Alumni Gifts to the Haverford Collections

A few of the many works of literature given by Haverford alumni

A few of the many classic literary works given to the Library by Haverford alumni

Other community influences

The history of alumni contributions to Haverford collections is as long as the history of its Alumni Association: in the same year the Association was founded, 1856, the graduating class chose to leave behind them a gift of library books. In subsequent years other classes have followed suit. Continuing the work of the early student societies, the Classes of 1896 and 1900 addressed longstanding shortcomings of the collection by donating to enhance coverage in literature, with the 1900 graduates specifically designating their funds for the purchase of fiction in English. These gifts were certainly encouraged by then-President Isaac Sharpless, who was a strong believer in reading outside of the curriculum to broaden one’s education. The 19th-century editions of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and William Makepeace Thackeray shown here are just a few of the many volumes left by former students.

Alumni must also be credited for some of the most unique and rare items found in Haverford's Special Collections Department. The Charles Roberts Autograph Collection, the William Pyle Philips Collection of rare books, the Christopher Morley Collection, and several of the works of Maxfield Parrish are all gifts of distinguished former students. Alumni have not just enhanced collections--James Magill (namesake of the main campus library) and Henry Pyle Philips are in large part responsible for the building that houses our general and special collections.