Historical Society of Pennsylvania Launches an Online Store

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prints of maps, watercolors, and other documents available in time for the holiday season

 Looking for a unique, memorable holiday gift? The Historical Society of Pennsylvania recently launched an online store, where visitors can purchase high-quality reproductions of historic documents from the Society’s collection for the first time. The store, at http://shop.hsp.org, offers a selection of maps, watercolors, and theater posters. Proceeds from the store will support the programs of the Historical Society, one of the oldest historical societies in the country.

The store features a number of historic maps, including one of the earliest maps of the City of Philadelphia, drawn by Thomas Holme in 1683. Other prints for sale include a 1783 map by John Wallis depicting the United States after the signing of the Treaty of Paris and a colorful 1850 map showing the wards of the city.

The store also includes a collection of 45 watercolors painted by David Johnson Kennedy, a Scottish native who settled in Philadelphia. Kennedy was a self-taught artist who painted scenes of Philadelphia and views of the Jersey Shore in the mid-1800s. Also for sale are prints of colorful theater posters from the Historical Society’s collection, most dating from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The posters advertise plays, musicals, and other variety acts.

All works are printed on acid-free German etching paper by Brilliant Studio in Exton, Pennsylvania. Every nuance of the original work is captured by state-of-the-art photography, and each print is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The items in the shop represent only a small fraction of the 21 million items in the Historical Society’s collection. New merchandise and collections will be added to the shop regularly. In October, the Society plans to add a collection of holiday cards, featuring images from the collection.

In addition to high-quality prints, the store offers several other unique gift ideas. Consider purchasing a gift-of-membership to the Historical Society for a friend, family member or colleague. Membership starts at only $75 for a full year of benefits. Members enjoy free admission to the society's research library, invitations to special events and exhibits, free subscriptions to the society's history magazine and scholarly journal, and access to genealogical records that will delight any family historian.

For another thoughtful gift, visitors can “adopt” a collection or a portion of a collection. HSP has many collections that are in need of organization, improved descriptions, and preservation in order to ensure that they are properly cared for and accessible to researchers. Your gift will enable us to properly organize, inventory, and catalog collections so that researchers can more easily identify relevant materials. Choose from a number of featured collections on the online stores—everything from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In addition to high-quality prints, the store sells other related merchandise, including globes, model ships, and decorative items that would be a perfect gift or addition to your home. The shop also features a selection of books, which are recommended by Historical Society staff or reviewed in our history magazine Pennsylvania Legacies. On the shop, visitors can make a donation to the Historical Society’s Annual Fund, renew their membership, or adopt a collection. Historical Society members receive a 10 percent discount on purchases of high-quality prints and other select merchandise.

For digital images of the merchandise or for more information, please contact Lauri Cielo, director of programs and communications, at 215-732-6200 ext. 233 or lcielo@hsp.org.