Elizabeth 'Betsy' Cazden is a Quaker historian, writer, speaker, and workshop leader.
Her current research project has a working title of “Slaves Among Friends: Rhode Island Quakers in a Slave-based Economy, 1655-1785.” The project emerged from research on her Borden ancestors, Rhode Island Quakers who owned slaves in the 1670s. It explores how a community of faith reconciled its religious beliefs with an economic system based on African slavery (and on land purchased from indigenous peoples), and how the community ethos changed as Friends came increasingly to question the morality of slavery and, by 1773, to ban slave-holding among their members. Her research has been partially supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
Betsy has also written about liberal twentieth-century Friends, Friends in Cuba, civil liberties, and a biography of the first woman ordained minister. She formerly clerked New England Yearly Meeting (1990-94) and practiced law (1978-2004). She teaches expository writing at Roger Williams University. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, and has two grown children. To contact her, email betsy(at)betsycazden.com.