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.

 

 

9/4/13
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!

Comments: 2
8/27/13
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.

Comments: 2
8/20/13
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.

Comments: 0
8/6/13
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
Comments: 0
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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7/30/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Legend has it that the infamous pirate Blackbeard frequently visited Marcus Hook (Delaware County, Pennsylvania) to visit his mistress, Margaret. The Chichester Historical Society is dedicating to sharing and preserving the stories of Marcus Hook, the Borough of Trainer, and the townships of Upper and Lower Chichester.

Comments: 3
7/23/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Several generations of Seifert family ciphering books (school books) trace the history of the family as well as the history of educational practice. The collection, held at the Springfield Township Historical Society (Bucks County, Pa.), documents one of the oldest families in the area. 

Comments: 2
7/16/13
Author: Faith Charlton

As we've recounted before, not all of the small repositories that we survey for this project are necessarily "small." Most of the places we visit have, on average, about 7 to 10 archival collections. However, there have been a couple of outliers whose numbers far exceed the average, including the Delaware County Historical Society (located in Chester, Pa.), which has over 45 collections!

Comments: 1
7/8/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Chadds Ford in Delaware County, Pennsylvania is renowned as the home of the Brandywine School. The influential American illustrator Howard Pyle held art classes in the area around the turn of the 20th century, attracting an extensive list of important artists including Maxfield Parrish, Violet Oakley, and N.C. Wyeth.

Comments: 0
7/2/13
Author: Faith Charlton

Initially earning his living by farming and cattle droving, Newtown Square resident William T. Davis (1830-1916) decided to purchase the Newtown Square Inn in 1868.

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