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

Grab your wickets and stumps, and put on your kit! Today we're talking about the Philadelphia Cricket Club records at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. Did you know that Philadelphia used to be the cricket capital of America?


As a student of library science with a love of history, it would have been surprising if I didn't fall in love with the Union Library of Hatboro. Of course I did. Formed in 1755, this Montgomery County institution lays its claim as the second oldest library in the state, and 12th oldest in the country.


The Sesquicentennial International Exposition, held in Philadelphia in 1926, is widely considered to be a monumental flop. Hoping to recreate the success of the Centennial Exposition of 1876, funders pumped a veritable fortune into building a temporary city on what is now Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park. For goodness’ sake, the first bridge between Philadelphia and New Jersey (today known as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge) was built in greedy anticipation of hordes of paying customers. But the hordes didn’t come, and, embarrassingly, the Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association was placed in equity receivership in 1927 for its inability to pay off its debts.

Comments: 2

Who wants to come with me on a trip to Europe? We'll go visit Paris, and Rome; it'll be fun! Oh, but before you pack your bags, I should probably mention this one tiny detail: We'll be going in 1877. Many nights and days will be passed on coal-powered trains, and it's going to get pretty bumpy... The, ahem, bathroom facilities might not be quite up to 21st-century health standards... I'll just come out and admit it: this is not going to be a glamorous trip.


Happy New Year! This beautiful card comes from the archival materials at the Historical Society of Whitpain. We have learned a lot about Normandy Farm recently, since it falls in the collecting area of both the Historical Society of Whitpain and the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society.


I'm not particularly scared of Santa Claus (his freakish ability to withstand the heat inside a chimney notwithstanding). But if I had grown up in a Pennsylvania German community and heard stories about Belsnickel, I would probably be terrified. We managed to capture a rare candid photo of him while surveying the archival collections of the Goschenhoppen Historians, and you have to admit, he's a bit intimidating.

Comments: 1

What do you want for Christmas this year? Imagine if the president of your company agreed to pay off all of your debts--mortgages, hospital bills, everything--or give you $1,500 cash if you had none. Imagine if he didn't just do it for you, but agreed to pay the debts of everyone working at the company? Wouldn't that be a wonderful Christmas?

That is exactly what happened in Ambler, Pennsylvania in 1936.


Did you know that Ambler used to be the asbestos capital of the world? The appeal of that slogan doesn't really stand the test of time, but if it weren't for the industrial development that came with the Keasbey & Mattison asbestos factory, the borough of Ambler in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania wouldn't be what it is today.


When Hugo Fischer emigrated from Germany to Towamencin Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in the early 1900s, he bought a mill. At the time it seemed like a solid investment, but by the 1920s, the mill already wasn't doing as well as he had hoped. But then--opportunity! Fischer's mill was on a beautiful 14-acre property, and motorists began picnicking and asking for permission to camp in the scenic environs. Fischer recognized the lucrative possibilities, and started building facilities to entice more guests--for a fee, of course--a candy and ice cream pavilion, a boardwalk over the dam, cabanas, and a swimming pool. Before long, Fischer's Pool was a recreation destination!


More often than you'd think, we hear stories of valuable archival materials being rescued from trash heaps. For goodness' sake, it even happened with some of William Penn's papers--charged with the task of shredding Penn family documents in 1870, a "Mr. X" grew bored of his work and sold the lot for pulp to a paper mill instead. From there, luckily, the papers found their way to an auction house, and many of those same documents are now safely housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.* Yet another reason to thank savvy trash-pickers is the Sheaff journals at the Highlands Historical Society.