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.

 

 

6/17/14
Author: Sarah Leu

History buff, school teacher, musician, radio commentator, collector- Christian Carmack Sanderson (1882-1966) donned all of these hats and more! Born in Port Providence, Pennsylvania (Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County), Sanderson lived in and around that area until he went to West Chester Normal School (now West Chester University) in the fall of 1898.

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6/10/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

It's still a few months before football starts, but if you can't wait that long, remember that archival research is always in season! Youth football in King of Prussia "kicked off" in 1956 when the King of Prussia Indians team was formed by Mary and Dave Vannicelli. Still going strong nearly 60 years later, the story of the sports organization, now known as the Upper Merion Viking Youth Football Association, is told in the Mary and Dave Vannicelli collection on the King of Prussia Football Association. The collection can be found at the King of Prussia Historical Society in Montgomery County, Pa.

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6/3/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

For LGBT Pride Month this June, we are celebrating the John J. Wilcox Jr. GLBT Archives of Philadelphia at the William Way Center. Their recently awarded $330,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation will help turn the Center's Archives into one of the top facilities for LGBT history in the region and the country!

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5/28/14
Author: Sarah Leu

During the second half of the 19th century, Philadelphia was known as “The Workshop of the World.” Unlike many other cities in the United States that had become known for a particular industry, Philadelphia was known for its variety of industry, especially in the area north of Market Street and east of 10th Street, part of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. Among these streets one could find clock manufacturers, tin and sheet iron factories, shoe factories, toy factories, and several other manufacturing companies.

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5/20/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Calling all ferroequinologists! If you are interested in the history of trains, specifically Philadelphia suburban trolleys around the turn of the 20th century, catch the next Norristown High Speed Line to the Haverford Township Historical Society. The Society is home to a large collection of glass plates and photographs from railroad engineer Wilbur Hall.

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5/13/14
Author: Sarah Leu

Sellersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania is named for one of its prominent citizens, Samuel Sellers. In the 18th century, Sellers built and operated Sellers’ Tavern on the main road in town and also served in the Pennsylvania legislature and as a sheriff for Bucks County. The tavern built by Sellers was a focal point around which the rest of the community grew, and it even served as the town’s post office for many years.

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5/6/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Abraham Fetters met a tragic end, dead by his own hand at the age of 65 in 1893. However, he left a long and dispersed legacy, living in the hearts of over 1,800 pupils he taught in four decades as an educator, and recorded in the documents that are now gathered in the archival collections of the Upper Uwchlan Township Historic Commission (Chester County, Pennsylvania).

Topics: Education
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4/29/14
Author: Sarah Leu

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005, the Mill at Anselma has a history spanning over 250 years. Some of its original mechanisms are still in place along with other equipment used from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. As a result, you can see some of the progression of the milling industry in the mill’s moving parts. The best part is that the mill still functions today!

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4/14/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Nicholas Biddle (1786-1844), best known for serving as Director of the Second National Bank of the United States, acquired the Bucks County (Pa.) property "Andalusia" from his parents-in-law 200 years ago, in 1814. Today, the house museum is open for tours and also serves as the repository for about 70 linear feet of Biddle family papers. If you are researching the Biddles or any of the innumerable arenas with which their lives intersected, you can bank on finding the archival resources you need there.

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4/9/14
Author: Sarah Leu

When it comes to archival records and manuscripts, the Radnor Historical Society in Delaware County, Pennsylvania has a little bit of everything. Its collections include business records, school records, family papers, subject files, glass plate negatives, maps, and the records of a variety of local clubs and associations.

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