Sunday, August 07, 2011

Lost Quaker Journals: #4 -- Daisy Douglass Barr

From the archives of the Association of Bad Friends. all rights reserved.
March 10, 1923

What to wear to church tomorrow? Ha! I wish there was a choice. But it’s always black or gray. Especially when you are the pastor. I’d look so much better in… um… white! That’s it. I’m going to start dressing in all white. Maybe even a white head-covering. That would give plain clothes a whole new look. White is right! -- Diary of Daisy Douglass Barr

Hysterical historical note – Barr was pastor at Friends churches in New Castle and Muncie, Indiana. Famous as a preacher in the early 20th century, she was infamous for being Imperial Empress of the Indiana Women's Ku Klux Klan at about the same time.
Further note: The photo is not of Barr, but rather one of her compatriots from the Indiana Klan dressed in Imperial Empress garb.


RantWoman said...

What an amazing historical fact. If you couldn't get read out of Meeting for being Imperial Wizard of the KKK, just what did it take to get read out of Meeting?

Was this Indiana YM. Indiana YM is in the family tree of a whole bunch of NPYM meetings.

Oh My!

Robin Sufiyah said...

well, I feel a little better about thinking about whacking the guy next to me in Meeting this am...wasn't considering anything that could actually be lethal.

Brent Bill said...

@RantWoman -- yes, it was Indiana Yearly Meeting. I think by the time she was Imperial Wizard Kluckeress Grand Poopah she had left the "church". But that's about all I can say in defense of IYM and it's action toward the Klan at that particular time.

The fact is many (more than we'd care to admit) Indiana Friends were involved in the KKK -- in no small part due its work in the temperance movement (many in the WCTU were aligned with their stance). A sad, sad chapter indeed. A woman who uses the Friends testimony on equality to be a minister in the Society and then ignores it when it comes to people of color, Catholics, Jews, and others.

Brent Bill said...

@Robin -- yes, in a wierd way, she makes me feel a little bit better about being a self-admitted bad Friend....

Chuck Fager said...


I think there's an extra "s" in your listing of her name.
See the Reference page from State U of Potsdam New York:

It notes that her name is "sometimes misspelled Daisey Douglass Barr"; it includes numerous references

The Dwight Hoover article (the actual article, not a reference to it) has only one "s".

The book, "‪Women of the Klan: racism and gender in the 1920s‬" By Kathleen M. Blee has only one "s" i numerous references

Brent Bill said...

I've seen it both ways -- one s or tow. And the note on the misspelling is about her first name - Daisey Douglass Barr, w/ an "e" in Daisey. What's an extra "s" among Friends? ;-)

Linda Gordon said...

The text and comments leave out the context: in the 1920s the KKK was, unfortunately, entirely respectable, as was racism general. The racism of the northern Klan was directed primarily against Catholics, Jews, immigrants and industrial workers.

Linda Gordon
University Professor of the Humanities
Florence Kelley Professor of History
New York University
53 Washington Square South
NY, NY 10012
tel 212-998-8627