In Brief: A Quaker Conscientious Objector: Wilfrid Littleboy’s Prison Letters, 1917–1919

Edited by Rebecca Wynter and Pink Dandelion. Handheld Press, 2020. 197 pages. $17.99/paperback or eBook.

The Quaker storytelling goes on in this column, now in the form of letters. Friend Wilfrid Littleboy was a conscientious objector in England at the time of World War I, when military service was compulsory, and refusing to fight was punishable by imprisonment. Littleboy was in prison from 1916 to 1919, though not continuously, and he went on to live to an old age. These letters were all written to family members and have been kept private. (His granddaughter wrote the foreword to this book.)

The excellent 46-page introduction gives a history lesson sufficient to locate Littleboy in a time when the Quietist period had ended and Friends felt renewed vitality. Littleboy was born and raised a Quaker, and became a leader among young adult Friends. He lived in Birmingham, a city where prominent Quaker families also lived and the pacifist community was strong.

The letters share his observations and experiences from a vantage point known by few. An index follows the text, as do appendices listing the people mentioned in the letters and the books Littleboy read in prison.

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