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.

 

 

2/13/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

In the twenty-first century, perhaps the only thing more anachronistic than an organization with a 15-word name is a vigilante group dedicated to stamping out horse thieves. In many ways, finding archival records from 1819 of "The Newtown Reliance Company for the Detecting and Apprehending of Horse Thieves and Other Villains" at the Newtown Historic Association was less surprising than learning that the group is still active in the year 2013.

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2/6/13
Author: Faith Charlton

While surveying the archival collections of small repositories, Celia and I often find some entertaining items that document the more flavorful aspects of everyday life in neighborhoods and towns. Our visit to the Roxborough-Manayunk-Wissahickon Historical Society was no exception.

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2/4/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Last Saturday (February 2nd, 2013), HSP's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories held a "Meet & Greet" and orientation to introduce Bucks County organizations to the project. It was held at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown.

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1/30/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

I was initially disappointed that we had a January appointment to survey the archival collections at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania--nothing would be in bloom! But luckily for us, and for researchers everywhere, over 1,000 historic photographs from the Arboretum's archives have been digitized and can be viewed online. You don't have to use your imagination to see the Arboretum in springtime or in 1890: just look at http://morrisarboretum.pastperfect-online.com!

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1/24/13
Author: Faith Charlton

The Village of Fallsington in Falls Township, Pennsylvania became the first historic district in Bucks County and was subsequently placed on the National Register of Historic Places largely due to the efforts of Historic Fallsington, Inc.

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1/9/13
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

HCI-PSAR staff visited 47 repositories and surveyed about 4,600 linear feet of archival holdings during the 14-month pilot phase of the project! We created a new interactive map on the HSP website so you can see where we've been.

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1/2/13
Author: Faith Charlton

As I mentioned in my last blog post, History Affiliates is sponsoring a two-part workshop for establishing a maintenance program for historic museums, houses, and sites that begins January 17. Coincidentally, Celia and I recently visited an historic house that serves as an outstanding model and success story for other history and heritage organizations.

Comments: 4
12/26/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Frankly, we've been merry-making all weekend and we're not in the mood to write a proper blog post this week. Instead, we're going to share with you some of our favorite Christmas- and New Year's-related finds from the archives of small repositories. 

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12/21/12
Author: Faith Charlton

Would you like to learn more about maintaining your historic house or museum? You know, the beast that eats up most your budget? Then you will be pleased to know that HSP's History Affiliates program is sponsoring a two-part workshop that will outline the components of a maintenance program and provide you with the basic tools for preparing such a plan.

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12/19/12
Author: Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

When the First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia established a summer compound in Parkland (Bucks County, Pa.) in 1890, they reputedly chose the spot based on a message from the spirit world: "Thar's gold in that thar hill of Parkland!" The location is not far from the present-day Historic Langhorne Association, a gold mine of archival information on Parkland.

Topics: Religion
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