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Visit FHL

The entrance to Friends Historical Library

Swarthmore College Special Collections, including the Friends Historical Library, the Peace Collection, and the College Archives, are open to approved researchers.

Visiting researchers should use this form to learn about Covid-19 safety protocols and to schedule an appointment. Members of the Swarthmore community may book an appointment directly here.

General access information (spring 2022)

The Friends Historical Library is available to anyone who is vaccinated. Visitors do not need to be affiliated with Swarthmore or with any institution at all. However, appointments are necessary. Submit the Appointment Request form at least two weeks in advance to request an appointment.

All visitors to campus must be vaccinated, and will be required to complete the Swarthmore College COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Form (in addition to this form) at least one week prior to coming to campus. That form is available at

Visitors must remain masked while indoors, observe social distancing measures, and follow other applicable COVID safety protocols. International travelers must follow CDC travel guidance (

All Special Collections researchers will be served through the Friends Historical Library reading room, located on the first floor of McCabe Library. Up to four researchers and two staff attendants may occupy the space at any given time.

How to Find the Library

Friends Historical Library is located on the main floor of McCabe Library on the Swarthmore College campus on Route 320 in the Borough of Swarthmore. The McCabe Library Building is located at the center of the campus. It is a large, stone building with long, narrow windows and a mansard roof.

Use the Directions to Swarthmore College to find the campus and for information about food and lodging. 

If you have limited mobility and require accessible parking, turn into campus on College Avenue. There are five wheelchair-accessible parking spots next to the Library. Otherwise park by the Visitor's Center at Benjamin West House, just south of College Avenue on Rte 320. The row of spaces with dark red lines nearest to campus is reserved for visitors. You will see McCabe Library on the hill above you. When you walk in the front door, turn left to find Friends Historical Library. Interactive campus map.

Parts of the campus are currently under construction, and finding parking during mid morning and mid afternoon hours may be difficult. Please consider the public parking at the South Entrance as an alternative.

Planning for your visit

The climate control in the McCabe Library Building can be extreme, especially in the summer time. Researchers are advised to dress in layers, including a warm sweater or jacket.

There are several on-campus dining options open for visitors; please check the website for updates (

We do allow photography of most materials, so you may wish to bring a digital camera or cell phone with a camera.

It may be helpful to review our Research Room Rules [pdf] before you arrive.


Please see our Copies and Permissions page.

Overnight Accommodations

Need to stay overnight near Swarthmore? Located just a few minutes from the College, Pendle Hill is a Quaker study, retreat, and conference center welcoming all for Spirit-led learning and community. Their bed & breakfast service is perfect for short stays. Some of our visitors working on larger research projects choose Pendle Hill for longer-term sabbatical or personal retreat accommodations. Visit Pendle Hill website

Internet Access

SwatGuest wireless accounts for use while in the Library can be created for up to 7 days. FHL guests need only to provide a valid email address to send account notification to. A guest wireless account allows you to register your personal computing devices for use on the Swarthmore wireless network. SwatGuest wireless access is available in all academic and dorm buildings on campus, but does not allow access to campus printers or file servers. More information is available at


A gender-neutral, wheelchair accessible restroom is available on the first floor of McCabe library, in the far corner diagonal from the building entrance. Additional bathrooms are on every floor of the library (including an additional gender-neutral wheelchair accessible restroom on the 2nd Floor) and there is an elevator past the McCabe Circulation desk.

Funding to Research at FHL

Funding is available for research at the Friends Historical Library. Outside researchers (including independent scholars as well as graduate students and professors) are eligible for the Moore Research Fellowship. There is also a Moore fellowship for current Swarthmore students