The College community recently welcomed to campus Jordan Landes, the new curator of Friends Historical Library. Landes comes to Swarthmore from the Senate House Library, the central repository of the University of London, where she served as a research librarian for history.
Landes, a graduate of Haverford College, is the author of London Quakers in the Trans-Atlantic World: The Creation of an Early Modern Community (Palgrave, 2015), which arose from her doctoral thesis on the role of London in the creation of the North Atlantic Quaker community in the 17th and 18th centuries.
“I find Quaker history interesting, and so I kept coming back to it as an undergraduate, for my master’s thesis, and for my Ph.D. dissertation,” says Landes. “Part of it is the detailed records they kept, and part of it is that Quakers managed to get involved in every movement, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in massive ways.”
Landes has also been active in building community through the context of library scholarship. As a co-organizer of the University of London’s History Day, she helped bring several hundred historians, undergraduates, and postgraduate researchers together with information professionals from more than 60 libraries, archives, and research organizations for an annual one-day history fair.
Her library experience, however, is not simply limited to historical collections; Landes has also worked in libraries whose foci are literature and theater (Shakespeare’s Globe), contemporary dance (the Laban Library), and computer science (University of Maryland, College Park). This background has given Landes an appreciation for the broad scope of the liberal arts education, and she hopes the Friends Historical Library can support the many different facets of that experience.
“Widening the audience is always the goal of special collections,” she says. “You want to see how people use them and what they come up with, whether it’s a linguist looking at Quaker language or a physics student looking at Quaker activity in science.”