The Everett Society's Secret Collection

Everett Society Pin

Everett Society Pin

Two books remaining from the Everett collection

Two books left to the College Library by the Everett Society

Following the example of the Loganian Society, other student-run literary societies also collected library materials in the 19th century, thereby broadening the range of reading matter available to students. The Everett Society founded one of the most notable of these small libraries. Just as in the case of the Loganian collection, Haverford administrators insisted that all of its acquisitions be approved by the Faculty.

In the mid 19th century, Quaker notions of truthfulness and honesty were not considered compatible with the reading of popular fiction. In the early 1870s, however, students of the Everett Society who enjoyed reading fiction managed to evade Faculty approval by establishing a society "archives": a secret collection of books that members knew would never be officially approved.

The Everett Archive Collection, of approximately 125 books, was primarily composed of historical and adventure novels, popular romance and books on games and military history. The most popular titles were Adventures of Mr. Verdant Greene by Cuthbert Bede, Last Days of Pompeii by Bulwer-Lytton, Old Mam'selles Secret by Eugenie Marlitt, and Japhet in Search of a Father by Frederick Marryatt. Society members enjoyed this contraband reading until May, 1874, when the Faculty confiscated the illicit texts. The fate of these books is unknown.

In the late 1880s, as interest in the activities of the literary societies declined, the Everett membership again followed the example of the Loganian Society and donated their remaining books to the general collection. Of course, student interest in reading popular fiction has never waned. Quaker attitudes toward reading choices evolved significantly during the last two decades of the 19th century. Between 1903 and 1907, over 700 volumes of fiction and literature were purchased and added to Haverford’s main collection - vindication for the Secret Library of the Everett Society.

Other community influences