Library Collections

The Lower Merion Historical Society’s Library consists of seven distinct collections housed at the Lower Merion Academy. All the books in these collections are available to the public, free of charge, for use only in the Reference Room of the Lower Merion Academy. They 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.

Search Library Collections:

1. General Reference Collection More than 500 books dealing primarily with Lower Merion history, people, events, schools, churches, government, business etc. This collection is housed in the Reference Room and is shelved by Dewey Classification.

2. Lower Merion Literary Company Collection More than 1400 books make up this collection that was established in 1842 for the use of students and public at the Lower Merion Academy. Each book has been carefully protected by a hand-stitched, brown bookbinder’s cloth cover with a distinctive book plate on the inside. This township-wide library was established by individuals who donated their own books. To this core Quaker collection, other book 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.

3. Merion Meeting Library Collection On loan to The Lower Merion Historical Society from the Religious Society of Friends, this collection of 134 books has a publication date that range from 1702 to 1813. This small library has a focus on Quaker beliefs, prayer and Rules of Discipline. The original location of the library collection was in the loft or “schoolroom” above the Merion Friends Meetinghouse. It is now housed in the Archive Room at the Lower Merion Academy.

4. Roberts Family Collection This collection of more then 230 items was donated by the Roberts Family, and consists of indentures, letters, diaries, bibles, and account books, some dating back to the first settler, John Roberts, who settled in Lower Merion in 1683. The collection is housed in the Archive Room and is shelved by Accession Number.

5. Dr. Edward H. Snow Collection This collection of more than 300 books is housed in the Archive Room and is shelved by Accession Number. It consists of two intermingled groups of books. The first group has been in the Academy Building for many years. It is believed that some of these books were used as textbooks when the Academy was active as a school. The second group is from Dr. Snow’s private collection acquired when he was school principal at Lower Merion Township (Ardmore) Junior High School from 1923-1956. He was a founding member of The Lower Merion Historical Society begun in 1949.

6. Artifacts Collection  This collection of more than 130 objects are related to the history of the Lower Merion community. Included are such objects as souvenirs, tools, household and military memorabilia.

7. Flat File Collection This collection of more than 170 items is housed in the Archive Room and housed by Accession Number. It consists of such items as antique, atlas and road maps; pamphlets, railroad timetables and booklets; lithographs and survey documents.

8.  Russell Byerley Memorial World War II Collection This collection consists of original letters and photographs that were sent during the war to Russell Byerley, a shop teacher and coach at Lower Merion High School from 1928 until 1951. When World War II broke out, he continued to be in contact with his former students and asked them to write him. Over time, he received more than 2,000 letters and pictures, most from Lower Merion High School alumni who were serving in the armed forces.