About Us

Home About Us

About Us

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, founded in 1824, is one of the nation’s largest archives of historical documents. We are proud to serve as Philadelphia’s Library of American History, with over 21 million manuscripts, books, and graphic images encompassing centuries of US history. HSP serves more than 4,000 on-site researchers annually and millions more around the globe who use its online resources. HSP is also a leading center for the documentation and study of ethnic communities and immigrant experiences in the 20th century, and one of the largest family history libraries in the country. Through educator workshops, research opportunities, public programs and lectures throughout the year, we strive to make history relevant and exhilarating to all.


Strategic Plan

Read our forward-thinking strategic plan to learn how we will grow our impact and connect modern audiences with the United States' rich history.


Our History

With the addition of the holdings of The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 2002 (and those of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania in 2006 through a Strategic Alliance Agreement), HSP became a chief center for the documentation and study of the ethnic communities and immigrant experiences shared by people whose American history began more recently—between the late 19th century and today. In 2009 HSP formally transferred ownership of its museum collection to the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia (now the Philadelphia History Museum).

HSP's building at 1300 Locust Street was designed by Addison Hutton and is listed on the City of Philadelphia's Register of Historical Places.