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Manuscripts and Genre Collections

Photo of Ann Abbot by E. Woodward in Quaker dress from Drueilla R. Thomas's album

Photo of Ann Abbot by E. Woodward from Drueilla R. Thomas's album.

Throughout the 20th century, Friends Historical Library maintained a number of genre and other artificial collections; most were single manuscripts like individual letters or account books, but some were larger manuscript collections, assembled over time to document prominent Quakers like Elias Hicks or Lucretia Mott.

Information about these materials is available online in finding aids; please click on the heading below to see the related inventory:

Account Books

Account books are ledgers in which commercial and personal financial accounts are recorded. Volumes that were given to Friends Historical Library as single accessions are stored in Account Books Collection, MSS 001. The inventory to this collection has been expanded to include all account books in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.


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, or copy books.


What we today commonly refer to as a Quaker discipline is a book compiling rules of behavior for Friends bearing on all matters of church government such as qualification, description and transfer of membership; duties of ministers; methods of filing appeals; and attitudes toward marriage. From its earliest days, London Yearly Meeting issued epistles which contained advices concerning behavior of members of the Society of Friends. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting first published a "Loving Exhortation to Friends," printed by William Bradford in 1689.


Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College has a large collection of Journals, the broad term which is also used to refer to diaries and daybooks. This inventory includes all the journals Friends Historical Library, including those catalogued individually in MSS 003, Journal Collection, as well as volumes which are part of a larger collections and journals available in the Library on microfilm. The journals are arranged alphabetically by creator. Anonymous journals are sorted by date.

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

The Friends Historical Library Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection and includes single and very small groups of manuscripts and documents, both originals and copies. The collection includes holdings relevant to antislavery, temperance, women's rights, penal reform, and other social concerns of Quakers in the United States and in England.

Charles F. Jenkins Autograph Collection

Collection consists of over 450 original letters, documents, and photographs collected by Charles Francis Jenkins (1865-1951) of personalities distinguished in American history, politics, international and cultural affairs, and in the Society of Friends in Britain and the US.