Friends School of Baltimore

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Friends School of Baltimore
5114 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, 21210, United States
Coordinates 39°21′22″N 76°37′39″W / 39.35611°N 76.62750°W / 39.35611; -76.62750Coordinates: 39°21′22″N 76°37′39″W / 39.35611°N 76.62750°W / 39.35611; -76.62750
Type Private, Co-ed, Day
Motto Palma Non Sine Pulvere
Religious affiliation(s) Quaker
Established 1784
Head of School Matthew Micciche
Faculty 95
Enrollment 1009 total
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 8:1
Campus Suburban, 35 acres
Color(s) Scarlet and Grey
Athletics 30 sports
Athletics conference Men: MIAA, Women: IAAM
Mascot The Quaker
Newspaper The Quaker Quill
Yearbook The Quaker

Friends School of Baltimore is a private Quaker school in Baltimore, serving students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.


It is the oldest private school in Baltimore, founded in 1784 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers). Classes were first held in the Aisquith Street Meetinghouse in the East Baltimore community of Old Town. The School was moved to the Lombard Street Meetinghouse in the 1840s and then, in 1899, to its third location at 1712 Park Avenue, adjacent to the Park Avenue Meetinghouse. In 1925, Friends purchased its present site at 5114 North Charles Street. Though the School incorporated in 1973 and separated from the Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends, Stony Run, it maintains its historic and philosophic ties with the Meeting.


Quakers (Friends) beliefs are a little hard to quantify, since Friends do not believe in having a fixed Creed or Dogma, but rather in seeking for the leadings of God within ourselves. Some generalizations are possible however:

Some, but not all Quakers, view the doctrine of Jesus' and the virgin birth as nonessential and not accepted as fact. Primacy of "feelings" over scripture as source of testing doctrine. Acceptance of any document as valid for doctrine, i.e. Tao Te Ching, Koran, etc. (Society of Friends) Some, but not all Quakers are Unitarian Universalists (by their own description) (i.e. all religions and beliefs are correct and of equal value.) Great manifestations including trembling and shaking. George Fox saw himself as an apostle restoring the true church.

Curriculum and facilities[edit]

Education programs in each division are designed to instill a love of learning by fostering students' critical thinking skills and encouraging them to seek creative methods for solving problems. In addition to traditional academic subjects, all students participate in fine arts and physical education courses, as well as community service, which teaches students to look beyond themselves and form connections with the greater community.

Co-curricular activities include after-school interscholastic and intramural sports, theater and dance productions, private music lessons, and after-school clubs and committees in each division.

In addition to separate instructional buildings for the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools—including a separate facility for the Lower School's Pre-K through Pre-First program—the Friends campus features a music education facility, dance studio, fitness room, two gymnasiums, a wrestling room, tennis courts, five full playing fields and two practice areas.

Faculty and administration[edit]

In 2006 the School had a faculty of 105 teachers, including 87 full-time faculty, a yearly operating budget of $16.1 million and an endowment of $16.6 million. The School is governed by a Board of Trustees.

Friends School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Independent Maryland Schools, and is approved by the Maryland State Board of Education.

Principals, headmasters, heads of the school[edit]

  • Eli M. Lamb (1864-1899†)
  • Louisa P. Blackburn (1889–1899)
  • John W. Gregg (1899–1903)
  • Edward C. Wilson (1903–1927)
  • William S. Pike (1927–1935)
  • Edwin C. Zavitz (1935–1943)
  • Bliss Forbush, Sr. (1943–1960)
  • W. Byron Forbush II (1960–1998)
  • Jon M. Harris (1998–2002)
  • Lila B. Lohr (2002–2005)
  • Matthew Micciche (2005–Present)

†The terms "Principal" and "Headmaster" were not used before 1864. The term "Head of School" was first used by Jon Harris.

†From 1889 to 1899 Lamb's school was separate from the Meeting's School. † Calvin McCo

Notable alumni[edit]

Historical timeline[edit]

  • 1781 Quaker Meeting House opened at Aisquith and Fayette Streets.
  • 1800 School House constructed on Old Town property.
  • 1816 Girls' School opened.
  • 1840s School moved to Lombard Street Meeting House.
  • 1865 Introduction of high-school classes.
  • 1866 Name changed to "Friends Elementary and High School," Baltimore's first private high school.
  • 1887 Lombard Street property sold.
  • 1892 Purchase of lot next to Park Avenue Meeting House.
  • 1899 Renamed "Park Avenue Friends Elementary and High School."
  • 1900 Name changed to "Friends School".
  • 1901 First issue of Friends School Quarterly.
  • 1908 Electric lighting installed in the school.
  • 1911 Purchase of 1712 Park Avenue for kindergarten and primary grades.
  • 1912 Purchase of 8½ acres in West Forest Park for athletic field. First football team.
  • 1913 Student government organization begun.
  • 1921 School uniforms adopted.
  • 1924 Boys' lacrosse started.
  • 1927 Girls' lacrosse started.
  • 1929 Primary Department moved to Homeland campus.
  • 1931 Intermediate Department Building constructed at Homeland.
  • 1936 High School moved to Homeland. School organization changed to a Lower School (grades 1-6) and an Upper School (grades 7-12).
  • 1937 Clubhouse remodeled to house nursery and kindergarten classes. New gymnasium built.
  • 1954 Education Committee changed admission policy to allow desegregation.
  • 1955 First black students admitted to Friends.
  • 1964 All classes desegregated.
  • 1966 New science building and new addition to gymnasium.
  • 1967 First full-time black faculty hired.
  • 1970 Middle School established.
  • 1974 Faculty Meeting for Business established.
  • 1975 Auditorium extended to house Middle School.
  • 1982 Addition to Upper School building. Purchase of 2.1 acres (8,500 m2) from Cathedral property.
  • 1986 New cafeteria built.
  • 1987 Pool built for summer programs use.
  • 1989 Expansion of Lower School to Pre-primary ages.
  • 2003 Opening of the Alumni Center.
  • 2005 New Middle School and Athletic Turf.
  • 2009 New dining hall built

See also[edit]


  • Friends for two hundred years: A history of Baltimore's oldest school, by Dean R. Esslinger

External links[edit]