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Westtown School Archives collection of personal and family papers


Held at: Westtown School Archives [Contact Us]975 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA, 19382

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Westtown School Archives. 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

Westtown School is the oldest continuously operating coeducational boarding school in the United States. Located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, it serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade with day and boarding programs.

Founded by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the school opened in 1799 with the goal of educating Quaker children in an environment that fostered moral development consistent with their religious ideals. Initially, only students with both parents in the Religious Society of Friends were admitted to Westtown; in 1920, the school began admitting students with only one Quaker parent; beginning in 1933, non-Quakers were allowed to attend. The first African American boarding student arrived in 1945.

Early curricula at Westtown included reading, penmanship, grammar, and mathematics; geography, science, astronomy, surveying, and bookkeeping were also offered. Boys and girls received similar educations, but were initially taught in separate classes. The first classes became co-educational in the 1870s. In the early 1900s, Westtown added visual and dramatic arts programs.


Westtown School. "History." Accessed October 4, 2013.

This collection consists of several small collections of personal and family papers. The individuals and families represented were affiliated with Westtown School, and many papers document their time at the school although a fair amount of materials are unrelated. Documents in the collection include: correspondence, scrapbooks, writings, portfolios, ephemera, school records such as class papers and report cards, published works, and a few photographs.

The families and individuals represented in this collection include the following: Arnold, John G., historical papers Bell, Frederic "Fritz", student scrapbook, 1948-1950 Brown, Carroll T. Cadbury, Leah, 1905-1910 Class of 1938 letters Clement, Alice F. Brinton, scrapbook (Class of 1927) Comly, John, books and papers, Elkington, David (Class of 1932) collection of Lydia Bucknell papers and Nitobi volumes Flaccus, Louis, files Frysinger, Katharine T. Giessler, Marty Voellmy, autobiography Harrison, Armason, scrapbook, 1926-1931 Haviland, Bancroft D. Haviland, Mariam J. (closed until 2017) Hetzel, Mary James and Frederic (Class of 1948) collection on class of 1948 reunions Justin, Renate Lieberg Leeds, A.N. Leonard, Dorothy Harvey Lighty, Richard W. Lippincott, H. Mather, family papers Longstreth, T. Morris Martin, John G., (Class of 2006), portfolio for painting "Westtown VI" Penn, William, indenture to Richard Hunt, 1682 Ransone, Carmalt and Price families Staiger, A.D. and S. Summers, Anne Dorothy Morgan Taylor and Thompson family papers Thomas, Arthur H. and Hettie Willits, 1894-1996 Westtown Development Company, Inc., 1957-1962 Wood, Morris and Reeve family papers Woodbury, Clifford and Ethel papers, 1940-1981 Other small collections of photographs, letters, drawings, and personal papers

There are finding aids, handwritten inventories, and card catalogs for some of the sub-collections listed above, available on-site.

Materials collected from various people at various times by the Westtown School Archives.

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 Westtown School Archives directly for more information.

Westtown School Archives
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.
Access Restrictions

Contact Westtown School Archives for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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