The Lower Merion Historical Society’s Library contains a lot more than books! Multiple distinct collections are housed at the Lower Merion Academy, available to the public, free of charge, for use in the Reference Room.
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General Reference Collection
Of course, we do have lots of books, here more than 650 that deal primarily with Lower Merion history, people, events, schools, churches, government and businesses. This collection is shelved by Dewey Classification.
Lower Merion Literary Company Collection
Starting in 1842, more than 1400 books were collected for the use of students and public at the Lower Merion Academy. This township-wide library was established by individuals who donated their own books. To this core Quaker collection, other titles were selected to give the library an uncensored window on the world. This collection is housed in the Archive Room and is shelved by accession number. Each book has been carefully protected by a hand-stitched, brown bookbinder’s cloth cover with a distinctive book plate on the inside.
Merion Meeting Library Collection
On loan to The Lower Merion Historical Society from the Religious Society of Friends, this collection of 134 books published from 1702 to 1813 focuses on Quaker beliefs, prayer and Rules of Discipline. The original location of the library collection was the loft or “schoolroom” above the Merion Friends Meetinghouse. It is now housed in the Archive Room at the Lower Merion Academy.
Roberts Family Collection
Over 230 items were donated by the Roberts Family, consisting of indentures, letters, diaries, bibles, and account books, some dating back to the first settler in Lower Merion in 1683, John Roberts. The collection is housed in the Archive Room and is shelved by accession number.
Browse the Roberts Family Collection
Dr. Edward H. Snow Collection
More than 300 books in two intermingled groups. The first group, some of which may have been used as textbooks when the Academy was active as a school, has been in the Academy Building for many years. The second group is from Dr. Snow’s private collection acquired when he was principal at Lower Merion Township (Ardmore) Junior High School 1923-1956. Dr. Snow was a founding member of The Lower Merion Historical Society in 1949. The collection is housed in the Archive Room, shelved by accession number.
More than 130 objects related to the history of the Lower Merion community, including souvenirs, tools, household and military memorabilia.
Flat File Collection
More than 170 items consisting of antique, atlas and road maps; pamphlets, railroad timetables and booklets; lithographs and survey documents. They are housed in the Archive Room by accession number.
Russell Byerley Memorial World War II Collection
More than 2,000 original letters and photographs mailed to Russell Byerley, a shop teacher and coach at Lower Merion High School from 1928 until 1951, by his former students during their World War II service.
Russell Byerley Memorial World War II Collection Listing
Russell Byerley Memorial World War II Collection Finding Aid
Lower Merion and Narberth Public School Collections
Several hundred yearbooks, school publications and photographs are available to consult at the Academy.
The Merionite Collection, since 1926 Lower Merion High School’s student-produced newspaper and literary journal.
The online finding aids listed were prepared by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as part of its Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories and hosted on the Philadelphia Area Archives site.
The Library collections are considered Reference Materials and do not circulate without special permission. Due to the age and fragile nature of spines and bindings, patrons should check with the Reference Librarian about the practicality of photocopying this material. Patrons are asked to exercise caution when working with these resources. To avoid inadvertently marking this material, the public is requested to use pencil (instead of ink) while taking notes.