Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
Byberry Library was established in 1794 as a private community library for the residents of the Township of Byberry in the County of Philadelphia. While no longer an active library, it is the repository of a large book collection (including many rare books), a local history collection, various records of the Byberry Friends Meeting, and the records of two inactive local organizations: the Byberry Library Company (est. 1794) and the Byberry Philosophical Society (est. 1829). Byberry Library is administered by the Trustees of Byberry Monthly Meeting of Friends, Inc. Byberry Friends Meeting has a rich history, both as one of Pennsylvania's earliest Quaker meetings--Quaker settlers began meeting for worship in Byberry in 1683--and as a center of learning and social and community activism. Noted abolitionist Robert Purvis (1810-1898) settled in Byberry and was active in the community from the 1840s to the 1870s. Total archival holdings comprise about 13 linear feet of materials spanning the years 1682 to 2002 (bulk 1970-2000).