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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.


  • Creation: 1879-


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research. All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Friends Historical Library staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Copyright and Rights Information

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College which holds the copyright. See

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.


91.03 Linear Feet




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.

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, 1879-2011
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

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 or requesting reproductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA