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Byberry Monthly Meeting records


Held at: Byberry Library [Contact Us]3001 Byberry Road, Philadelphia, PA, 19154

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Byberry Library. 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

In 1675, four Walton brothers settled in what is now Byberry, in the northeastern section of Philadelphia. They were British members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and more Friends settled the area in the years that followed. In 1683, Friends first met for religious purposes in the home of John Hart. The current property was first used as Friends cemetery in the 1690's. A few years later the meeting house was built on the property. The current Byberry Meeting House was built in 1808, and in 1810 Byberry Monthly Meeting was formally established by Abington Quarterly Meeting out of Horsham Monthly Meeting. The meeting grew rapidly, and by 1826 it had 600 members. During the 1827 controversy in the Society of Friends over the teachings of Elias Hicks, Bybyerry Monthly Meeting remained with Hicksite Friends. The meeting reunited with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends (Orthodox) in 1955, and is currently active.

A schoolhouse was built near the meeting house about 1720, and the Byberry Friends School was held there until 1772. The school charged a fee until 1802, when it became free. The present building was erected in 1823, and school was held there until Byberry Friends School closed in 1919. From 1919 to 1968 the schoolhouse was used by the Byberry Monthly Meeting First Day School, and was enlarged to twice its original size. In 1968, the meeting started Byberry Friends Nursery School and Kindergarten, which remained in operation until 1992.

Bibliography: "300th Anniversary of Byberry Friends Meeting," 1983. Finding aid for Records of Byberry Monthly Meeting, RG2/Ph/B9, Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.

The records of Byberry Monthly Meeting include records for the Meeting, Byberry Friends School, Byberry Meeting First Day School, and Byberry Nursery School and Kindergarten. All of these schools were operated by the Meeting. The official repository for Byberry Monthly Meeting records is the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College. However, some Meeting records remain at Byberry Library. The majority of these remaining records consist of more recent documentation of the Monthly Meeting, Nursery School, and Kindergarten, circa 1970-2000. These include meeting minutes, financial records, and photograph albums and scrapbooks of Meeting events and activities. Of the remaining collection, most materials pertaining to the Meeting prior to 1970 are photocopies, transcriptions, or facsimiles. There are, however, several original volumes of material from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Records of Byberry Monthly Meeting include vital records, financial records, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, photograph albums, blueprints, and two electrotype printer plates (circa 1895). Vital records include a marriage register, 1880-1997, and a birth and death register, circa 1834-1948. Of special interest are several packets of loose letters to the meeting, including certificates of removal and marriage petitions, dating from about 1790-1885.

The records relating to the First Day School include scrapbooks, circa 1905-1980 and 1979 May 23; First Day School Library records, circa 1940-1965; financial records, circa 1940-1965; correspondence; First Day School Association meeting minutes, 1873-1896 (3 volumes); and photographs and photograph albums, 1926-1998.

Byberry Nursery School and Kindergarten records include administrative records, circa 1975-1990; scrapbook 1972-1997; photographs, 1968-1993; committee meeting minutes 1968-1983; newspaper clippings, 1968-1992; and financial records, 1991.

Byberry Friends School records include student attendance and grade records, 1875-1918; Byberry Friends School Committee record book, 1895-1902; scrapbook, circa 1894-1996; and Treasurer’s account book, 1902-1952.

Byberry Library
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Byberry Library for information about accessing collection.

Insurance documents for the nursery school (in brown box under table in Byberry Library) may be restricted due to medical information.

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