What is QUIP?

Quakers Uniting in Publications, begun informally in 1983 by a small group of Quaker publishers and booksellers, is now an international network of over 50 Friends organizations and individuals concerned with the ministry of the written word. Members work together to achieve common goals:

• accessible centers for the distribution of Quaker publications
• a website listing of all Quaker publications currently available
• cooperative publishing to provide needed, good books at lower prices
• forum for the exchange of editorial concerns
• education of members in the conduct of sound and ethical business
• increased awareness of Quaker publications in the broader religious book market
• annual meetings for education, business, and encouragement of faith in worship.

Grants for publications

Tacey Sowle Fund

The Tacey Sowle Fund is a modest fund supported by a percentage of QUIP’s membership dues. It is intended to assist Quaker authors and publishers in countries less affluent than those in which most of our members live. Grant sizes range from a few hundred to a small number of thousands of dollars. It has assisted translation as well as publication. Applications for travel from such countries to QUIP meetings would also be considered. For more information, apply to one of the clerks.

Tace Sowle was born in around 1665, the daughter of Andrew [1628-1695] and Jane Sowle [d 1711], both printers of London. Although businesses such as printing were officially carried on only by men, in practice women took a full share in the work, particularly if they were widows of printers or came from a printing family. Tace’s father Andrew had himself been apprenticed for seven years from 1646 to a woman, Ruth Raworth.

Tacey (or Tace) Sowle Raylton 1665?-1749

Tace was more than just a bookseller but, as a fellow printer said of her, “understood her trade very well, being a good compositor herself.” She carried on her father’s business when he began to lose his sight and probably had full control of it from 1691. In 1706 Tace married Thomas Raylton [1671-1723], who although then registered as a hosier, soon became a printer too. There is no record of any children of the marriage. From this time until Thomas died of asthma in 1723 Tace and Thomas traded under the name of Tace’s mother as ‘Assigns of J. Sowle’.

Tace considerably increased the number of Quaker books published by the firm and eventually became virtually the official Quaker printer. She sometimes had more of an eye to business than some Friends appreciated, often printing more copies of a book than she had been asked for if she thought that there was a demand, until her paymasters, Six Weeks Meeting, ordered her to stop. In 1734 she was asked to join the Womens Meeting of London, probably so that they could draw on her business acumen, as Tace was never a public Friend.

Printing was very much a family business and one of Tace’s sisters, Elizabeth, married William Bradford, the first Quaker printer in America. After Thomas’s death Tace Sowle Raylton published under her own name until 1738 when she took on her nephew, Luke Hinde, as a partner. He inherited the business and carried it on, still publishing Quaker books, after Tace died in 1749, the oldest printer in London, at the age of eighty four.

Tace’s name comes from the Latin taceo – I am silent – and we have no writings of her own, but her skill made it certain that other Quaker writers were heard.

See part of an article about Tace Sowle and a graphic of her work in An early Quaker woman printer by Trish Carn in The Friend of 3 February 2011.