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Swarthmore Nativity Pageant Records

Identifier: SFHL-RG7-012

Scope and Contents

Contains the records of the Swarthmore Nativity Pageant, presented to the citizens of the Borough of Swarthmore, Pa., beginning in 1938. Includes correspondence, scripts, financial records, photographs, and related papers.


  • Creation: 1938-1993


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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 copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Biographical / Historical

The first Swarthmore Nativity Pageant was presented Dec. 18, 1938, in two performances staged in Clothier Memorial on the Swarthmore College campus. The pageant was the dream of Charles D. Mitchell, Saturday Evening Post illustrator and director of Swarthmore Players, who was the first director. Truly a community effort, the original costumes were made by sewing groups of two local congregations, and the chorus was drawn from Swarthmore congregations as well as other community members.

The first four productions were made possible by the Donald Darlington Fund, a fund established by Frances M. White in memory of her adopted son. About 2,500 people attended the performance the first year, with over-capacity crowds attending the following year. Charles Mitchell died in 1940, and his wife, Reba, and family continued the tradition through the 1950s.

The Second World War caused an interruption, but the Pageant resumed in 1948. Since 1951, it has been produced every other year, supported by individual and organizational contributions to the Swarthmore Nativity Pageant Fund, and it was incorporated in 1965. In 1985, the Pageant was moved from Clothier Memorial to the Eugene Lang Music Building.


1 linear ft. (1 box)

Language of Materials



Records of the Swarthmore Nativity Pageant, presented in the Borough of Swarthmore, Pa., since 1938. Performances are staged on the campus of Swarthmore College. Includes correspondence, scripts, financial records, and other related papers.


The collection is divided into four series:

  1. History and programs
  2. Scripts and production notes
  3. Correspondence and financial
  4. Miscellaneous, including photographs

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Swarthmore Nativity Pageant

Date: January 2004

Donor: Swarthmore Nativity Pageant

Date: Acc. SHS 2011.008

Processing Information

Sorted and stored in two boxes. Photographs stored with the Collection in box 2. Include two images of early Pageants and informal snapshots of dress rehearsal, 1993.

Swarthmore Nativity Pageant Records, 1938-1993
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Find It at the Library

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Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA