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Friends Historical Library

Department Overview

Swarthmore College Library Special Collections, including the Friends Historical Library, the Peace Collection, and the College Archives, are open by appointment only.

Visitors to campus should use this form to schedule an 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 our focus on Quaker history, FHL is 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 additionally maintains the collections of the  Swarthmore Historical Society.