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.

 

 

10/8/13
Author: Faith Charlton

According to local legend, Lewis Wernwag, owner of a Phoenixville nail works mill, named the mill Phoenix Iron Company because the fiery red hot iron reminded him of the Phoenix (the mythical bird that dies and then rises from its own ashes). Shortly thereafter, what was once the small village of Manavon in Chester County, Pa., began to be referred to as Phoenixville.

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10/2/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Now that it's October, my mind is on Halloween. Especially since our recent visit to Historic Sugartown uncovered some exemplars of eerie Victorian-era practices, namely a post-mortem daguerreotype and a hair album!

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9/25/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

October is nearly upon us again, but that's no reason to fear ghosts, ghouls, or acidic non-archival folders. Forget Halloween, this October is all about Archives Month Philly!

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9/16/13
Author: Faith Charlton

Within the past few months, Celia and I created two resources that we hope will assist researchers in locating archival collections that may be of use to them.

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9/11/13
Author: Faith Charlton

If you were to travel through Lower Makefield Township in Bucks County during the first half of the 20th century, your olfactory senses would have likely been consumed by the sweet aroma of roses, and perhaps the not-so-sweet smell of what fertilized the internationally-renowned flowers grown on Joseph Heackock's 40 acre farm.

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9/5/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

HSP's upcoming History in Pennsylvania Awards (HIP Awards) next month will honor several organizations that participated in the "Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories." We're very proud of them, and hope that you'll join us on October 24, 2013, to celebrate their accomplishments!

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8/28/13
Author: Faith Charlton

Celia and I recently finished processing one on the highlights of the Historical Society of Tacony's collection: the Thomas W. South papers, 1861-1919. South was a prominent and influential figure in the Tacony section of Philadelphia as well as the city at large around the turn of the 20th century through his involvement in real estate, transportation, and local politics.

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8/21/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

If you're hungry for a meal--and for some friendly discussion about the best way to grow the food for that meal--you might want to join the Solebury Farmers Club. Founded in 1871 and still in existence, the club is among the oldest agricultural organizations in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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8/7/13
Author: Faith Charlton

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Yardley (Bucks County, Pa.), an auxiliary of the WCTU of Pennsylvania, was founded in 1885. The group's stated objective, as outlined in its first minute book, was to "educate public sentiment up to the standard of total abstinence, train the young, save the inebriate, and secure the legal prohibition and complete banishment of the liquor traffic."

Topics: Women
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8/1/13
Author: Faith Charlton

William Edgar Geil (1865-1925) was an evangelical missionary and international explorer from Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania who was most likely the first individual--Chinese included-- to travel the entire Great Wall of China (in 1908).

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