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Swarthmore Co-op Collection


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 Swarthmore Co-op began in 1932 as a fruit and vegetable buying group organized by a group of women in Swarthmore, Pa., and operating out of homes. In 1937 it filed articles of Association in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvnia as the Swarthmore Cooperative Association. In 1939 it found a home in a former car dealership on Dartmouth Avenue with the help of Mary Hitchner deMoll (Mrs. Carl deMoll). In 1945 it was incorporated as the Consumers' Cooperative Association of Swarthmore. In 2004 the Co-op moved to a building erected in adjacent lot, and in 2012, the Swarthmore Co-op celebrated its 75th Anniversary.

Founded in the 1930s as consumer-owned groceries, most co-ops closed in the 1980s in competition with supermarket chains. The Swarthmore Co-op has survived and evolved for over seventy-five years and remains an important part of the community. In the 21st century, the Co-op moved into a new building and has expanded its membership and sales. Together with Swarthmore College, it is an important element in the revitalizing of the Swarthmore Business District, a traditional town center founded at the end of the 19th century. The collection illustrates its history through clippings, photographs, and writings.

Organized in three series: 1. History; 2. Photographs; 3. Clippings

A carton of clippings, photographs, and related material delivered to Swarthmore Historical Society. Sorted into series and clippings photocopied on acid-free paper by FHL staff. The Co-op retains its own records.

Co-op Anniversary bash poster, mounted print of sketch of old building, and 2 enlarged historic photos (Ridley house and ineriror view) stored in RG 7/oversize/chart case.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Susanna Morikawa
Finding Aid Date
January 2017

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

The information was gathered in preparation of the Co-ops 75th anniversary in 2012. Includes essays and a power point presentation that includes images of all buildings used by the Co-op and the employees involved.

Physical Description

1 folders

Swarthmore Co-op history, circa 1946-2012.
Swarthmore Co-op Boards, 1997-2012.
Scope and Contents

Includes lists of board members and the sign-in sheet from the 1997 Annual Meeting of members

Swarthmore Co-op membership miscellaneous, 1946-2012.
Scope and Contents

Notices of stock interest, 1946, 1950; membership application circa 2012.

Scope and Contents

Most photographs are not labeled or dated. Some were included in the 75th anniversary power point presentation

Physical Description

3 folders

Co-op early photographs, 1936-1949.
Scope and Contents

Includes house used at corner of Milmont and Michigan Aves., Ridley

Co-op photographs, circa 1950-1975.
Co-op photographs, transition to Grand Opening, 2001-2004.
Co-op Clippings, 1971-2012.
Scope and Contents

Most clippings from The Swarthmorean. Also early undated ads.

Print, Suggest