Founded in 1824 by a group of seven men, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest historical societies in the country. Along with an impressive manuscript and graphic collection that span over 300 years of history, the Society holds many documents important to the founding and collective identity of the nation, including the first handwritten draft of the U.S. Constitution and a printed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln.
It was only 100 years ago that the Society found a permanent home at 13th and Locust Streets. In its first 60 years, the Society was nomadic, moving from one rented space to the next, always in search of a permanent home. Through these wanderings the Society’s collection and prominence continued to grow, and today it is one of the finest research libraries in the country.