Friends Historical Library

Friends Historical Library Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College was established in 1871 to collect, preserve and ma Appointments can be requested via our website.

Library and archival repository for books, archives, manuscripts, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs and other images of the Religious Society of Friends, including the archival records of New York Yearly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Baltimore Yearly Meeting (shared with Haverford), Friends General Conference, Friends World Committee, and other Quaker yearly meetings and organizations

. Manuscripts include the papers of Elias Hicks, of Lucretia Mott and other Quaker related individuals and families. Anyone is welcome to visit, but we are open by appointment only.

Big Quaker studies conference coming up in summer 2024!
09/21/2023

Big Quaker studies conference coming up in summer 2024!

Call for papers, program and registration information, and guidelines for presenters for the Conference of Quaker Historians and Archivists.

It's a great time to stock up on Quaker studies titles!
08/25/2023

It's a great time to stock up on Quaker studies titles!

Two-week sale! Save 40-60% on titles in Quaker Studies w/ discount code NHQ23. Sale ends 9/3: https://bit.ly/3KOQrRC

We're thrilled to announce that the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition was awarded $124,000 by N...
08/23/2023

We're thrilled to announce that the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition was awarded $124,000 by National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize 20,000 images from Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College and Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition says it will digitize 20,000 archival pages related to Quaker-operated Indian boarding schools.

FHL staff went on a field trip to The Morgan Library & Museum in NYC this week! We loaned a couple of objects and were e...
08/11/2023

FHL staff went on a field trip to The Morgan Library & Museum in NYC this week! We loaned a couple of objects and were eager to see them on display in the exhibit "Nora Thompson Dean: Lenape Teacher and Herbalist." If you don't want to brave Amtrak, you can explore a lot of exhibition materials online here: https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/nora-thompson-dean

Today is the 175th anniversary of Seneca Falls, the first women's rights convention! Did you know that we digitized the ...
07/19/2023

Today is the 175th anniversary of Seneca Falls, the first women's rights convention! Did you know that we digitized the papers of Seneca Falls organizer Lucretia Mott? Explore them here:

Title Mott Manuscripts Description Lucretia Mott was a prominent Philadelphia Quaker minister and a leader in reform movements, especially antislavery, education, peace, and women's rights. The bulk of the collection consists of material which was assembled at the time of the publication of Life and...

Congratulations to former Swarthmore College Peace Collection Curator Dr. Wendy Chmielewski!
06/27/2023

Congratulations to former Swarthmore College Peace Collection Curator Dr. Wendy Chmielewski!

Peace and Conflict Studies Dr. Wendy Chmielewski Awarded 2023 Anna K. Nelson Award for Archival Excellence June 26, 2023 Lee Smithey We would like to congratulate our colleague, the former Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Dr. Wendy Chmielewski, for receiving the 2023 Anna K. Nelso...

  in 1776, Quaker minister John Hunt recorded in his journal that soldiers were lodged at the meeting house he attended ...
12/19/2022

in 1776, Quaker minister John Hunt recorded in his journal that soldiers were lodged at the meeting house he attended near Moorestown, New Jersey. He wrote:

“Went to our meeting. The soldiers had taken our meeting house to lodge in, and it was so thronged that we could not hold our meeting there, and so we had a little meeting at Joshua Bispham's, which I believe was of service to some, though the other room was full of soldiers most of the time. Rebekah Roberts spoke very prettily.”

To learn more about the world of John Hunt, explore our featured digital history project, "Friendly Networks": https://ds-pages.swarthmore.edu/friendly-networks/

  250 years ago, John Hunt learned of the deaths of his cousins John Woolman and William Hunt, well-known ministers who ...
12/06/2022

250 years ago, John Hunt learned of the deaths of his cousins John Woolman and William Hunt, well-known ministers who had been traveling in England. Hunt wrote in his journal:

"6th Twelfth month 1772. This day I heard of the sorrowful news of the death of my dear cousin William Hunt and cousin John Woolman both died with the small pox in Old England. A letter from William's companion Thomas Thornburg informed us that he quietly departed this life the 9th of the Ninth Month with these expressions: ‘Truth reigns over all,’ and was buried the 11th of the same and that cousin John departed about a month afterwards and that he appeared in a sweet composed and resigned frame of mind saying that he did not know he had a will in it either to die or live."

To learn more about the world of John Hunt, explore our featured digital history project, "Friendly Networks": https://ds-pages.swarthmore.edu/friendly-networks/

11/14/2022

in 1822, Quaker Daniel Bell Hanbury experienced "the worst day we have yet had" on a journey to the Congress of Verona from Vienna, where he had met with the Emperor of Russia, Prince Metternich, the Duke of Wellington, and other important international figures about abolition, prison reform, peace.

