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Franklin Literary Association records


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Initially called the Haverford Literary Association, the Franklin Literary Association was founded in 1835 for the improvement of "Elocution and Composition...for the preservation of good order" and was one of Haverford College's earliest student associations. In the years between 1835 and 1840, the Franklin Literary Society flourished and was a favorite with the younger members of the Haverford student body who were too young for the Haverford Literary Society and the Penn Literary Society. The Franklin Literary Society had weekly meetings in the evening, in one of the classrooms of Founders, with essays, declamations, and debates, sometimes readings from favorite authors, among them, Charles Dickens.

The first five pages of the volume outline the Constitution of the Franklin Literary Association, including the duties of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, and establishing guidelines for constitutional amendments and quorum. The four pages immediately following the Constitution contain the signatures of the members of the Association from 1835 to 1837. Although the Association was initially referred to as the Haverford Literary Association, the name was changed to the Franklin Literary Association during the first meeting. The rest of the writings in the volume document the minutes of the Franklin Literary Association, recording speeches, debates, and general discourse of the members about the organization. Such discourse included membership fees, which were set at 12 1/2 cents, and miscellaneous fines. These fines charged 6 1/4 cents for missing a meeting without an excuse, for utilizing the Association's materials for purposes not affiliated with the organization, and for failing to adequately prepare for their dictation turn.

Although the members of the Franklin Literary Association were members of Haverford's underclassmen, they incorporated individuals from outside this group for various reasons. Included in this number, John Gummere, a professor at Haverford at the time, was elected and appointed the Patron of the society and six upperclassmen were permitted to view the contents of the association's paper without being members.

The association took great interest in ensuring its meetings engaged its members. In the minutes, time changes and content changes were discussed based on the interests of the group at the time. For example, when debates were thought to be dull, the Association suspended them temporarily. Furthermore, when it became apparent that the agreed meeting time was untenable for some of its members, the society moved its meeting hours.

Materials are arranged chronologically by date.

The Franklin Literary Association records were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1943 by Margaret Cope.

Processed by David Canada; completed January, 2017.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
David Canada
Finding Aid Date
January, 2017
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Constitution and meeting minutes, 1835-1837.
Volume 1

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