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Swarthmore Nativity Pageant Records

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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

The first Swarthmore Nativity Pageant was presented Dec. 18, 1938, in two performances staged in Clothier Memorial on the Swarthmore College campus. The pageant was the dream of Charles D. Mitchell, Saturday Evening Post illustrator and director of Swarthmore Players, who was the first director. Truly a community effort, the original costumes were made by sewing groups of two local congregations, and the chorus was drawn from Swarthmore congregations as well as other community members.

The first four productions were made possible by the Donald Darlington Fund, a fund established by Frances M. White in memory of her adopted son. About 2,500 people attended the performance the first year, with over-capacity crowds attending the following year. Charles Mitchell died in 1940, and his wife, Reba, and family continued the tradition through the 1950s.

The Second World War caused an interruption, but the Pageant resumed in 1948. Since 1951, it has been produced every other year, supported by individual and organizational contributions to the Swarthmore Nativity Pageant Fund, and it was incorporated in 1965. In 1985, the Pageant was moved from Clothier Memorial to the Eugene Lang Music Building.

Contains the records of the Swarthmore Nativity Pageant, presented to the citizens of the Borough of Swarthmore, Pa., beginning in 1938. Includes correspondence, scripts, financial records, photographs, and related papers.

The collection is divided into four series:

  1. History and programs
  2. Scripts and production notes
  3. Correspondence and financial
  4. Miscellaneous, including photographs

Donor: Swarthmore Nativity Pageant

Date: January 2004

Donor: Swarthmore Nativity Pageant

Date: Acc. SHS 2011.008

Sorted and stored in two boxes. Photographs stored with the Collection in box 2. Include two images of early Pageants and informal snapshots of dress rehearsal, 1993.

Publisher
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
2013
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-RUU/1.0/.

Collection Inventory

Clippings with history of the Pageant.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Programs, posters, announcements.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Script with staging and notes, 1938.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Script, 1939.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Scripts, n.d.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Pageant notes, 1938-1939.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Pageant notes, 1941.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Pageant notes, 1948.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Pageant notes, 1955-1957.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Cast and costume notes, 1969.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Costume designs, sketches, n.d.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters of appreciation to the Mitchells, 1938; ca. 1940.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Correspondence, early financial receipts, 1939-1958.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Financial, cancelled checks and checkbook, 1939-1945.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Reference, samples of nativity pageants, etc.
Box 1
Physical Description

1 folder

Photographs (early pageant, 1967, 1987, 1993 rehearsal), n.d., 1987, 1993.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Early Pageant photograph gift of Elizabth Bassett, 1991 (in Portfolio). 1967 slides taken by Dave Narberth. Photographs taken of 1987 Pageant burned on CD. Copy given to current Pageant officers and one stored with original photographs.

Physical Description

1 folder

Organ music (Photostat).
Box 2
Physical Description

1 folder

Mock-ups of staging, n.d.
Box 2
Physical Description

1 folder

Print, Suggest