For a partial list of published holdings, see the guide to Military Records. The following overview is organized chronologically by conflict.
French and Indian War - Materials can be found in the Conrad Weiser, Shippen Family, and Braddock Expedition papers, John Van Etten’s diary, and various pamphlets regarding the Paxton Boys (or Paxton Volunteers).
Revolutionary War – Documentation includes the papers of Revolutionary officers such as Anthony Wayne, William Irvine (see also the Irvine Family Papers), Edward Hand, John Cadwalader (Cadwalader Family), Daniel Cunyngham Clymer, Ann Louis de Tousard, and Baron Marie Francois Joseph Marine Cromot Du Bourg. Aaron Norcross’s diary gives a foot soldier’s perspective on the war. The Jonathan Potts Papers and Lewis Beebe diary detail army medical supplies and practices. The John Ross Papers and the records of Chaloner and White and of the Pennsylvania Salt Works concern the provisioning of troops. Civilian accounts of the war include the papers of Philadelphia druggist Christopher Marshall and of Pennsylvania Quakers Sarah Logan Fisher and various Pemberton family members. The Society also has orderly books from a number of Revolutionary War regiments and commanders.
War of 1812 and related Indian wars – These conflicts are represented in the papers of officers William Irvine (Irvine Family), George Birch (Birch Family), and the diaries of Robert Carr and British Navy sailor William Begg. The papers of Commodore John Rodgers (Rodgers Family) and shipbuilder Joshua Humphreys document the growth and operations of the U.S. Navy in the early 19th century. Administration of the Army in this period is detailed in the papers of Daniel Parker (adjutant and inspector general, 1810-1845) and Joel Roberts Poinsett (secretary of war, 1837-1841).
Mexican War – Related collections include the papers of officers John White Geary (Geary Family), George Gordon Meade, George Cadwalader (Cadwalader Family), and Franklin B. Nimocks, as well as Private John Kreitzer.
Civil War – For details on the Society’s extensive collection of Civil War materials, both published and unpublished, see the guides to Civil War Resources, Civil War Manuscripts, and Women During the Civil War. Among the more notable collections are the papers of Union generals George Gordon Meade, A. A. Humphreys, and John White Geary (Geary Family); Captain Edward A. Acton; Charles Winthrop Lowell (a White major in a Black regiment); the diaries of U.S. Navy sailor Charles Mervine and soldier James H. Walker; and Robert Knox Sneden’s drawings of Confederate prisoner-of-war camps. Civilian support for soldiers is documented in the records of the United States Sanitary Commission and Fair and the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon (see also the Samuel B. Fales Collection) and the diary of Susan Ritter Trautwine MacManus, a Moravian evangelical who visited Union soldiers in Philadelphia hospitals.
Spanish-American War – The Knepper Brothers Papers discuss U.S. naval operations during the Spanish-American War and the U.S. conquest of the Philippines that followed.
World War I – Military life is documented in the papers of army officer Ward W. Pierson, aviator Stephen H. Noyes, surgeon William Johnson Taylor II (Jones and Taylor Family), machine gun instructor Isidore Baylson, YMCA volunteer George V. Z. Long, and band member Stanley Woodburn. Edith Gillingham’s diary (Harold Edgar Gillingham Collection, #1730A) and Sarah Hallowell’s letters (Perot Family) describe wartime civilian life in France. Records of the United States Selective Service System in Philadelphia document the work of local draft boards. The records of the National League for Woman’s Service and the Pennsylvania Railroad Women’s Division of War Relief, and images from the Philadelphia War Photograph Committee document a range of home front activities. Wartime posters are gathered in the World War Posters collection.
World War II – Life in the military is documented through letters in the Edith Lincoln Leonard Papers and infantry medic Keith Winston’s manuscript, “A Soldier Called Keith.” The World War II Collection documents the debate between pro- and anti-war groups that preceded the United States’ entry into the war. The World War II Collection also includes records of the United Service Organization of Philadelphia, which offered recreation and assistance to members of the armed forces and their families. Several collections record the work of other civilian relief and service groups, including American Relief for Poland, United Seamen’s Service (John F. Lewis Papers), and the Yam Tong Hoh & Daisy Law Hoh Papers. Wartime photos can be found in the Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue. Posters can be found in the World War Posters collection.
The persecution and mass imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II is documented in the papers of Shigezo and Sonoko Iwata, Saburo and Michiyo Inouye, Marion Potts, Sumiko Kobayashi, Dean Yabuki, and several other manuscript collections, as well as microfilm copies of numerous internment camp newspapers and records of the United States Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.