Skip to main content

Swarthmore Co-op Collection

 Collection — othertype: RG7-024
Identifier: SFHL-RG7-024

Scope and Contents

Founded in the 1930s as consumer-owned groceries, most co-ops closed in the 1980s in competition with supermarket chains. The Swarthmore Co-op has survived and evolved for over seventy-five years and remains an important part of the community. In the 21st century, the Co-op moved into a new building and has expanded its membership and sales. Together with Swarthmore College, it is an important element in the revitalizing of the Swarthmore Business District, a traditional town center founded at the end of the 19th century. The collection illustrates its history through clippings, photographs, and writings.


  • circa 1936-2012


Biographical / Historical

The Swarthmore Co-op began in 1932 as a fruit and vegetable buying group organized by a group of women in Swarthmore, Pa., and operating out of homes. In 1937 it filed articles of Association in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvnia as the Swarthmore Cooperative Association. In 1939 it found a home in a former car dealership on Dartmouth Avenue with the help of Mary Hitchner deMoll (Mrs. Carl deMoll). In 1945 it was incorporated as the Consumers' Cooperative Association of Swarthmore. In 2004 the Co-op moved to a building erected in adjacent lot, and in 2012, the Swarthmore Co-op celebrated its 75th Anniversary.


.5 Linear Feet




The collection contains photographs, clippings, historical research and related papers concerning the Consumers' Cooperative Association of Swarthmore, Inc., better known as the Swarthmore CO-OP. Located in Swarthmore, Pa., it was incorporated in 1937.


Organized in three series: 1. History; 2. Photographs; 3. Clippings

Separated Materials

Co-op Anniversary bash poster, mounted print of sketch of old building, and 2 enlarged historic photos (Ridley house and ineriror view) stored in RG 7/oversize/chart case.

Physical Facet

1 box

Processing Information

A carton of clippings, photographs, and related material delivered to Swarthmore Historical Society. Sorted into series and clippings photocopied on acid-free paper by FHL staff. The Co-op retains its own records.

Swarthmore Co-op Collection
Susanna Morikawa
January 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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