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
The Malvern Public Library was founded in Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania as the Malvern Public Library and Reading Room Association in 1894, supported by the Malvern Friends Library Company. The Malvern Library Company was formed in 1873 by members of the Society of Friends. Stockholders could buy into the Company at 5 dollars per share. The Company was revived in 1890 as the Malvern Friends Library Company.
In 1894, a citizens group established a separate organization, the Public Library and Reading Room Association and rented space to provide books for the community. The Malvern Friends Library Company loaned 315 books to the Public Library and Reading Room Association in 1895. Through purchases and donations, the Association was able to increase the total number of books in their collection to 531. Space was rented within the borough building, a librarian was hired, and the Public Library was open every day of the week, except for Sunday. In its first year, the Library circulated 440 books. Circulation rose to 1,100 in 1896 and, in 1897, the library moved again to a larger location on King Street.
When the Library received its Charter and Certificate of Incorporation in 1899, it officially changed its name to the Malvern Public Library. The Library continued to grow during the early 1900s, and relocated to the Friends Meeting House. A circulation record of 9,883 books was set in 1911, which was not equaled again until 1962-1963.
In 1912, the Library moved into Borough Hall and became associated with Malvern Borough. During World War I, Marines from nearby Camp Fuller were invited to use the Malvern Public Library, and the Trustees of the Library sent books to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the soldiers stationed there.
The Library was bequeathed a building in 1918 by a former Library Board President, Joseph Roberts, and it relocated again to this space. Rental income from the property was to be used for the purchase of books of a moral and instructive nature, and also for heating fuel.
The Malvern Public Library became a part of the Chester County Library system in the 1960s. In 1985, the Library moved into the Malvern Borough Administrative building, where it is still located as of 2015.
Malvern Borough. "Public Library." Accessed on May 1, 2016. http://www.malvern.org/profile-and-hours/.
Schmitt, Nancy B. A Century in Malvern. Malvern, PA: Malvern Historical Commission, 1989.
The collection includes minute books, circulation records, financial records, other administrative papers, photographs, and various other materials from the Malvern Public Library and its predecessor organizations, the Malvern Library Company and the Malvern Public Library and Reading Room Association. The collection spans the history of the library from 1873 to 2004, but a majority of the materials are from 1926 to 1989.
There are meeting minutes from the Malvern Library Company from 1873 to 1885, as well as circulation records from 1879 to 1887 and a book inventory. There are also meeting minutes of the Malvern Public Library and Reading Room Association, 1894 to 1904, including an entry from 1899 when the Association was chartered and officially changed its name to the Malvern Public Library.
From The Malvern Public Library, there are meeting minutes, 1926-1985; board meeting and librarian reports, 1979-1983; circulation records, 1954-1987; and an annual report, 1919. Financial and legal records include fire insurance documents, 1920s-1940s; petty cash reports and financial reports, 1979; financial statements, 1981-1993; cancelled checks and bank statements, 1950s-1970s; lease agreements; and letters about donations (property and monetary) and finances. The collection also includes photographs of library events, 1970s-1980s; newspaper clippings about the library, 1980s; and a small number of records relating to the 1985 library move, including shelving plans and a layout design.
Also in the collection is a small portion of Malvern Public Library and Chester County Library System materials, donated by M. Elizabeth Burke. The Chester County Library System materials, circa 1990s-2000s, include minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, statistics, policies, and other materials. The materials from the Malvern Public Library include a scrapbook, 1950s; newspaper clippings; librarian reports; and financial statements, 1980s.
Part of the materials in the collection were donated by M. Elizabeth Burke, circa 2006
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.