Archival Adventures in Small Repositories

The goal of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's "Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories" (HCI-PSAR) is to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections at small archival repositories in the five-county Philadelphia region. These include volunteer-run historical institutions, museums, fraternal and ethnic organizations, community groups, churches, clubs, and other non-profit organizations with important archival collections. The project is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This blog will document the adventures and experiences of Project Surveyors as they visit historical societies, museums, historic sites, and other small archival repositories in the five-county Philadelphia area.

 

 

12/7/12
Author: Faith Charlton

In honor of the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I wanted to highlight two interesting photo albums created by World War II soldiers who were stationed at the Hawaiian naval base at different times during the war.

Norman C. Brauer, Jr. wasn’t stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack; he was sent to the base afterward, working to salvage ships such as the USS Oklahoma. Brauer's scrapbook documents the success of salvage operations, and some of the Hawaiian-themed festivities the servicemen enjoyed on base.

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12/4/12
Author: Faith Charlton

It only makes sense, but isn't it somewhat ironic that the owner of a funeral home was buried by his own business?

Topics: Genealogy
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11/29/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Alice H. Ambler (1889-1981) was an independent, modern woman. Here she is pictured in her driver's license for 1923--the same year she entered a master's degree program at Columbia University. The Alice H. Ambler family papers at the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society tell Alice's story, plus the stories of other history-making Ambler women. 

Topics: Women
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11/21/12
Author: Faith Charlton

The Lansdale Historical Society, founded in 1972, works to preserve and share collections that document the history of the Borough of Lansdale and the greater North Penn area. Although some of the collections’ materials predate the Borough’s founding in 1872, the majority of collections span the late 19th century to the present. 

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11/14/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Over the past few weeks, my new co-surveyor Faith Charlton and I have been surveying some collections here at HSP in order to get Faith up to speed with the HCI-PSAR Survey Method. Our methodology is nothing revolutionary--on the contrary, it is intentionally conventional because we would like our data to be comparable to similar projects. However, over the past year we found that a few adaptations and refinements were necessary when translating the basic archival survey tool into the small repository context.

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11/7/12
Author: Faith Charlton

After a delayed start due to the Hurricane Sandy, Celia and I are off and running as we begin Phase II of the Small Repositories project.

Before traveling to the Philadelphia-area hinterlands, our first stop was to a repository that’s very close to home: the Fairmount Park Historic Resource Archives, previously the Fairmount Park Commission Archives, at 16th and Arch Streets.

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10/30/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

We hope that everyone is safe, dry, and secure in the wake of "Frankenstorm" Sandy! With all the excitement of the past few days, now is a good time to write--or review--the disaster plan for your institution.

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10/23/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Last week, Southeastern Pennsylvania's history and heritage community turned out en masse to celebrate the achivements of small history organizations in the region.

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10/3/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

We are delighted to announce that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has been awarded funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for two more years of the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories! Read the entire press release here.

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9/26/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

As the air outside chills (but stays steady indoors under the humming HVAC system), October is nearly here and American Archives Month will be upon us again. The scene is familiar, straight out of a Normal Rockwell painting: sleepy-eyed researchers rush through the archives doors, gather in the glow of UV-filtered light sources, and excitedly unwrap the treasures in their Hollinger boxes. Merry Archives Month to all!

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