A Dorcas society is a local group of people, usually based in a church, with a mission of providing clothing to the poor. Dorcas societies are named after Dorcas (also called Tabitha), a person described in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 9, v. 36).
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. Other Dorcas societies were established by missionaries in the Americas in the early 1800s. Beatrice Clugston founded the Glasgow Royal Dorcas Society in 1864. One English Dorcas society in Sydenham met during five Tuesdays in Lent, producing 166 garments in one year. The Dorcas Society of Maine was founded in 1897 by Kate Douglas Wiggin as the Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton, Maine. The Dorcas Society of Maine is still active and provides academic scholarships and charitable contributions within its community.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). . The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.
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