Skip to main content

Friends Historical Library

Department Overview

Friends Historical Library is open for vaccinated researchers, by appointment only, effective September 7, 2021!*

Appointment slots are available Monday to Friday, from 9:00a - 12n and 1p-4p, from September 7, 2021 to May 20, 2022. Researchers may request multiple appointment slots. Requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Researchers must be vaccinated, remain masked while indoors, and follow other COVID-19 safety protocols.

Ready to schedule your visit?

  1. Please submit an Appointment Request form.
  2. You must also complete the College's COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Form for permission to access campus.

*We are subject to college-level visitor policies, which may change as the pandemic, and science about the pandemic, evolve. Please understand that we may be forced to reschedule or cancel your appointment.

Friends Historical Library was established in 1871 to collect, preserve, and make available archival, manuscript, printed, and visual records concerning the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from their origins in the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Friends Historical Library is one of the outstanding research facilities for the study of Quaker history

Besides the obvious focus on Quaker history, the holdings are a significant research collection for the regional and local history of the middle-Atlantic region of the United States and the history of American social reform. Quakers played prominent roles in almost every major reform movement in American history, including abolition, African-American history, Indian rights, women's rights, prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally ill, and temperance. The collections also reflect the significant role Friends played in the development of science, technology, education, and business in Britain and America.  

The Library also maintains the Swarthmore College Archives and the collections of the Swarthmore Historical Society.