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Swarthmore College Libraries

Unparalleled collections exploring Quakers, peace and literature


The Experience

Swarthmore College includes special libraries dedicated to the history of the study of peace. The nearly 75-year-old Swarthmore College Peace Collection encompasses the history of pacifism, arms control, disarmament, nonviolence and civil disobedience.

Swarthmore College is also home to the Friends Historical Library, the largest collection of books and manuscripts relating to the Society of Friends (Quakers) in the world, with collections on Native American rights, women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.

The McCabe Library, Swarthmore College’s main library, has special collections on the history of technology, William Wordsworth, W. H. Auden, accounts of British travelers in the United States, private presses, and college history, aka swarthmoreana.


Friends Historical Library originated with a gift in 1871, when Anson Lapham created a collection “exclusively for matters pertaining to friends.” With additional acquisitions related to Quaker activity in literature, science, business, and government, the Friends Historical Libary’s holdings grew to more than 39,000 books, 2,500 microfilm reels, 4,000 volumes of Quaker Meeting records, 275 manuscript collections, pictures and artifacts.

Other Information

Open Mon – Sat during the academic year

Insider Tip

Arthur Hoyt Scott, son of the founder of Scott Paper (and a graduate from the class of 1895) helped turn the entire 330-acre campus into an arboretum in 1929. More than 5,000 trees and shrubs are maintained amidst beds of irises, peonies and daffodils.


500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081
(610) 328-8557

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