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Rosalie Peirsol collection on implementing recycling in Delaware County, Pa.


Held at: Delaware County Historical Society [Contact Us]408 Avenue of the States, Chester, Pennsylvania, 19013

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Delaware County Historical Society. 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

M. Rosalie Dryden Peirsol (1913-2005), a long-time resident of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, was a dedicated civic and environmental activist. She was responsible for having William Penn's dog, the Great Dane, named the state dog of Pennsylvania.

The daughter of Alexander M. and Helen Foust Dryden, Peirsol was born in Westmont, NJ, but spent the majority of her life in Swarthmore. She graduated from Chester High School and later attended the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising in Philadelphia. She wrote for The Swarthmorean and the Evening Bulletin until 1974. Her husband of 35 years, Henry Armstrong Peirsol, Jr., died in 1974.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Peirsol was one of the lead players responsible for compelling the local government to implement a county-wide recycling pilot program, soon after made permanent, in Delaware County. By the late 1970s, recycling programs existed in several local municipalities within Delaware County, but there was no unified program for the county as a whole. Serving as community liaison to the county, Peirsol chaired the organization known as RICE, or Recycling Into Cash and Energy, and was also the Delaware County League of Women Voters' environmental quality chair. She also served as secretary of the Delaware County Recycling Advisory Committee. The Delaware County Council introduced the first municipal curbside newspaper recycling program in 1980 in Haverford Township. In 1985, the county adopted Mandatory Recycling Ordinances requiring all municipalities to join the county-wide effort. County-wide glass recycling was introduced in 1987.

Peirsol received a fair amount of recognition and awards for her efforts in the environmental arena, including being honored by the Citizens Council of Delaware County in 1975.


Tributes. "M. Rosalie Dryden Peirsol." Accessed July 2, 2013.

Simons, Nancy. "Profile of the Week: Rosalie Peirsol." Town Talk. August 27, 1975. Clipping found in collection.

This collection consists of materials created or collected by Rosalie Peirsol regarding community-based efforts to establish a recycling program in Delaware County, Pa. The major organizations that are represented in the collection include Delaware County Recycling Advisory Committee, Delaware County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and Recycling Into Cash and Energy (RICE). Materials include: minutes and correspondence of these organizations; reports and pamphlets about existing recycling programs elsewhere and the feasibility of implementing programs in Delaware County; and newspaper clippings, including two clippings scrapbooks. There are also several photographs, including photographs documenting the student slogan and logo contest for recycling with which Peirsol was involved in March 1980.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Delaware County Historical Society directly for more information.

Delaware County Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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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