Alice Putnam Willetts Swarthmore papers
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 Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- S. Morikawa
- Finding Aid Date
After teaching and coaching for 42 years, Putty Willetts retired in 1986 from the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. She devoted herself to civic organizations, especially concerning seniors and in 1996 decided to run for Borough Council.
Willetts described her goals and approach. Issues before Council included curfews, guns, senior citizen facilities and a charter school in public school facilities (Irma Zimmer proposals)
Includes her notes on issues
Willetts came in third and lost in a Democratic sweep. Though not written policy, Council members in past served two terms. After her loss, she sought to fill a a two year vacancy.
Having lost her bid for a third term on Council, Willets argued that she should be appointed to the 2-year term on Council created by a vacancy by the resignation of Joanna Jacobs because she received the third highest votes. Council disagreed since Willetts had not been re-elected. They reviewed the applications of three candidates and appointed Geoff Semenuk
Selection of email and notes in support and in sympathy when she lost.
Folder includes her handwritten notes prepared for debates, etc. Willetts lost the election to Rob Lowe
Revitalization of the business district was one of the primary projects of Council during Willett's first term. The project was met with controversy from the start, pitting those who were against any change versus the College and business owners. A Town Center Task Force was created in July 1998. Jim Hartling of Urban Partners, Philadelphia, was selected as a Facilitator. Laura Memeger and John Gibbons also served as Consultants.
An unofficial and unstructured survey of citizens' views which Alice Willetts mailed to every tax payer. It encouraged a wide range of comments.
Zimmer proposed that the Task Force go beyond business district planning to address community service, especially for seniors. She was a retired Swarthmore High School history teacher and passionate advocate for local schools and support for senior citizens.
3 volumes3 spiral bound volumes
Willetts served on the Implementation Committee. Important challenges of her terms included construction of the College Inn, a proposed senior facility, referendum on liquor sales, land use and rezoning by the College to change zoning from residential to institutional along Chester Rd and Elm avenue, historic preservation, demolition ordinance, and a new Co-op and opposition to rezoning the Ingleneuk from residential to commercial after it was damaged by fire.
One of recommendations for the Town Center project was an ordinance to allow liquor at the Inn.
Willetts served on Council Environmental Committee
Rutgers and Strath Haven Avenues
Willets lobbied for more senior citizen support facilities
The College rezoned parts of campus from residential to institutional in order to expand the campus.
SRA received financial support from the Borough
Study by George Alexander which was published in the local newspaper, The Swarthmorean. File inclues 1990 census statistics
Willetts was a founding member and served as president.
Zimmer's study and proposal concerning school redistricting and providing services year-round for all ages. She included notes for Willetts on issues if she were running for Council concerning senior citizens
An office for various senior services located in 7 S. Chester Road. with support from a bequest of Irma Zimmer
Rough notes, thoughts on Borough Council, snapshots of Girls Hockey teams, 1976-1977 and 1978-1979, Polaroids of Putty at Public Works yard.