20th-Century Collections Guide: Religion

Collections relating to religion include the histories of churches located in the Philadelphia region as well as the religious activities of ethnic and immigrant communities.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive guide to HSP's manuscript collections relating to 20th-century religious history. It is meant to serve as a starting point to help users locate collections that may be of interest to them.

See the 20th-Century Collections Guide main page.

HSP staff is regularly adding finding aids to the website. Users should click on a collection's title to see whether a full online finding aid is available.

Behuncik, Edward J.
Edward J. Behuncik papers, 1918-1993 (Collection MSS170) 16 boxes (7.4 linear ft.)
Edward J. Behuncik was a lawyer, founder of the Slovak World Congress and participant in other organizations related to Slovakia and the Democratic Party.  The papers reflect Behuncik's civic, community, political and religious activities. The papers include minutes, speeches, correspondence, reports, printed materials, clippings, directories, photos, diplomas, posters, artifacts and other materials.

Boyko, Anna Kobryn
Anna Kobryn Boyko papers, 1910-1973 (Collection MSS024) 1 box (0.4 linear ft.) Immigrating to the United States from Tuchne, Peremshyl Province, Ukraine in 1913, Boyko and her family settled in Philadelphia in 1918.  She was active in organizing Ukrainian societies in Philadelphia, including the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America and the Ukrainian Women's Organization.  She also helped to found Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church.  The collection contains diaries, an autobiography, correspondence, and writings by Boyko, as well as materials concerning the Central Council of Ukrainian Women in America, Philadelphia Chapter.

Edmunds, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1857-1941
Albert Joseph Edmunds papers, 1844-1941 (Collection 1342) 53 boxes 1 volume (22 linear ft.)
Albert Joseph Edmunds was a noted Biblical scholar and the cataloger of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The collection includes: correspondence, 1867-1941, notebooks, diaries, 1874-1929, notes on religion, cults, ballads, writings, essays, poems, bills and receipts, and spiritual lectures. The collection also includes correspondence to Benjamin Smith Lyman on vegetarianism while Lyman was in Japan.

Episcopal Church. Diocese of Pennsylvania. Episcopal Churchwomen
Episcopal Church, Diocese of Pennsylvania, Episcopal Churchwomen records, 1898-1975 (Collection 2106) 4 boxes (1.3 linear ft.)
The Diocesan Committee of the Women's Auxiliary of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, covering southeastern Pennsylvania, was formed in 1898 to increase the number of parishes and to assist established missions.  The Diocesan Committee concentrated its early efforts of missionary work by assisting the female population in orphanages, reformatories, prisons and hospitals.  Subsequently, the Committee concerned itself with cultural displacement, prison and hospital conditions, orphans, the impact of the Depression and finally with employment and job training.  Sometime after 1970, the Committee was subsumed together with two other branches of Episcopal Churchwomen into the new "Department of Diocesan Ministries." Records, 1898-1975, include minutes, 1898-1972, (1923-24 are missing) with indexes, 1898-1970 & a card index, 1989-1970; newsletters, 1921-1942; miscellaneous reports, memos and background papers, 1920-1969; correspondence, 1908-1974; files on missions, ca. 1938; treasurers' files, 1920-1963; auditors' reports, 1941-1956 and a volume of A History of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, annotated by Betsey Tilden Wells ( last chairperson of the Committee).

First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia
First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia collection, circa 1867-1955 (Collection 3089) 3 boxes (1 linear ft.)
The First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia first met in 1852 and ratified its official constitution in 1864. This small collection contains a detailed scrapbook, printed materials, and the constitution of the organization.  The collection also contains pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines documenting other Spiritualist groups in the Delaware Valley.

Hoh, Yam Tong, 1898-1987
Yam Tong Hoh papers, circa 1910-1987 (Collection MSS126) 64 boxes (26.5 linear ft.)
Born in Fushan, China, Hoh received his education at Stanford University, San Anselmo Theological Seminary and Columbia University Teachers College.  He returned to China to head the True Light Middle School.  After World War II, he came to the United States to head the Chinese Community Center in Oakland, California, and to serve the Chinese Congregational Church in Berkeley.  He was called to lead the Chinese Christian Church and Center of Philadelphia in 1954.  After his retirement from the ministry in 1967, he became first director of On Lok House, which provided subsidized housing for Asian elderly.  The collection consists of correspondence, writings, uncataloged photographs, and numerous administrative records and printed materials, the bulk of which relate to Hoh's work in the Chinese-American community of Philadelphia.  In English and Chinese.

Hoh, Yam Tong and Daisy Law
Yam Tong Hoh and Daisy Law papers, 1919-1977 (Collection 3020) 2 boxes (0.85 linear ft.)
The Papers of Rev. Yam Tong and Daisy Law Hoh span the years 1919 to 1977, and focus primarily on their lives while residing in the United States as emigrants from China. The collection reflects the work of Yam Tong as an educator and Reverend in both California and Philadelphia, as well as his untiring work for the True Light School of Hong Kong. The collection complements the Reverend Dr. Yam Tong Hoh Papers (MSS 126),  located at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, by providing biographical material on Yam Tong's first wife, Daisy Law Hoh, as well as Rev. Hoh.

Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church
Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church records, 1939-1975 (Collection MSS030) 1 box (0.4 linear ft.)
Holy Redeemer Chinese Roman Catholic Church was founded in Philadelphia's Chinatown in 1941 as a mission church of the parish of St. John the Evangelist. The collection consists of the unbound contents of two scrapbooks: programs, invitations, announcements, newspaper clippings, and personal correspondence from contributors to the scrapbooks.

Matlack, T. Chalkley (Thomas Chalkley), 1858-1945
T. Chalkley Matlack collection, 1912-1939 (Collection 0401) 21 boxes (18 linear ft.)
T. Chalkley Matlack was a Quaker artist and scholar interested in public education in Philadelphia.  The collection contains Quakeriana, including historical sketches and pictures of Friends meeting houses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, and the boarding homes, schools, and burial grounds associated with them; also historical notes on several Friends meeting houses. There are also literary and musical manuscripts, including synopses of novels, bibliographies, biographical sketches, literary quotations, and water color sketches of maps, scenes, coats of arms, and characters in works of Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, and George Moritz Ebers, the Egyptian romancer; notes on the lives and works of 160 composers of music.  Other items in the collection include Cooper maps, 1911-1913; Cooper dictionary, 1914; Waverly maps, 1912-1923; Ebers maps, 1919; Ebers dictionary, 1919; and Aeolian records, 1916-1919, 1922.

Matlack, T. Chalkley (Thomas Chalkley), 1858-1945
Thomas Chalkley Matlack diaries, 1887-1945 (Collection Am .098550) 5 volumes (0.9 linear ft.)
Thomas Chalkley Matlack was a teacher at Friends Central School in Philadelphia. This collection consists of four typescript volumes and one manuscript volume, 1887-1945, describing Matlack's daily life, teaching, family relationships, and Quaker society.

Old First Reformed Church
Old First Reformed Church records, 1741-1976 (Collection 3010) 104 boxes 246 volumes (42 linear ft.)
The Old First Reformed Church of Philadelphia was founded as the German Reformed Church of Philadelphia in 1727. Its records document over two hundred years of one of Philadelphia's oldest congregations. The collection includes administrative, financial, pastoral, membership, and Sunday school records. Also included are materials from other church organizations and projects, church services and events, higher church bodies and related congregations, and the congregation's documentation and interpretation of its own history.