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Archives + Special Collections

ca. 1899 postcard showing the Swarthmore Train Station and College Campus

ca. 1899 postcard showing the Swarthmore Train Station and College Campus

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

Use this form to learn about Covid-19 safety protocols, potential summer construction disruption, and to schedule an appointment.

Special Collections are located inside McCabe Library on the Swarthmore College Campus

McCabe Library


Photo credit: Laurence Kesterson

Collection Areas:

The College Archives include records of the College as a corporation, its Board of Managers, key administrative offices and academic units, materials related to student life on campus, personal papers of faculty, staff and alumni, college publications, and other materials related to the history of Swarthmore College.

The 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. the Friends Historical Library also maintains the collections of the Swarthmore Historical Society.

Established over 90 years ago, the Swarthmore College Peace Collection is one of the most extensive research libraries and archive collections in the country that focuses solely on movements for peace. The Peace Collection gathers, preserves, and makes accessible material that documents non-governmental efforts for nonviolent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolutions between peoples and nations.

The Rare Book Room on the 3rd Level of McCabe Library is home to a vibrant and continually growing collection of contemporary artists' books. Additionally, with over 6,000 items dating back to 1540, Rare Books also includes the W.H. Auden Collection, the Bathe Collection, the Wells Collections on James Thomson and William Wordsworth, and the David H. Keller Collection of science fiction and fantasy pulp magazines.