Lowlights of the day's journey included, a dark and rainy ride that "was truly dismal," "a very miserable inn...only one very small room with a very disagreeable smell in it," and hours-long waits for "horses which when they came it was miserable to ride behind as they seemed as if they could hardly drag us." (https://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/resources/5058haag)

Thanks to the Swarthmore Phoenix for the lovely write-up!
10/27/2022

Thanks to the Swarthmore Phoenix for the lovely write-up!

In McCabe Library, to the left of the main entrance, lies one of the largest collections of Quaker history in the world. This collection is known as the Friends Historical Library (FHL), and it has just celebrated 151 years of serving as a research hub for Swarthmore students and visiting academics....

10/24/2022

Anyone is welcome to visit, but we are open by appointment only. Appointments can be requested via our website.

10/24/2022
This is the face of accomplishment! Our longtime volunteer Jim Hazard, has just finished transcribing nearly 50,000 entr...
09/30/2022

This is the face of accomplishment! Our longtime volunteer Jim Hazard, has just finished transcribing nearly 50,000 entries of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting membership cards. His hard work will make life easy for researchers and genealogists of the future!

More excellent Quaker history events to look forward to this fall!
09/21/2022

More excellent Quaker history events to look forward to this fall!

Please join CQHA for three virtual sessions foregrounding expanded approaches to the study of Quaker history and culture: October 12, 19, 26

Call for chapter proposals for: Volume 5 Global Quakerism in a Postcolonial Context: 1938 – 2018
09/09/2022

Call for chapter proposals for: Volume 5 Global Quakerism in a Postcolonial Context: 1938 – 2018

Quaker food historian William Woys Weaver researched here at FHL for his forthcoming book, "Grace Parr's Anglo–American ...
08/12/2022

Quaker food historian William Woys Weaver researched here at FHL for his forthcoming book, "Grace Parr's Anglo–American Cookery." To ensure it gets published on schedule, pre-order your copy via this Kickstarter link before Sept 1. Bon appétit! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/grace-parr/grace-parrs-angloamerican-cookery

An 18th century cookbook by a fascinating Philadelphia heiress, with historical commentary and recipes adapted for the modern cook.

In 1916, there was a bill before the House of Representatives trying to stop the use of Quakers in advertising. (Quaker ...
08/11/2022

In 1916, there was a bill before the House of Representatives trying to stop the use of Quakers in advertising. (Quaker Oats, I see you!) It looks like it came out of the Five Years Meeting (pre-FUM) but the bill says some Hicksites supported it, too. Legal eagles, you can read the bill online! https://books.google.com/books?id=qK4nAAAAMAAJ

Friends Historical Library was pleased to serve in project management and to participate in this award-winning project!
07/06/2022

Friends Historical Library was pleased to serve in project management and to participate in this award-winning project!

HSP is excited to announce that the project “In Her Own Right,” is the 2022 recipient of the Society of American Archivists' Coker C.F.W. Award!

The C.F.W. Coker Award is presented yearly in recognition of institutions, individuals, or groups of the two, for their finding aids, finding aid systems, projects that involve innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce effective finding aids.

Completed in 2021, “In Her Own Right,” involved twenty-four partner institutions and worked to digitize and describe manuscript and print materials from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries leading up to the ratification of national women’s suffrage in 1920. The project was created with the goal of supporting discovery in mind, while also working to accommodate individual repositories systems and local practices.

Learn more about “In Her Own Right” here: http://ow.ly/ITFj50JMVNn.

Today marks 203 years since the earthly passing of the Public Universal Friend. Born to a Quaker family in 1752, after a...
07/01/2022

Today marks 203 years since the earthly passing of the Public Universal Friend. Born to a Quaker family in 1752, after a severe illness, the Friend was reborn as a genderless minister, the founder of the Society of Universal Friends. Last fall we hosted Quaker performance artist Eppchez! for a screening of eir piece "Publik/Private" about the Friend and Le Monje Alférez, and created a small pop-up exhibit. (see photo) http://www.almasengine.com/publik-private

Have you ever used the Quaker meeting records on the Philadelphia Congregations Early Records portal (https://philadelph...
06/16/2022

Have you ever used the Quaker meeting records on the Philadelphia Congregations Early Records portal (https://philadelphiacongregations.org/records/)? If so, now's your chance to present about your research at this forthcoming symposium!

Check out this rare colored portrait of Benjamin Lay! Ironically,   Lay famously wore undyed clothing 🤓This copy, freshl...
06/10/2022

Check out this rare colored portrait of Benjamin Lay! Ironically, Lay famously wore undyed clothing 🤓

This copy, freshly cataloged, came from the Fisher-Brinton book collection.

