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Swarthmore Historical Society General Reference Files

Identifier: SFHL-RG7-004

Scope and Contents

This collection combines related reference resources of Friends Historical Library and Swarthmore Historical Society and is administered by Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. It includes information on Borough government, business, organizations, schools, buildings and structures, writings and miscellaneous topics. Of particular interest are the field forms for the Historic Resources Survey published in 2001 by the Delaware County Planning Department; these file are updated when additional information is provided.


  • Creation: 1893 - 2016


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Biographical / Historical

The Borough of Swarthmore, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was incorporated in 1893. Previous to establishment of the Borough, the area was part of Springfield Township. It was settled by Quaker farmers and is the traditional birthplace of Benjamin West, early American artist. The community, first known as Westdale, developed after Swarthmore College was founded by Hicksite Quakers in 1864 and the rail line was improved in the 1880s. The Swarthmore Historical Society (SHS) was established in 1988 to document, preserve and protect the historic resources of Swarthmore Borough, Delaware Co., Pa. One of its mission is to serve as the archives for the Borough of Swarthmore and as an information resource on the history of the community.


8 Linear Feet (Stored in file cabinet, FHL Workroom)




The Swarthmore Historical Society was established in 1988 to document, preserve, and protect the historic resources of the Borough of Swarthmore, Pa. Its archives were deposited in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. The collection contains general reference files concerning the history, organizations, and activities of the Borough, combining materials collected by Swarthmore Historical Society together with reference files and photographs compiled by Friends Historical Library. Of particular interest are the field surveys on historic structures compiled for the Swarthmore Historic Resources Survey.


The reference files are organized in series: 1: Borough Government 2: Businesses 3: Organizations 4: Schools 5: Buildings and Structures, by street 6: Writings and reminiscences 7: Miscellaneoous subject files 8: Oral histories

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Libraries' online catalog:

Related Materials

Historic Resources Survey: Swarthmore Borough, Delaware County, 2001.

Susanna K. Morikawa and Patricia C. O'Donnell, Images of Amercia: Swarthmore Borough, 2009.

Other collections in the Swarthmore Historical Society's holdings are identified with Record Group RG7. See especially George Hoadley Picture Collection, Alice P. Willetts Swarthmore Papers, Swarthmore School Collection.

See also related collections in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College (RG5), including Paul M. Pearson Papers, Bassett-Little Family Papers, and Swarthmore Country Week Picnic Association (SC 177); and Swarthmore College Archives (RG6) especially Buildings and Grounds reference files.

Separated Materials

For photographs of Swarthmore, see the FHL Picture Collection PA 64. To search the collection of local maps stored in Chart Case, see Swarthmore (Pa)

Processing Information

In 1996 the collection of the Swarthmore Historical Society was deposited in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. The material was sorted, described and combined with the reference files on Swarthmore Borough (Pamphlet Group 6) in the collection of Friends Historical Library. Because the histories of the Borough and Swarthmore College are intertwined, the two reference collections were consolidated to make the local history resources more easily accessible. In 2004, the reference collection was assigned a new catalog number RG 7/004 as part of the Swarthmore Historical Society Archives. Records of organizations and family papers are cataloged separately and assigned their own Record Group call numbers. The reference files contain both secondary and original papers which are not part of a larger collection.

The reference files are stored in the Workroom of Friends Historical Library, file cabinets.

Swarthmore Historical Society General Reference Files
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