Fondly, Pennsylvania

Fondly, Pennsylvania is a joint blog of HSP's archives, conservation, and digitization departments.  Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well as how we care for, describe, and preserve our collections.  Whether you are doing research or just curious to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at HSP, please read, explore, and join the conversation!

Author: Matt McNelis

In the fall of 2011, through a generous grant by I was given the task of re-housing the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s largest funeral home collection, the Oliver H. Bair Company collection. The collection consists of over 1050 boxes of burial records that the company had amassed over six decades of operation, from 1920-1980 to be exact.

Topics: 20th century
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Author: Mary Tasillo

The Cassel Collection (Collection 1610) is one of twenty-one collections documenting immigrant and ethnic history receiving processing, digitization, and conservation treatment as part of the Digital Center for Americana Project Phase II. Abraham H. Cassel (1820-1908) was a collector of books and materials related to Pennsylvania German religious history.

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Author: Sarah Newhouse

I’m sure many of you have seen the “What I Do” meme that did the rounds a while back. The meme itself is old news, but I recently stumbled across a “What I Do” image for archivists this week on the Syracuse University’s Special Collections Research Center blog.

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Author: Dana Dorman

I'm excited to report that we've moved on to the next phase of the Greenfield Digital Project: researching and annotating our 324 selected primary-source documents.

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Author: Matt Shoemaker

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is proud to announce that more than 6,100 collection level records are now available online through  Many of these records were previously unavailable online making this a valuable addition for researchers.  Information on nearly every collection at HSP is now available on These records provide a summary of each collection that will aid you in your research.  Examples of materials never before described online include:

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Author: Cary Hutto

My work at HSP revolves around our manuscript collections, whether I'm processing, accessioning, researching, or paging.  And I've dealt with many collections over the past several years of all shapes, sizes, and conditions.  Because this work has become somewhat rote for me, and because so many collections regularly cross my desk, it's easy for me to overlook the unique facets of each.  Our collections, known or unknown, each have human histories and carry along with them aspects of their creators.  Two adopt-a-c

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Author: Ashley Harper

For the last several weeks and for the next several weeks I'll be working with the Cassel Collection # 1610. So far, cataloguing and digitizing them for online use has been challenging.

Handling these often fragile volumes is something that requires delicate attention. They have fragile pages and tight binding which doesn't lend to being photographed easily. I often have to use a book cradle which, is two wedge shaped pieces of foam, to support the book. The cradles go underneath the book and when photographed from above the book usually looks slightly angled.

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Author: Jill Straub

While I sit at my wooden, kitchen table in Michigan processing metadata for a collection of drawings and paintings of mansions, buildings, and landscapes, most of which have been swept away by the passage of time, I am over 700 miles away from the unfamiliar streets of Philadelphia. As I approach the midway point in my internship with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, I find that the most challenging and yet, most enjoyable aspect of processing the metadata for David J.

Topics: Philadelphia
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Author: Ashley Harper

Wednesday March 7th, Sarah and I hosted an experimental tour for a small group of high school students. This tour, funded by HPP/Pew Charitable Trusts gave us the opportunity to explore a rather routine area of our work (student tours) with a new creative eye. Our task was to improve this tour in ways that ordinarily didn't seem possible due to constraints like time, money, people, etc.

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Author: Hillary Kativa

In an era when millions “keep up” with the Kardashians, it’s easy to see tabloid culture as a modern phenomenon, an ill effect of our 24-hour news cycle and social media that puts every tweet and Facebook update at our fingertips. But one need only look to the Lindbergh baby, Bonnie and Clyde, and countless others to see the nation’s fascination with celebrity and scandal is nothing new.

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