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Friends' Home for Children photographs


Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. 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

Friends' Home for Children ("Friendly Acres") was established in 1881 in Philadelphia by Hicksite Quakers. Rebecca Walker was its primary founder and the first teacher. The Home was a residential facility for orphans and other children in need, modeled on a homelike environment rather than the large institutional more typical of the era. Young children, generally between the ages of five and twelve, came under the care of the Home until their situation allowed them to find a permanent home or foster home, or be placed in an apprenticeship or other educational program.

The Home was administered by a Board of Managers which originally was composed entirely of members of the Society of Friends. It was first located in a rented building at 3401 Germantown Avenue. In 1885, it was relocated to 4011 Aspen Street. In 1888, this property was purchased from Mrs. Catherine Wentz, who donated half the purchase price. In 1930, Mrs. Bertha Fullmer donated a farm at Gilbertsville, Montgomery County. This became a summer camp, "Camp Sommerdale," a summer facility for the children.

In 1947, Friends' Home for Children moved to a location outside of the City, at 900 South Avenue, Secane, in Delaware County. The sale of the Aspen Street property and Camp Sommerdale provided the funds for the purchase of the new facility which was given the name "Friendly Acres."

While maintaining ties to the Society of Friends, the Home became non-sectarian over the years. As attitudes towards the care of children changed and costs soared, it was decided in 1979 to phase out the residential program, and the name was changed to Friendly Acres Community Services with its mission focused on community programs, such as day care and senior services. In 1988, Friendly Acres Community Services merged with the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County, another community service organization. The merger afforded the building of a new facility on the site, the Ridley Area YMCA, a branch of the Community Y of Eastern Delaware County. With this merger, Friends' Home for Children and its successor, Friendly Acres Community Services, ceased to exist.

The photographs in this collection are related to RG4/086. The pictures depict residential life in the Friends' Home for Children, with the presidents of the Board also being depicted. There are black and white photos, negatives, small color snapshots, and larger photographs also depicting the building/landscape and children at play.

The collection is arranged according to photograph type (negatives, large black and white prints etc.) and arranged chronologically.

Part of the Inventory of the Friends' Home for Children ("Friendly Acres") Records, RG4/086.

Part of the Inventory of the Friends' Home for Children ("Friendly Acres") Records, RG4/086.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Jissel Becerra Reyes
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is available for research use.

Use Restrictions

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Collection Inventory

1. Photographs of the presidents of the Board, 1896-1967.
Scope and Contents

Eavenson, Sarah T., M.D., 1896-1899; Bacon, Thomas P., 1900-1920; Hall, Jay Lee, 1923-1926; Edmunds, Franklin D., 1927-1944; Paxson, Thomas D., 1945-1947; Woolford, John R., 1947-1967

2. 11"x14" photos, mounted.
Scope and Contents

Four mounted black and white photos of building on South Avenue, children and "Friendly Acres" street number and logo. Also mock-up of 75th Anniversary program, 1956

3. 8"x10" color photo of "Friendly Acres" residence.
4. Small color snapshots, 1970-1980.
Scope and Contents

Approximately 30 small color snapshots of a variety of activities.

5. 3-1/2" x 5" black and white photos and negatives, circa 1980?.
Scope and Contents

29 photographs. Uunidentified.

6. Miscellaneous negatives.
7. 5x7 and smaller photographs, 1970-1980.
Scope and Contents

Approximately 75 black and white photos. Only a few dated and identified. Children, staff, activities.

8. 8"x10" and larger black and white photos.
Scope and Contents

Approximately 60 photographs. Children at work and play at residence on South Avenue. Only a few dated (1950, 1954, 1955) and identified.

Print, Suggest