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School in Rose Valley records


Held at: The Archives at the School in Rose Valley [Contact Us]20 School Lane, Rose Valley, PA, 19063

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Archives at the School in Rose Valley. 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 School in Rose Valley is a progressive, co-educational, non-sectarian school for children in preschool through sixth grade. Situated on a wooded 9.5 acre campus in Rose Valley, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The School aims to "create experiences that arouse curiosity, stretch muscles, strengthen initiative, and stimulate questions," guiding children "to know themselves, to delight in learning, and to understand their opportunities and responsibilities in [the] community and the world." Literacy, math, science, social studies, languages, technology, service and partnership, music, art, wood shop, and unstructured play are a part of the curriculum.

The School in Rose Valley was established in 1929 as a progressive school based on the practices of John Dewey. Many of the founding parents were members of the Arts and Crafts community that had moved to the area in the early 20th century who sought a place to educate their children separate from the then "factory model" of schooling. The parents consulted with nearby Swarthmore College, recruiting Dr. Carson Ryan to serve as the educational director for the School.

The School was originally located in the home of one of the founding families. The School in Rose Valley was incorporated in 1930. A few years later, Rose Valley property owners and prominent residents, Maurice and Adele Saul, loaned the School the use of an orchard as a location on which to construct a school building. The building, which included four classrooms, a library, office, kitchen, shop, and science room, was completed in time for the 1934-35 school year. Over the next few years, the School in Rose Valley continued to expand with new buildings and other additions. The Sauls donated the land to the School in 1953.

As of 2015, the School in Rose Valley continues to operate from its location on the former Saul orchard. In addition to the buildings and classrooms, the campus includes a greenhouse, organic garden, playground and field, and a chicken coop.


Quoted text from: The School in Rose Valley. "SRV At A Glance." 2015. Accessed August 25, 2015.

The School in Rose Valley. "History." 2015. Accessed August 25, 2015.

The School in Rose Valley. "Mission & Philosophy." 2015. Accessed August 25, 2015.

The collection, dating from 1938-2015 (bulk 1980s-2000s), consists of administrative and financial records; teaching materials; student publications; a variety of visual, audio, and audiovisual materials; and other materials that document the School in Rose Valley (SRV) and the experiences of its students, faculty, and families.

Administrative records include enrollment records; student and teacher lists; curriculum goals; long range plans; policies and evaluative criteria and standards; directories; correspondence from principals and the school's board, especially from Jim Reid and Anne Rawson, 1970s-1990s; agendas and notes from staff meetings, 1993-1996; and exit interview and follow-up surveys with former students. Printed materials from the School include parents' bulletins and curriculum reports, 1947-2000s; The School Weekly newsletter, 1954-1964; and studies done by the School on topics such as dyslexia. There is a small amount of financial material in the collection on financial aid and materials from the scholarship committee, including applications, forms, and letters. Other administrative records from the School include: library records, circa 1970s, including listings of overdue books and books to be ordered; plant sale records; guest books from school events, 1970s-1980s; annual reports of gifts; and files from staff variety shows. No board minutes or student records are included in the collection.

Teaching materials include materials designed and compiled by the School in Rose Valley faculty, such as reading books, coloring books, and definition books. Additional teaching materials include math tests and various handouts. There is also a reference file organized by topic for curriculum materials.

There is a large amount of student publications, including "Leaves," an annual publication of student writings, 1939-2014. There are also reports compiled by students on various topics such as highlanders, caterpillars, chickens, Thanksgiving, first families of America, and other subjects. Of special interest are materials, including proofs and original artwork, relating to the publication of Henny and Jenny Penny, a story crafted by a class of first-graders at SRV, with the help of their teacher Eloise Holmes, about their class pets, two bantam hens. The book was published in 1948 by school parents in memorial of Eloise Holmes, who also illustrated the book.

Audiovisual materials include audiocassettes of school performances, music, and staff meetings; several unidentified reel-to-reel films, both audio and film; a film about the School in Rose Valley, circa 1970s; floppy diskettes; teacher symposium recordings on VHS and mini-DV, 2004-2005, from a conference sponsored by SRV and Swarthmore College on progressive education; VHS cassette teaching videos; and VHS recordings of school events and network news stories featuring the School. Photographic materials include negatives, slides, contact sheets, several photograph albums and scrapbooks (1970s-1990s), digital images on CDs, and stereographs. The photograph albums and scrapbooks document student activities, field trips, and SRV staff and events. There is also a database of photos (digitized and born digital) depicting the property, buildings, construction of the school, students, teachers and staff, members of the community, and events from the 1930s to 2015.

Publicity and ephemera materials include brochures; invitations to and programs from SRV events and fundraisers such as MayFair and Arts Ball; parent mailings, including holiday cards, 1984-1989; brochures with updates and reports on school building projects and volunteer support; and materials related to school anniversaries.

Other materials in the collection include newspaper clippings, some original and some photocopies of articles on progressive education and education in general, as well as publications, newsletters, and letters from the Advancement for Delaware Valley Independent Schools. There are floor plans, building plans, and technical drawings for buildings on the School's campus such as the playhouse, nursery, and kitchen.

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 The Archives at the School in Rose Valley directly for more information.

The Archives at the School in Rose Valley
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.
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Contact The Archives at the School in Rose Valley for information about accessing this collection. Some materials may be restricted due to privacy concerns.

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