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Haverford College
Quaker and Special Collections

Published Histories of the College


The main purpose in writing a history of a college is to furnish an interpretation of its life and work to those who have been its students and who are thus a vital part of its history. In the case of Haverford College… It has through the years been working out important educational ideals and it has made significant contributions to higher education in America. -- Rufus Jones, Haverford College: A History and an Interpretation, p. vii.

Over the course of its long history, there have been major changes at Haverford as an institution, not least its transformation from a school into a college, from an all-male college into a coeducational one, and from a student population of 21 to almost 1,200. A constant, though, has been what Rufus Jones called the “invisible college” represented by its “ideals, aims, aspirations, standards of scholarship and passion for sincerity, truth and honesty.”

Each year, documentary and pictorial evidence of Haverford’s maturation makes its way to the College’s archives, where it is organized and preserved for future generations. This embodiment of the College’s development represents not only its constituent groups but also the topics and traditions that are laid out in the first four major histories of the College. These four works are now made more easily accessible and searchable through their digitization.

Welcome to this wealth of information on Haverford’s students, professors, curriculum, architecture, grounds, and the many changes the College has undergone over the years.


A History of Haverford College For the First Sixty Years of Its Existence

Prepared by a Committee of the Alumni Association
Publication Date: 1892

The numerous authors of this history were chosen from among the alumni of the college in 1892, including John G. Bullock, Howard Comfort, Francis B. Gummere, George Vaux, Jr., John C. Winston and others. Each author was responsible for a period in the college’s history or a subject.

The Story of a Small College

By Isaac Sharpless
Publication Date: 1918

Isaac Sharpless (1848-1920), a Quaker mathematician and astronomer, was Dean of Haverford College from 1884-1887 and then its president from 1887-1917.

Haverford College: A History and Interpretation

By Rufus M. Jones
Publication Date: 1933

Rufus Jones (1863-1948) was one of the leading American Quaker philosophers of the 20th century. He taught philosophy and psychology at Haverford from 1893-1934.

The Spirit and the Intellect: Haverford College, 1833-1983

By Gregory Kannerstein
Publication Date: 1983

Gregory Kannerstein, class of 1963, served as baseball coach (1978-1992), director of athletics (1983-2006), and Dean of the College (2006-2009).