Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Letter to Darwen Finlayson, 7 January 1962


Wedmore wrote to Darwen Finlayson Publishers inquiring as to their interest in publishing the book. Wedmore expressed far-reaching expectations of the group's intent--"a frontal but Quaker assault on Christian moral code"--and gave a revised Table of Contents.


Keith Wedmore Papers


7 January 1962

Dear Cedric Davies,

A Quaker Group of which I am a member, and which is preparing a short book for publication, has asked me to enquire with you on the basis of the table of contents etc whether you are likely to be interested in publication. I am not authorized to forward the drafts at this stage, so that the enquiry (it is appreciated) is very preliminary; the work is expected to be complete in the Spring.

The Group is the "Quaker Group on Homosexuality and other problems of sex". Its concern has been to make a frontal but Quaker assault on the traditional Christian moral code so far as sexual behaviour is concerned and to suggest a new Christian attitude to sexual problems especially homosexuality. It has met for some four years in regular session, first discussing, and then writing the book.

The Members of the group, in no particular order, are as follows:
Duncan Fairn, Director of the Prison Commission. (it was he, I think, that suggested you.)
Kenneth Barnes, Headmaster of Wennington School Weatherby, author of several recently publicised books on sexuality
Anna Bidder (Chairman) Lecture in Zoology, Newnham College Cambridge
Lotte Rosenberg, (Secretary) a practising psychiatrist
Kenneth Nicholson, Headmaster, Friends School Saffron Walden
Richard Fox, a psychiatrist
Mervyn Parry, Headmaster of a school near Cambridge whose name escapes me;
Alasdair Heron, Director of a Medical Research Unit in Industrial Psychology (Psychologist)Alfred Torrie, psychiatrist, sometime Director of the Retreat, York
Myself, a practicing Barrister, and late colleague of your brother at Somerset House
Joyce James, of Marriage and Parenthood Council.
The work is not an anthology. Not only is joint responsibility taken for its entire contents, but it has been corporately written.

The opinions offered are novel and frankly liberal. It is thought the book may prove to be controversial. The concern from which it sprang will be put to Yearly Meeting in 1963.

The Table of Contents stands as follows:
1. Foreword (not by member of the group)
2. Introduction
3. Normal Sexual Development
4. Homosexuality
5. Homosexuality and the Law
6. Homosexuality and Society
7. Heterosexuality
8. How can help be given
1. Origins of sexual behaviour
2. Some deviations considered
3. Selected reading list.

Primarily the work deals with all the implications of homosexuality, which your brother once unkindly called my subject, but it was found necessary to consider Christian attitudes to all sexual behaviour as a whole, and the Group went ahead and did just that.

Could you let me have your reactions?

Yours sincerely,
Keith Wedmore