Swarthmore College Archives: Libraries & Information Services
Please click on the name of the Department to see detailed finding aid, if available:
Friends Historical Library was established in 1871, separate from the general College library, to collect books and related materials concerning the Society of Friends and its concerns and activities. Originally known as the Anson Lapham Repository, it was installed in a fire-proof alcove of Parrish Hall and survived the 1881 fire largely intact. Its operations and acquisitions were supported by bequests and other donations from "Friends of the College." Today, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College is the largest Quaker library in the world, collecting publications, family and organizational records, and visual materials, as well as serving as a depository for Quaker meeting records.
Call number: RG4/027
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
In 1930, Jane Addams of Hull House in Chicago donated her library and archives to Friends Historical Library. A part-time Curator, Ellen Starr Brinton, was appointed in 1935. Renamed the Swarthmore College Peace Collection in 1946, its mission continues "to gather, preserve, and make accessible material that documents non-governmental efforts for non-violent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution between peoples and nations." An inventory of its records is available in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and on-line through its website.
A "Reading Room" was set aside in Parrish Hall as early as 1869 or 1870. In 1871, a Librarian was appointed and the catalogue included over 1300 volumes. The fire of 1881 destroyed almost the entire collection, but these books were quickly replaced. A separate library building was constructed in 1906 with funds from Andrew Carnegie, Clement M. Biddle, and other donors; the Thomas B. and Jeanette E. L. McCabe Library was built in 1967. McCabe Library maintains its own archives; contact the College Librarian for further details.