Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Celia Caust-Ellenbogen is Senior Project Surveyor on the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. She began working at HSP in early 2011 under the auspices of the PACSCL-CLIR "Hidden Collections" project, and has been working on the HCI-PSAR project since September of 2011. She holds a BA in History and World Literatures from Swarthmore College, and an MLIS with a concentration in Archives, Preservation and Records Management from the University of Pittsburgh.

This Author's Posts

The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories is gearing up to begin surveying in Chester and Delaware counties.


The Society of American Archivists (SAA) focuses on disaster preparedness every May 1st by promoting "MayDay: Saving Our Archives." 


The property on which local historian Ned Harrington lived in Carversville (Bucks County, Pa.) has a long, complex history. At times a school, a resort, a sanitarium, and an orphanage, chronicling the property's tangled background might have taken a lesser historian decades.

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Did John Fitch start the transportation revolution in Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania? The John Fitch Steamboat Museum argues that the answer to this question is a resounding "Yes!" After all, it was in Warminster in 1785 that Fitch invented the first American steam engine feasible for propelling a boat. Several years later, he ran the world's first commercial steamboat service in 1790, along the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Trenton. (Although, even free beer, rum, and sausages could not entice enough customers to keep the operation viable.)

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Mark your calendars! The second annual History Affiliates Awards Luncheon will be held on October 25, 2013 at the Union League of Philadelphia.


The United States unemployment rate for February 2013 was 7.7%, which isn't great, but really isn't that bad. Especially when compared to unemployment rates during the Great Depression. When William E. Collier began working for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Employment Security in the 1930s, the national unemployment rate was upwards of 20%. His work with the Works Progress Administration, unemployment compensation, and labor unions--as well as his local history research and photographs of Bucks County--are meticulously documented in Collier's collection at the Historical Society of Hilltown Township.


When the New Hope Public Health Nursing Association was organized in 1920, it was the only public nursing group in that part of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The first nurse who was employed traveled her coverage area on a bicycle! The story of the organization, which dissolved in 1969, contains embedded narratives about changes in public health needs, the professionalization of the healthcare industry, women's roles, and many others subjects.


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.


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.


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!