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Chester History

Online Exhibits –


Chester Oral Histories

Chester Oral HistoriesThis project includes oral histories of several Chester residents. Swarthmore College students enrolled in Professor Sonia Lee's History Class conducted the interviews in Spring 2009.

Residents Interviewed: Dolores Freeman-Claybourn, Marian Hampton, Ruth Minor, Nancy Payne, Harriet Ragland, Jeanette and James Robinson and Helen Woods.



George Raymond Papers

George Raymond Papers

George Raymond was President of the Chester Branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) for nearly 25 years.

The Widener University Archives houses, courtesy of the George Raymond Family, three scrapbooks that are available online at the Wolfgram Digital Collections.


Three scrapbooks, created by George Raymond, chronicle, through newspaper clippings, booklets, and photographs, the Chester Civil Rights movement in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with some additional years.

This scrapbook, created by Patricia Taylor for the Chester NAACP, captures in clippings from a variety of newspapers, the tumultuous 1963 - 1964 Chester Civil Rights struggles that drew national attention to the city.

This exhibit features newspaper clippings, collected by George Raymond, from local, regional and national newspapers. The clippings are organized into several categories, including: Recreation, Events in the Black Community, Chester NAACP Branch, Delaware County Schools and Delaware County Housing.

Widener University does not own the copyright to these materials. The user is responsible for all copyright issues. When using these materials, please credit: The George Raymond Family.

The Legacy of George Raymond

John McLarnon describes the impact George Raymond had on Chester with these words:
"Raymond...virtually founded the modern civil rights movement in Chester. He worked for more than thirty years to insure that state laws prohibiting racial discrimination were enforced...Raymond fought the city administration, the school board, the courts, and one of the most powerful political machines in the history of the state. Largely through his efforts, Chester was transformed from a totally segregated city to a city where blacks could expect fair treatment in employment, housing, and education."

Quote from McLarnon, John M.  "Old Scratchhead Reconsidered: George Raymond and Civil Rights in Chester, Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania History, Volume 69, Number 3 (Summer 2002), 297-341.

SS City of Chester

   SS City of ChesterThe SS City of Chester, a steamship,was built in Chester,         Pennsylvania by John Roach and Sons in 1875.  In 1888, it sank after a collision with the RMS Oceanic in San Francisco Bay.  This exhibit displays images of the ship and documents about the collision.  It also features the headlines of articles, from San Francisco Newspapers from 1888- 1894.  These articles explain the collision and its tumultuous aftermath. 

(To access the full articles, click on the URL provided under the image of each headline).


 For help, contact Jill Borin (610) 499-4376