While our work on the Chew project has been completed for some time now, we at HSP continue to work hard on many other archives and conservation projects to make our collections accessible and available to the public.
You can read more about our work on collections like the Friends of the Benjamin Franklin House, the Allen Family Papers, A.A. Humphreys, George Meade, and many others at our new blog Fondly, Pennsylvania. Please join us!
Likely obvious to anyone who has read previous entries to this blog, the Chew Family Papers contain a great deal of information about the family’s land holdings. Primarily through the speculative efforts of Benjamin Chew and his son Benjamin Jr., the Chews owned thousands of acres of land throughout Pennsylvania, as well as substantial tracts in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. Their land acquisition, spread out over the course of nearly a century, created a huge volume of paperwork. Many months of this project were spent sorting through and organizing the land papers.
We have been hard at work here in the 4th floor processing room, tidying up our finding aid, working on EAD tagging, labeling boxes, and just generally tying up loose ends. There are just 13 work days left in the project, and we are simply thrilled that we have managed to make this formidable collection much more accessible to researchers.
Since the completion of processing last week, I have had the chance to go back through previously processed series to tweak the finding aid description. This has also included the exciting task of numbering each folder, now that we are sure there are no more documents lurking around to be added.
Avid blog followers may remember this post from back in August of 2008... Those oversized maps and documents that we unrolled for the first time so many months ago are finally receiving conservation treatment!
One of the good things about the latest find of material has been the addition of information about later generations of the Chew family. The boxes we are in the process of adding contain materials related to the children of Samuel Chew (d. 1887). In addition to all of the office files that document the management of the family's estates and property, there are personal letters from Elizabeth B. Chew, Anne S.P. (Chew) Alston, Oswald Chew, Samuel Chew Jr. and others. In one envelope, there were a series of "messages" that looked like correspondence.
A few weeks ago now, I was feeling pretty good about the progress of the Chew Papers processing project. We had just reported to NEH that we had only 8-10 linear feet to process, and I was finally able to really imagine the project being finished. I was nearly finished with the last large series of papers, and expecting processing to be completed by early May. And then, everything changed. (Okay, so I'm being quite dramatic here, but that is definitely how it felt.)