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Friends Historical Library album collection

 Collection — othertype: MSS-002
Identifier: SFHL-MSS-002

Scope and Contents

The use of the term "Albums" to describe this collection refers to the fact that the material contained usually is not original, but rather copied or collected, often for its spiritual or moral message. “Album” is used as the broad term to include volumes also described as commonplace, piece, "sentiment," autograph, or copy books.

A definition of "commonplace book" describes it as "a book of literary passages, cogent questions, occasional thoughts, or other memorabilia." The terms "piece book" and "copy book" also refer to this genre which was particularly popular in the Quaker community in the 19th century. Many of the albums contain copies of speeches and letters of noted Friends in addition to contemporary poetry and other quotations.

Closely related formats, "scrapbook" and "clipping book," are distinguished from the albums because they contain material which was originally printed or written elsewhere and then attached to the pages of the book. "Lesson books" and "exercise books" include material that was copied in the classroom or prepared as a school assignment, and "autograph books" contain signatures and often "sentiments" of friends and acquaintances.


  • Creation: 1656 - 1957


13 Linear Feet




This collection consists of scrapbooks, commonplace books, class notebooks, autograph albums, piecebooks, and other albums that were received by the Friends Historical Library as individual volumes and not as part of a larger collection.,

Friends Historical Library album collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.

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