PRESERVING QUAKER HERITAGE
On May 22, representatives from area Quaker schools gathered at Haverford to discuss the importance of archives. Organizers of the Friends Schools Archives Conference addressed the who, what, when, where and why of conservation of Quaker manuscripts, photographs, artifacts and other miscellaneous materials.
The event opened with remarks from President Tom Tritton and Christopher Densmore. Densmore is the curator of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College, an institute designed to collect and preserve materials related to Quaker history. Following their remarks, William Kashatus delivered the keynote address,“Your Quaker School and History.” Kashatus specializes in Quaker education and is the author of Abington Friends School: The Early Years, 1697-1800 and Trees into Shields: A History of Frankford Friends School.
The remainder of the day was divided into panels, beginning with“Steps Along the Way,” a discussion of the archival process at Quaker institutions. Mary Brooks, Archivist for the Westtown School, and Wendy Chmielewski, Curator of the Peace Collection at Swarthmore, presented“Archives and Curriculum: Possibilities and Limitations.” A presentation titled“The Nitty Gritty: Arranging, Indexing and Care of Materials: Where to Buy Supplies, How to Fund this Endeavor, and More” featured a diverse group of speakers. They included Densmore; Bruce Bumbarger, Haverford's Library Conservator; Diana Franzusoff Peterson, Haverford's Manuscript Librarian and Archivist; Patricia O'Donnell, Archivist at Swarthmore's Friends Historical Library; and Diana Wallace, Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission, a group that encourages historical education and preservation.
New York stage actor Rich Swingle portrayed John Woolman in the show“A Clear Landing.” Woolman was a prominent 18th-century Quaker abolitionist. The day concluded with Emma Lapsansky-Werner's presentation,“What's Next?” Lapsansky-Werner is a Professor of History and Curator of the Quaker Collection at Haverford. Quaker history is one of her areas of speciality.
The Friends School Archives Conference was sponsored by Haverford College Quaker Collection and the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore.