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 important but often hidden archival collections held by the many small, primarily volunteer-run historical organizations in the Philadelphia area. 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.

 

 

3/12/14
Author: Sarah Leu

Like several of today’s suburbs outside of Philadelphia, Wallace Township (Chester County) used to be home to many farmsteads in the 18th and early 19th centuries. However, by the late 19th century, the railroad had made its way to these rural communities, bringing with it an influx of Philadelphians eager to establish summer residences away from the city. Among these Philadelphians were the Howsons.

Topics: Women
Comments: 0
3/5/14
Author: Sarah Leu

The area now known as Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania was once occupied by the Leni-Lenape (Delaware) and Iroquoian-speaking Susquehanuck peoples, and many of the footpaths they created are still in use today as roads that crisscross through the Township. Welsh Quakers were the main European group to settle in Uwchlan, requesting their own meeting in 1712.

Topics: Civil War
Comments: 0
2/25/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

For decades, Stinson Markley's land in Charlestown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania was used to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and even wild turkeys. The Markley farm is now owned by the Charlestown Historical Society, which is sown with carefully tended archival documents, the information contained therein ripe for reaping by historians and other researchers!

Topics: 20th century
Comments: 0
2/19/14
Author: Sarah Leu

The Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society has a variety of materials documenting the long and rich history of these two Main Line townships and their residents. The collections include subject files, maps, numerous photographs, family albums, manuscripts and other items helpful for research.

Comments: 0
2/12/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

"The father of gospel music," African American minister Charles A. Tindley (1851-1933) grew his Philadelphia church into one of the largest Methodist congregations in the United States in the 1920s. Tindley, the man and his church, are the topic of this week's blog post, continuing our Black History Month mini-series from last week. The Charles A. Tindley Institute (CATI), located at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, is dedicated to telling the story of Tindley's life and legacy.

Comments: 0
2/5/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Tell all your friends! February is Black History Month, and one of the best places to study Black history in this city is at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP). One of the largest and most robust archival repositories we have visited thus far, AAMP's collections document African Americans active in the arts, medicine, politics, sports, and many other arenas. In this blog I will highlight just a few of my favorite AAMP collections.

Comments: 2
1/29/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Last fall HCI-PSAR facilitated a pilot internship program that paired emerging archivists in need of hands-on experience with small repositories in need of processing assistance and large repositories willing to train and supervise the intern. We matched intern Tracy Ulmer with the Chestnut Hill Historical Society and Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Tracy reflected on the Jessie Laird Brodie, M.D. papers, the Philadelphia Canoe Club records, and her other experiences in the blog below.

Comments: 0
1/23/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Last fall HCI-PSAR facilitated a pilot internship program that paired emerging archivists in need of hands-on experience with small repositories in need of processing assistance and large repositories willing to train and supervise the intern. One of our interns, Sarah Leu, has just written a blog post about her experience! We matched Sarah with the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Comments: 0
1/15/14
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Before embarking on the HCI-PSAR project, I had no idea how many signficant world explorers called the Philadelphia area home. On a recent visit to the Sharon Hill Historical Society (Delaware County, Pa.), I learned about Arctic explorer George W. Melville (1841-1912). He joins the ranks of William Edgar Geil, the Doylestown native who walked the entire length of the Great Wall of China and visited parts of Africa and Oceania around the turn of the 19th century. Melville was also a naval engineer, like John Ericsson, whose papers we surveyed at the American Swedish Historical Museum.

Comments: 0
1/9/14
Author: Sarah Leu

Raise your hand if you knew that Delaware County is home to eastern Pennsylvania’s own version of Colonial Williamsburg! Nestled on 112 acres of Ridley Creek State Park in Edgmont, PA is the beautiful Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. In the early 1970s, a local historical society established the beginnings of what would become Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, formerly known as Bishop’s Mill Historical Institute, with the goal of showing visitors what life was like for an everyday person living and working at a farm or mill in the colonial period.

Comments: 0