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Special Collections

Guides to Special Collections material at the Tri-Colleges.

Bryn Mawr College Special Collections

The Bryn Mawr Special Collections Department manages the college’s extensive collections of rare books, manuscripts, art, cultural artifacts, and the college’s historical records.   Included in the collections are Classical and Near Eastern archaeological objects; African, Asian and Native American art works; European art prints; Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; early printed books; European travel accounts to Asia, Africa and the Americas; and books on the history of women and by women writers.

To use the collections, visit the Special Collections Department on the 2nd Floor of Canaday Library,  or contact us at  SpecColl@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-6576.

Topic Guides to Bryn Mawr College Special Collections Material

More information about the collections and links to additional catalogues, finding aids and digital collections can be found at the department's website.  The most comprehensive of the online systems are the following:

  • Art and Artifacts: Triarte, the online catalogue to more than 30,000 art and artifact objects.
  • Digital Collections:
  • Special Topic Guides: 
  • Additional Topic Guides:

Quaker & Haverford College Special Collections

Quaker & Special Collections at Haverford College has rich holdings of Quaker history and literature; Haverford College history; literature (including Shakespeare, nineteenth century American literature, and Don Quixote); history of science; United States history, particularly the Philadelphia area, abolition, and Native Americans; history of printing; relief work and aid, particularly in the World War I and World War II eras; and Asian history and culture, particularly Quaker interactions with Japan.

Quaker & Special Collections is located in Haverford College's Magill Library and is open to all. Interested researchers can visit Quaker & Special Collections in person or contact us at hc-special@haverford.edu or (610) 896-1161. More information for visitors and about our collections is also available via our website.

Some materials in Quaker & Special Collections have been digitized. The guides below will note when material is available digitally as well as in our collections.

Topic Guides to Haverford College Special Collections Material

These are guides to specific research topics on which Special Collections has a significant amount of relevant material.  Use these guides to begin your research on the topics listed below.

Course Guides Related to Haverford College Special Collections Material

These are course guides that include material from Special Collections.  These guides are designed with a specific course and often a specific assignment in mind, but you might find them useful if you are looking for special collections material on a related topic.

Digital Exhibits from Quaker & Special Collections

Swarthmore College Special Collections

There are three main Special Collections at Swarthmore College—the Rare Book Room, Friends Historical Library, and the Peace Collection—as well as a number of smaller libraries and collections.

  • Rare Book Room: The Rare Book Room, located on level 3 in McCabe, houses rare books and journals as well as a number of manuscript collections; the latter include materials by and about William Wordsworth, O. Henry, W.H. Auden, James Michener '29, and Seamus Heaney.
  • Friends Historical Library: Friends Historical Library was established in 1871 to collect, preserve, and make available archival, manuscript, printed, and visual records concerning the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from their origins mid-seventeenth century to the present. Besides the obvious focus on Quaker history, the holdings are a significant research collection for the regional and local history of the middle-Atlantic region of the United States and the history of American social reform. Quakers played prominent roles in almost every major reform movement in American history, including abolition, African-American history, Indian rights, women's rights, prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally ill, and temperance. The collections also reflect the significant role Friends played in the development of science, technology, education, and business in Britain and America. FHL also maintains the College Archives.
  • Peace Collection: The mission of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC) is to gather, preserve, and make accessible material that documents non-governmental efforts for non-violent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution between peoples and nations. The SCPC includes the papers of many individuals and the records of numerous organizations reflecting the spread of the peace movement in the United States and around the world from about 1815 to the present. It holds materials on pacifism, women and peace, conscientious objection, nonviolence, civil disobedience, progressivism, Vietnam era, African-American protest and civil rights, feminism, civil liberties, the history of social work, and other reform movements.

Topic Guides to Swarthmore College Special Collections Material

These are guides to some of the topics for which Swarthmore College owns a significant number of special-collections items.  Use these guides to begin your research on the topics listed below.