streaming webcast)

Writing the Story of America’s Religious Origins (streaming webcast)

Pennsylvania primary source collections