06/08/2022

Have you ever "become crazy by reading" a particular book? Some 19th century Vermonters thought this was a potential hazard of Barclay's "Apology"! 📕🤪

From "MEMOIR OF THE LIFE AND RELIGIOUS LABOURS OF HENRY HULL," 1858, pp. 73-75: "I then proceeded up the Connecticut river toward Coos, in Vermont, and on the way lodged at a tavern, where was a pious young man, a traveller, who entered into conversation with me on religious subjects, and expressed his surprise on finding that I held views respecting war, and on some points of doctrine, which did not accord with his own. I told him I admired that such sentiments should be new to him, as he had informed me he was educated at college, and I understood Barclay's Apology was in the Library; — querying of him, “Didst thou never read it?” He replied, “No. But, there is a man near where I live, who has become crazy by reading it, so that our priest has advised us not to have any discourse with him.” When we were about to part, I inquired of him where this crazy man lived, and he told me we should pass through the town on our way to Coos. I took his name, and on the day following called at the door of his house, and inquired, before getting off our horses, if he were at home. A woman who came to the door said he was not; on which the Friend who was with me proposed going on; but I said, I had rather stop and go into the house, suspecting the woman did not speak the truth. When we went in and sat down, the man came from another room and sat down by us, appearing very serious. I informed him that we were strangers in the country, and wished to know if he could inform us, where any of the people called Quakers lived. He replied, that he had heard there were some of that people living twenty or thirty miles to the northward, but had no knowledge of them, except from report— and then asked, “Are you of that people?" I answered that we were; on which he arose and took down Barclay's Apology from a shelf, saying, “Here is a book I have read, and my mind has become satisfied with the doctrines of the Quakers; but you are the first of the people I ever saw.” The aforesaid woman, who was his wife, now appeared extremely agitated, her countenance bespeaking great dissatisfaction with our company, and upon her husband asking us to have our horses put up, and take some victuals ourselves, she hastily replied, “there is none for them.” He very mildly said that they had enough in the house, but we excused ourselves, not being willing to increase the poor man's difficulties. He seemed very cheerful, asking us many questions, and making remarks as he turned to different parts of the Apology, from which we found he was fully convinced of Friends' principles. He had been a colonel in the militia, but had resigned his office, and was grieved that his sons, in opposition to his advice, continued to muster. We saw nothing like his being crazy, and found that the priest's advice arose from his fears that others might be led away from a dependence on himself; and such was his influence, that he had persuaded the people to think this poor man was in a state of mental aberration, not fit to be discoursed with. After spending about an hour with him much to my satisfaction, we proceeded and lodged at the house of Jared Bassett, attending their meeting next day. Joshua Evans and Joseph Hoag were also there; the former on his return from a religious visit to Nova Scotia—he was a meek and humble-minded servant of Christ."

05/24/2022

Congratulations to the Swarthmore College class of 2022! Commencement speaker Anatole Shukla, one of our former student workers, spoke movingly about the power of archives:

"For me, reading [Mary Ann Karsner's] letters was like watching the Magnolia trees by the Ben West House blossom into a fierce shock of magenta every spring. They revealed the inner life of a woman who was bold and adventurous and loving and deliciously witty, during a time about which there persists an egregious narrative that women weren't allowed to be any of those things."

To learn more about Mary Ann, see the finding aid: https://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/resources/sfhl-rg5-322

To see the rest of Anatole's speech, watch the video: https://youtubetranscript.com/?v=38zXhcXCKwg&t=1597

05/09/2022

Friends Historical Library is open summer 2022 by appointment only. Visit our website to request a booking.

What did George Orwell think of Quakers? In "The Road to Wigan Pier" he wrote, "there is the horrible--the really disqui...
05/05/2022

What did George Orwell think of Quakers? In "The Road to Wigan Pier" he wrote, "there is the horrible--the really disquieting--prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

It is true that the FHL Curator does have a special fondness for juice boxes...

Yesterday was "Take Your Child to Work" day but our Digital Archivist Emily chose today to be "Take Your Dogter to Work"...
04/29/2022

Yesterday was "Take Your Child to Work" day but our Digital Archivist Emily chose today to be "Take Your Dogter to Work" day. Agnes fit right in.

