Collection Title: Marwood Darlington Collection

Collection Number: 219

Dates of Collection: 1912-1992

Box Numbers: 1-63

RepositoryChester County Historical Society

Project Archivist: Marwood Darlington


Marwood Darlington was born and raised in West Chester, Pa. He was a graduate of West Chester High School and the Taylor Business School in Philadelphia. His interest in historical research and genealogy led him to join the Chester County Historical Society in 1935. He was elected to the Board of Managers in 1938, but resigned to accept the position of assistant librarian. During his tenure, Mr. Darlington co-edited and published with Bart Anderson a historical and genealogical periodical, Chester County Collections. He would also serve as secretary of the Society from 1937 to 1943, when he resigned his position to serve in the Army.

Mr. Darlington’s service in World War II and a career in the Library of Congress, took him away from Chester County for twenty years, but he never lost interest in the county or society. Darlington sent information and items of interest to Chester County that he discovered working or travelling. He began compiling an updated Darlington genealogy, based on Gilber Cope’s Genealogy of the Darlington Family, published in 1900. 

Marwood Darlington returned to Chester County in 1962 and worked part as an assistant librarian at CCHS, along with being a personal genealogist and researcher. He retired in 1976, but continued as a library volunteer. Mr. Darlington would complete many projects and shared his extensive knowledge of Chester County history. Mr. Darlington operated a private genealogy research practice and was a active researcher at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg State Archives, and other places Darlington’s research took him.

He was a quiet and gentle man whose hobbies were music and travel. In his youth, he studied violin and sang for many years in the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church choir in Washington, D.C. His biography of Patrick Gilmore, a nineteenth century Irish band leader, was published in 1950. His trips were planned around historical and scenic sites. For Mr. Darlington, it was a source of pride to have visited all fifty U.S. states as well as Canada and Europe. He never married and lived in the family home at 309 Union Street in West Chester with his brother Maurice. It was the same house that his parents inherited from his mother’s parents and where he lived most of his life. Marwood Darlington died on August 26, 1992 at Friends Hall in West Chester following an illness.

Collections Scope:

Marwood Darlington. 1912-1992, willed his collection of family genealogical data, his personal family genealogical filed of letters, manuscripts, charts, and pictures as well as his notebook genealogy of the Darlington family to the Chester County Historical Society.

Information For Researchers:

  • Access:
    This collection is open to researchers.
  • Acquisition Information:
    Acc #: L. 1992. 12. 15

Collection Arrangement:

The collection, a total of sixty-nine boxes, has been divided into four broad categories keeping the basic order imposed by Marwood Darlington.

PART I.          BOXES 1-21. PERSONAL LIFE, HOBBIES — diaries, correspondence with family and friends; scrapbooks covering Mr. Darlington’s life; the Brinton Family and the Brinton Family Association autographs collection; hobbies: travel, music, church.

PART II.        BOXES 22-46. PROFESSIONAL LIFE & CAREER — Mr. Darlington’s army service, writing career, library career, and his work as a genealogical researcher.

PART III.       BOXES 47-62. THE DARLINGTON FAMILY & RELATED FAMILIES — information, a genealogy, documents, & materials on the Darlington family, and on individual Darlingtons, as well as related families.

PART IV.       BOXES 63 – 69. MISCELLANEOUS, PHOTOS, MEMORABILIA, & OVERSIZE — miscellaneous materials, photographs, slides, postcard collection, memorabilia, ephemeral materials, & oversize items.

Collections Contents: