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Writings related to the Early History of Swarthmore College


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

In 1862 the New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends (Hicksite) appointed committees to undertake formal planning for the establishment of a coeducational institution of higher education. On April 1, 1864, Swarthmore College was incorporated by the Pennsylvania State Legislature. It was named after Swarthmoor Hall in England, the home of Margaret Fell, and the wife of George Fox, who founded the Society of Friends. The first College session began on October 21, 1869.

Originally catalogued in Series 12 of College Archives, Secondary Works on the College. When College Archives were reprocessed, these original documents were removed to be placed in Miscellaneous Manuscripts and photocopies placed in RG6/V/College Reference. In 2010, the letters were re-foldered and cataloged as a Small Collection for better description and access through a bibliographic record and an in-house inventory. In 2017 when ASpace was instituted, the in-house inventory was added to the database.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Susanna Morikawa
Access Restrictions

This collection is available for research use.

Collection Inventory

Early meetings of Baltimore Friends, autograph letter Margaret (Farquhar) Hallowell to Mary Brooks, circa 1875.
Scope and Contents

AL (copy) describing early meetings of Baltimore Friends to establish a Friends school. Margaret Elgar FARQUHAR (1798-1875) married Benjamin Hallowell in 1824.

6th Annual Reunion of Friends Social Lyceum, 1869, 6 mo 18.
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter that mentions Reunion taking place on the grounds of Swarthmore College, then describes briefly visiting other sites in the vicinity. Author not identified.

Account of the opening by John G. Haviland, 1869, 11 mo 10.
Scope and Contents

John G.Haviland to his mother, Esther Underhill Haviland. ALS describes trip from NYC on a special train with five cars from Philadelphia to Westdale. Boardwalk from station which led to planting of trees, Lucretia Mott. The day's events described.

Letters to and concerning Hannah Thompson, 1874, 4 mo 15 and 1877, 9 mo 29.
Scope and Contents

AL from Collegiate Institute, Salem, NJ, recommending Hannah Thompson (member Class of 1878, non-graduate). ALS to Hannah from Charles A. Hawkins, Class of 1878, inviting her to a lecture.

Hallowell family correspondence, 1875-1896.
Scope and Contents

2 ALsS from Edward H. Magill to James S. Hallowell (stockholder); 1 ALS Charles Hallowell (Class of 1893) to cousins; 1 ALS Edward A. Stabler (member Class of 1900, non-graduate) to Margaret Hallowell

Reconstruction after 1881 fire described in letter from M. Fisher Longstreth, 1883, 1 mo 18.
Scope and Contents

M. Fisher Longstreth to Clement Biddle, ALS, containing details of the costs of rebuilding and refurnishing.

Josephine Beistle letter describing student life , 1889, 10 mo 27.
Scope and Contents

ALS from Josephine Beistle, (Class of 1892) recently admitted to sophomore class, to Harriet Bray. Describes sStudent life, daily exercise.

Letters describing Martha and Nathan Tyson's contributions to the founding of the College, 1890, 2 mo 6.
Scope and Contents

ALS (copy?) from Isabelle Tyson, daughter of Martha and Nathan Tyson, to William Holcomb. Also, Lucy Tyson Fitzhugh to Swarthmore College concerning the founding of Swarthmore College, and an ALS from her sister with explanation. Also typescripts.

"Some Reminiscences of Swarthmore College in its formative years" by Susanna Gaskill Mahan, 1923, 6 mo 7.
Scope and Contents

MSS account and typed transcript by one of Borough's earliest residents, Susanna (Nicholson) Gaskill Mahan. She married James Gaskill in 1863, and second, Abel Mahan in 1913. She was the sister-in-law of Sylvester Garrett, another early resident and a local developer. The Gaskills settled in Swarthmore for the "Friendly element" and advantages of a good co-educational education for their children.

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopies of the handwritten and typed manuscript are stored with RG6/V/College Reference, History of the College. It has also appeared in the local newspaper, the Swarthmorean.

Correspondence received by William I. Hull concerning early history, 1909-1925.
Scope and Contents

ALsS from his brother Thomas Hull, Benjamin Hallowell, Jr., Lucy Tyson Fitzhugh, and Cornelia Janney. Hull was preparing a history of College.

Anecdote about J. Russell Hayes and Morris Clothier, Graduation of 1888, 1956.
Scope and Contents

Lewis J. Bradford to Joseph Shane, ALS relating an anecdote told to him by President DeGarmo.

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