Esther Duke Archives

What do financial journals listing the purchases of roasting pigs and pewter plates; letters describing conversations with paroled Civil War soldiers; early 19th century hand drawn watercolor maps; embroidered silk globes and the coil that inspired the invention of the Slinky® have in common? All these items - and more – are part of the Westtown School Archives.


The archives collects, organizes and makes available items relating to the history of Westtown School - the program and people – from the 1790s to the present. School records, manuscripts, photographs, publications, rare books, maps, plans, and artifacts (including textiles) are housed in the archives, adjacent to the library in the Main Building. The school’s collections of artwork and antique furniture are also under the care of the archives.

Using the Collection

The collection is used by students in all 3 divisions (Lower, Middle and Upper Schools), and faculty in several different disciplines have incorporated use of these primary source materials into the curriculum.

Visiting scholars and interested members of the general public are also welcome to use the collection.

The archives is open each day when school is in session and other times by appointment. Please contact the archives staff or read more about conducting research using the collection – in person or long distance.

In 2005 the archives was formally named the Esther Duke Archives in honor of Esther Duke (1920-2005), Westtown class of 1938, whose time, talent and treasure contributed greatly to the preservation of Westtown’s history.


We welcome donations to the archives. Learn more about our collection policy.

Want to know more? Contact us! 610-399-7834

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West Chester, PA 19382-5700

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Westtown School, a Quaker Pre-K -12th grade co-ed, private, college preparatory day and boarding school, offers a challenging and diverse curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, service and social action. Since 1799, we have been committed to character education and innovation. We inspire and prepare our graduates to become stewards and leaders of a better world.

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Inspired by its Quaker roots, Westtown’s academic excellence and profound respect of each student have made it the school of choice for thousands of difference makers since 1799.

Westtown faculty are always creating new ways for students to engage deeply with their work.  Westtown prizes the imagination and never tires of embracing new approaches.

We want to know more about you! Explore the website and then schedule a visit. We can't wait to meet you.

As a Pre K-12 college-preparatory school, Westtown offers academic experiences that challenge, support and inspire.

Westtown students have more than paint brushes at their fingertips; they have a newly-renovated theater, design studios and a team of professional artists as their guides.

With 19 fields and courts and a tradition of champions, Westtown gives all its athletes chances to experience teamwork, loss and triumph.

It's hard to imagine a more inspiring setting than Westtown with its forests, fields and gorgeous vistas. Students do more than appreciate our campus' beauty; they're immersed in it and learn from it.

We're a community of committed parents, students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff. And we rely on everyone's help to keep this magic school thriving. Please find a way (or two!) to support us as we live out our mission everyday.

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