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Byberry Library Company 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

"Byberry Library was established on December 29, 1794, and incorporated in 1799. It opened with 63 volumes in the house of a member. In 1798, the library was moved to the Byberry Friends School House. When the School House was rebuilt in 1823, the books were temporarily removed, but replaced in the school the following year. Although the stockholders were not exclusively Friends, the Library was generally under Quaker management." (Friends Historical Library)

Among the principal promoters of the Library Company were Ezra Townsend, John Comly, Benjamin and Asa Walmsley, and James Walton. John Comly was a prominent Quaker, a teacher who ran the Byberry Friends School for a period of time, a farmer, and a proponent of the teachings of Elias Hicks.

Byberry Library Company was dissolved in 2010 when the last living member passed away, and its collection was turned over to Byberry Monthly Meeting.

Bibliography: Finding aid for Byberry Library Company Records, RG4/013, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

This collection includes scattered records from the Byberry Library Company including acquisition/donation records, circa 1960; inventories of books; minutes, 1948-1968; circulation records, 1951-2002; catalogues of books, 1870- circa 2000; circulation records by person, 1876-1945; Constitution of the Byberry Library Company; and share certificates in the Byberry Library Company. The Library’s collection of approximately 5,000 books dating from the early 18th century to the present (including books owned by John Comly), as well as catalog cards, are stored in the space but not considered part of this archival collection. (2 boxes of the Company’s records were deposited at the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College in 1991.)

The highlight of this collection is a volume of 1876-1945 with circulation records of subscribers.

After Byberry Library Company was dissolved, its collection and records were turned over to Byberry Monthly Meeting.

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.
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