Sarah Newhouse

Sarah has been a project archivist at HSP since July 2011. She also works on digital projects, including Closed for Business: The Story of Bankers Trust Company During the Great Depression; Preserving American Freedom; and the upcoming William Still project.

This Author's Posts

It's an old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the Internet age, how do you make those "words" meaningful and searchable in Google? This question is at the heart of a new two-year project HSP has undertaken to enhance description and discovery of its graphics materials and promote the linking and sharing of content among institutions and scholars.

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As Halloween approaches, this seems like the right time to share a few of the skeletons in our closets here at HSP. Actual skeletons. Well, actual drawings and prints of skeletons. And they're from our vaults and stacks, not closets, but that was too good of a lead-in to waste.

skeleton anatomical engraving

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In the wake of the historic Supreme Court decision on the Defence of Marriage Act and on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, now seems like an appropriate time to highlight some of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's collections related to LGBT movements and history. This is not, of course, an exhaustive list.


Some of the collections here at HSP aren't just useful to genealogists -- they were created by genealogists. One of these is the Batcheler, Hartshorne, and Sahlin families papers (collection 3173), which span several generations and centuries. The collection was curated by Penelope (Penny) Hartshorne Batcheler (1928-2007), a Philadelphia restoration architect who was involved in the restoration of Independence Hall in the 1960s and many other local projects.


Philadelphia is a city of firsts, including both the first brick house and pianoforte built in the United States, as well as the first published treatise against slavery. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Philadelphia was also home to the first chartered, national bank. The Bank of North America was initially founded by the Second Continental Congress in 1781 to help fund the expensive Revolutionary War, which was badly in need of money and supplies.


When archivists and records management types talk about documents, we often talk about their "life cycle." The life cycle of a document can be a complex system of users, creators, and formats, but at its most basic, the life cycle has two parts: 1) useful to original users for the original purpose and 2) not useful to original users for the original purpose. When a document enters the second phase of its life cycle -- its afterlife -- it becomes potential archival material.

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One of the projects currently underway in the HSP archives is the processing of the Woodlands Cemetery Company records, which document the growth of the historic cemetery from its founding in the 1840s through the 1980s. Although still an active cemetery, the WCC has donated some of its records to HSP to be processed, conserved, cleaned, and permanently housed here.

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(This blog post was co-authored by Digital Center of Americana II archives intern, Kyriakoula Micha.)

Athena Tacha is a Greek American sculptor, photographer, and conceptual artist who frequently works on large, public sculptures and spaces -- including Connections, at Franklin Town Park at 18th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia (seen below).

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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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