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Archives & Manuscripts

Friends Historical Library Records

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-027
This collection contains the records of Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Quaker reference library and archives, founded in 1871. Included are administrative records and correspondence, primarily that of the librarians and other staff, and miscellaneous records.


  • 1879-2010


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.


91.03 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, a Quaker reference library, archives, and depository, was established in 1871 to collect books and related materials concerning the Society of Friends and its activities. Originally known as the Anson Lapham Repository, the Library has grown to include books, serials, manuscripts, pictures, and archives, and it serves as a depository for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as well as depository for the Baltimore and New York Yearly Meetings and some smaller yearly meetings.


The collection is organized into 22 series. The series are:
  1. Correspondence, 1879-1950
  2. Minutes
  3. Annual reports
  4. Acession books and catalogs
  5. Visitor's registers
  6. Conferences
  7. Correspondence, 1950-1960
  8. Correspondence, 1960-1970
  9. Correspondence with Quaker meetings, to 1980
  10. Correspondence, 1970-1980
  11. Financial records, to 1980
  12. Exhibits, to 1980
  13. Miscellaneous, to 1980
  14. Correspondence, 1980-1990
  15. Correspondence, 1990-2000
  16. Correspondence, 2000-2010
  17. Financial Records, 1980- [current]
  18. Grants
  19. Visitor Registers and Registration Forms
  20. Annual Reports
  21. Exhibits
  22. Miscellaneous, 1980- [current]
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accruals: Records retired on regular basis.

Some early records found in library desk of J. Russell Hayes. (Librarian of FHL 1927-1937 and Librarian Emeritus until his death in December 1945), which contained largely correspondence and one book on Anson Lapham Repository Fund. Altar of Goodwill correspondence deposited by Courtney Smith in 1956. Account of Library, 1938-1947, retired from current files in 1957. Other records retired on regular basis.

Related Materials

RG5/216, Friends Historical Library, Harris (Dorothy G.) Papers

RG5/218, Friends Historical Library, Tolles (Frederick B.) Papers

Processing Information

Records, mostly correspondence, retired on regular basis. Filed in documents boxes and stored in RG 4


An Inventory of the Friends Historical Library Records, 1879-2010
FHL staff
Description rules
Language of description
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA