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Malvern Historical Commission local history collection


Held at: Malvern Historical Commission [Contact Us]Borough of Malvern, 1 East First Avenue, Suite 3, Malvern, PA, 19355

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Malvern Historical Commission. 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 the 17th century, Welsh immigrants settled in the area that would later be known as Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Originally part of Willistown Township as a village called West Chester Intersection, Malvern was the site of the Battle of Paoli in 1777, which took place during the American Revolution. This site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as the Paoli Battlefield Site and Parade Grounds. In 1873, when the Pennsylvania Railroad laid its tracks through the village, it was renamed Malvern. Economic development in the small village led residents to officially incorporate in 1889 as the Borough of Malvern, separating it from Willistown Township. Following incorporation, the Borough of Malvern continued to grow, including the creation of the Malvern Fire Company, the Malvern water system, and other organizations. As of 2015, the Borough of Malvern remains a small town with a railway station and a variety of cultural and civic organizations, and as a result of recent revitalization efforts, boasts a wide assortment of local shops in its business district.


Schmitt, Nancy B. A Century in Malvern. Malvern, PA: Malvern Historical Commission, 1989.

This collection consists of primary-source materials such as manuscripts, scrapbooks, and photographs, as well as secondary-source materials including newspaper clippings, postcards, photocopies of primary-source documents, and other materials that document the history of the borough of Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania and its residents.

Manuscripts and other primary-source documents include materials from the Borough, such as correspondence and bills, early 1880s-1910s, the Borough Treasurer's ledger, 1913-1928, and building permit receipts, 1923-1935; various deeds and other property documents relating to a property on Monument Avenue, 1920s-1930s; the Starkey family papers, including several World War II ration books, property documents, a tin type, and ephemera; the William Penn Evans family bible with handwritten family genealogy notes; and an unidentified financial ledger, 1896. There is also a box of property documents from Willistown Township relating to properties that, before the Borough of Malvern was incorporated in 1889, were located in Willistown Township, including property drawings, maps, and research about the properties.

Photographic materials include photograph albums and loose photographs depicting Malvern events, organizations, people, scenery, and other subjects. Loose photographs include depictions of individuals and groups, several scenes from Malvern's 75th anniversary celebration beauty pageant and parade, photographs of hunting at Camp Malvern, 1907-1912, school photographs from the early 1900s, and other images. Some of the school photographs were used by Kathie Brown in a book she wrote on Malvern Public School. A portion of the loose photographs consist of Stevans family photographs such as cabinet cards, tin types, stereographs, circa late 1800s-early 1900s, as well as some photographs of the Stauffer and Biddison families, early 1900s-1940s. Several of the photograph albums in the collection depict various aspects of education in Malvern, including the Malvern Elementary School. There is also an album of Malvern Parks and Recreation images, 1977-1980.

There are fourteen scrapbooks in the collection that contain newspaper clippings and photographs relating to Malvern. Topics covered in the scrapbooks include births, deaths, and anniversaries in the community, 1950s-1970s, the Paoli Battlefield, 1996-2002, and general Malvern history and events.

Other materials in the collection include binders with photocopies of excerpts from Malvern fire company records, 1890s-1930s; postcards, several of which are postmarked, depicting West Chester, Malvern, and other places in Pennsylvania, or holidays, 1900s-1910s; original artwork; and newspaper clippings relating to Malvern.

Materials collected by the Malvern Historical Commission from various sources over time

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 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 Malvern Historical Commission directly for more information.

Malvern Historical Commission
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw 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 Malvern Historical Commission for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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