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E. Raymond Wilson Brings Flowers

August 12, 2009
E. Raymond Wilson meets with Sen. Hubert Humphrey

E. Raymond Wilson meets with Sen. Hubert Humphrey

I remember hearing stories of FCNL’s first Executive Secretary E. Raymond Wilson taking flowers to members of Congress since almost the first day that I started working here. So when we at FCNL saw the health care debate in this country descending into shouting and insults, flowers seemed like a natural response.

Did Raymond really take flowers to members of Congress? Yes, say the members of our committee who worked with him in that period or heard stories passed down over the years. Do you have a story about Raymond and flowers that you could tell? If so please consider posting a comment to this blog telling us what you know?

For those of you who don’t know who E. Raymond Wilson was, here’s an excerpt from a bio that was included with his book UpHill for Peace: Quaker Impact on Congress (Friends United Press, 1975).

E. Raymond Wilson was a pioneer in working with the federal government for Quakers at the national level: First as Secretary of the Friends War Problems Committee and then, at the urging of that body, as the ground-breaking Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. From the time that FCNL was established in November 1943 Raymond Wilson served in that position, “for only two years to get them started,” until January 1962, when he became Executive Secretary Emeritus.

Prior to his work in Washington, he was Educational Secretary of the Peace Section of the American Friends Service Committee. His experience includes almost 31 years’ work in Washington following developments in Congress, two years in Japan, six extended trips to Europe include three visits to Russia – a total of 46 years traveling, speaking and organizing in the American peace movement, 37 of these with the religious society of Friends.

I’ve read several of his books and his life provides inspiration and hope for me. The image I have in my mind is of this well dressed man with a handful of flowers going from office to office on Capitol Hill handing a stem to each of the offices he visits. I’m planning to buy a few stems today and the possibilities in an era of flower deliveries are endless.

  1. Ami Ringler permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:06 pm

    Let Health Care flourish like wonderful flowers !

  2. Chuck Harker permalink
    August 13, 2009 5:41 pm

    And often the flowers Raymond delivered had come from a weekend trip to his home at Bryn Gwelled, Pennsylvania, which was rich in flowers of all kinds.

  3. Wendy Brooks Malepeai permalink
    August 15, 2009 11:15 pm

    May the personal touch and positive thanks for their work in Washington reach the hearts of our representatives! Thank you for such a great idea. Will do!

  4. August 17, 2009 10:00 am

    Thanks Chuck for that added detail. What some readers of this blog probably don’t know is that Chuck worked in the FCNL office in the 1960s and served as interim Executive Secretary for a period so he knows a good bit about our organization.

    Read more responses to the flower lobbying at

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