Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
The Newlin Grist Mill, a water-powered grist mill along the West Branch of Chester Creek in what is now Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was built in 1704 by Nathaniel and Mary Newlin. Through several changes of ownership the mill ran continuously until 1941. In 1957, the Nicholas Newlin Foundation was created by E. Mortimer Newlin, a ninth generation descendant, to restore and maintain the mill as a museum. The Foundation's purpose is to preserve the 160-acre mill property, which is a refuge for plants, animals, and birds, as well as the park's historic buildings for the pleasure and education of the public.
The Dabbs Woodfin Library and Archives at Newlin Grist Mill maintains the archival records of the Nicholas Newlin Foundation, 1834-2013 (bulk 1959-2013), spanning about 55 linear feet of materials; the records of the mill when it was a commercial operation known as Concord Flour Mills, about 20 linear feet of materials dating from 1867-1941; and the records of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM), a national organization founded in 1972 whose goal is to promote interest in old mills. The SPOOM materials span nearly 100 linear feet of materials dating from around the turn of the 20th century to the present, including assembled information on mills by location (photographs, clippings, research materials, and other documents), SPOOM institutional records, and sub-collections accumulated by individual SPOOM members.