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  • Expanding Access:Renovating Quaker & Special Collections at Haverford College
  • Sarah M. Horowitz and Mary A. Crauderueff

Quaker & Special Collections at Haverford College will reopen September 3, 2019 after the completion of a renovation. This 18-month project transformed Haverford's library, preserving historic portions of the building while adding brand-new spaces. Quaker & Special Collections will reopen with a new reading room, which provides easy access to curatorial staff; a classroom with 30 seats and flexible furniture to allow for a wide variety of teaching activities; processing space; an exhibit gallery; a conservation lab; and climate-controlled secure stacks. These new spaces will allow for the growth and expansion of Quaker & Special Collections programming, including extensive engagement with classes across the curriculum, student-curated exhibits, and research fellowships.

The philosophy behind the renovation was to infuse light, technology, and access to collection materials throughout the entire library building. Thus, two seminar rooms, in which faculty teach semester-long classes, are equipped with locking cases. These cases can be used to house materials from Quaker & Special Collections selected by faculty in concert with curators. Throughout the semester, faculty teaching in these classrooms can bring out materials from the cases as they are referenced in class, rather than only being able to engage with original primary sources during a single instruction session.

The main gallery space, located near the Quaker & Special Collections reading room, will host two exciting exhibits during the 2019–2020 academic year, both curated by students. Our opening exhibit on incunabula, or 15th century printing, was curated over the course of a summer internship by a rising Haverford senior; the spring exhibit will be curated by a first-year writing seminar exploring borders and borderlands in literature, and will focus on abolition and slavery. Display walls in several areas of the library allow students, classes, and student groups to display their work without needing to create a formal exhibit. The radical access and exciting possibilities inherent in these new library spaces will enable students to deepen their engagement with primary source materials across the curriculum and throughout their careers at Haverford. [End Page 66]

Expanded access is not limited to the spaces which will soon be opening. During the renovation, Quaker & Special Collections staff processed approximately 700 linear feet of archival materials in 300 collections, including materials from the 1670s through 2016. Topics include: war resistance and relief work, family papers, literary organization papers, education-related papers, Quaker Meeting records, and Haverford College history, including student organizations like the Wom*n's Center, student scrapbooks, class governance materials, Board of Managers and Corporation records, and more. Collections with new or expanded access include the Lewis Benson collection, parts of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meeting records, the papers of Richard Thompson, a Vietnam War medic and CO; Marlis Gildemeister, who volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee after World War II, Quaker educator Joan Countryman, the Tract Association of Philadelphia records, the Bible Association of Friends records, and a collection of Emlen and Mifflin family papers.

The official dedication of the Lutnick Library will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, October 26, 2019. The festivities will include the printing a commemorative broadside, pop-ups with the opportunity to view and handle new acquisitions and collection highlights in Quaker & Special Collections, opportunities to explore digital projects based at the Haverford Libraries, and the curatorial talks for our exhibit "Who Created the New and Copied the Old: Printed Books of the Fifteenth Century," which features materials from The David Wertheimer, Class of 1977, Collection of Early Printed Books.

The reopening of Quaker & Special Collections also means that our Gest Fellowship and Scattergood Fellowship are being offered again. These fellowships provide support for researchers to work with Haverford's unique collections. More information is available at, and an announcement in late 2019 will proceed applications due in early 2020. These fellowships also bring greater access to Quaker & Special Collections materials not only through providing dedicated time for researchers to study them, but also through their infusion into the scholarly discourse when this work is disseminated.

The reopening of Quaker & Special Collections at Haverford...


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