What did 18th century Quaker Joshua Evans have against the French language?! 🇫🇷👩‍🏫 From his diary, dated 1796-01-11: "I ...
04/29/2022

What did 18th century Quaker Joshua Evans have against the French language?! 🇫🇷👩‍🏫 From his diary, dated 1796-01-11: "I spread before the meeting a fear that for some time had attended my mind on account of a school being set up in Haddonfield to encourage the youth and others to learn the French language. Here I thought I saw a danger and snare laid for the feet of the dear youth, and that it opened a door for popularity and would be like to lead in to unprofitably mixing with persons of loose conduct, and bad principles." Read more here: https://digitalcollections.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/collections/joshua-evans-papers

  to our 150th Birthday Party last month. The cake was delicious 🍰😋
04/28/2022

to our 150th Birthday Party last month. The cake was delicious 🍰😋

This letter written   in 1937 discusses Aldous Huxley's visit to Pendle Hill. You're probably familiar with Huxley's boo...
04/26/2022

This letter written in 1937 discusses Aldous Huxley's visit to Pendle Hill. You're probably familiar with Huxley's book "Brave New World," one of the most frequently banned books of all time. But did you know he also wrote the forward to a Pendle Hill pamphlet - "The Indian Testimony" by Amiya Chakravarty?

If you've ever "experienced drowsiness" in meeting, you're not alone! 18th century Quaker Joshua Evans thought the cause...
04/25/2022

If you've ever "experienced drowsiness" in meeting, you're not alone! 18th century Quaker Joshua Evans thought the cause of this perennial problem might be "living too high and luxuriously, and eating too freely." Of course, this is from a man who abstained from all intoxicating liquors, tea, coffee, sugar and molasses!

"The quarterly meeting business now began... all the answers to the queries mentioned that of a drowsy spirit in meetings. I told them I believed it was in part owing to living too high and luxuriously, and eating too freely, and using spirituous liquors such as cider and wine in too plentiful a manner, and smoking to***co. These things drain off the juices and dries up the sweet fluids of the body, and so dulls the spirits and unfits it for divine service. This, was my belief, was one cause amongst a many others that caused so much drowsiness in meetings." (7th of the 12 month 1795)

Happy Earth Day! 🌍🌎🌏 If you're in the Swarthmore area, stop into Swarthmore College Libraries - McCabe to see the "Criti...
04/22/2022

Happy Earth Day! 🌍🌎🌏 If you're in the Swarthmore area, stop into Swarthmore College Libraries - McCabe to see the "Critical Perspectives on Earth Day" mini exhibit curated by students Alana Ballagh and Jorge Lopez-Nava. It features several items from our collection, including copies of the "BeFriending Creation" newsletters, a William Howitt letter, and a document from our Quaker EarthCare Witness materials.

If you can't make the trip to see the exhibit, check out our Quakers & the Planet subject guide: https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/quakers-and-planet

If you've never been to the Friends Historical Library before and are curious what it's like to research with us...check...
04/18/2022

If you've never been to the Friends Historical Library before and are curious what it's like to research with us...check out this video!

A visit to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, marking the 125th anniversary of the Pro Concordia Labor flag, the star of this short piece. Filmed and edited…

We're so excited for the Friends Historical Association's upcoming spring outing...we hope to see you there!
04/18/2022

We're so excited for the Friends Historical Association's upcoming spring outing...we hope to see you there!

Join us for the Friends Historical Association's Annual Spring Event on Sunday, May 1: A walking tour of Arden, Delaware.

We're excited to see Lucretia Mott getting some public attention! She would be happy to be side-by-side with Frances Ell...
04/08/2022

We're excited to see Lucretia Mott getting some public attention! She would be happy to be side-by-side with Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. At an 1866 Women's Rights Convention, the 73-year-old Lucretia Mott said, "I rejoice that as we who have long labored in the cause become less able to do the work, the younger ones, [including Frances Ellen Watkins Harper], come forward to fill our places."

https://whyy.org/articles/philadelphia-police-headquarters-sculpture-black-history-abolitionists/

The design for the sculpture commissioned for the new Philly police headquarters was altered following the 2020 protest over the killing of George Floyd.

Happy New Year! 🍾 to anyone still following the Julian calendar, that is. If you've researched in Quaker records before ...
03/25/2022

Happy New Year! 🍾 to anyone still following the Julian calendar, that is. If you've researched in Quaker records before 1752, you know what I'm talking about 😉 https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/quaker-calendar

Calendar Changes Up to and including 1751 the Julian calendar was used in England, Wales, Ireland, and the British colonies overseas. In these places the year officially began on 25 March. As an example, 24 March 1750 was followed the next day by 25 March 1751. In 1752 the law changed: the year 1751...

Happy International Women's Day! It's a great day to peruse our zine on 19th & 20th century women's activism:   https://...
03/08/2022

Happy International Women's Day! It's a great day to peruse our zine on 19th & 20th century women's activism: https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/zine-19th-and-20th-century-womens-activism

This zine was created in summer 2020 to celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the culmination of two years work on the In Her Own Right project. It highlights 19th and 20th century woman activists, particularly Quaker women, diverse women who worked closely with Quak...

Address

500 College Avenue
Philadelphia, PA
19143

Opening Hours

Monday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 9am - 12pm

Telephone

+1 610-328-8496

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