Dorcas society

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Edwin Long's A Dorcas Meeting in the 6th Century (painted 1873–1877) imagines a Dorcas society of Late antiquity.

A Dorcas society is a local group of people, usually based in a church, with a mission of providing clothing to the poor.[1] Dorcas societies are named after Dorcas (also called Tabitha), a person described in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 9, v. 36).[2][3]

One Dorcas society was founded in Douglas, Isle of Man in December 1834, as part of the community's thanksgiving for being spared from an outbreak of cholera.[1][4] Other Dorcas societies were established by missionaries in the Americas in the early 1800s.[5][6] Beatrice Clugston founded the Glasgow Royal Dorcas Society in 1864.[7][8][9] One English Dorcas society in Sydenham met during five Tuesdays in Lent, producing 166 garments in one year.[10] The Dorcas Society of Maine was founded in 1897 by Kate Douglas Wiggin as the Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton, Maine.[11] The Dorcas Society of Maine is still active and provides academic scholarships and charitable contributions within its community.

Dorcas societies were at their height in the 1800s,[10] but there are still Dorcas societies around the world, providing clothing and other physical needs.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "Dorcas Society" . The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.
  2. ^ a b Lockyer, Herbert (1967). All the women of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. pp. 46–48. ISBN 0310281512.
  3. ^ a b Achtemeier, Elizabeth (2003). Preaching and Reading the Old Testament Lessons, Volume 3. CSS Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 0788019430.
  4. ^ Isle of Man Dorcas Society
  5. ^ Keller, Rosemary; Ruether, Rosemary; Cantlon, Marie (2006). Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America: Women and religion: methods of study and reflection. Indiana University Press. p. 245. ISBN 025334686X.
  6. ^ Errington, Elizabeth Jane (1995). Wives and Mothers, School Mistresses and Scullery Maids: Working Women in Upper Canada, 1790-1840. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 174. ISBN 0773513094.
  7. ^ Colin Rochester (2011). Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-84519-424-6.
  8. ^ Elizabeth L. Ewan; Sue Innes; Sian Reynolds; Rose Pipes (8 March 2006). The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-0-7486-2660-1.
  9. ^ Scott Graham - ABACUS. "TheGlasgowStory: Beatrice Clugston".
  10. ^ a b Richmond, Vivienne (1995). Clothing the Poor in Nineteenth-Century England. Cambridge University Press. p. 216. ISBN 1107042275.
  11. ^ "The Dorcas Society of Maine".