Celia Caust-Ellenbogen

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Celia Caust-Ellenbogen is Senior Project Surveyor on the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. She began working at HSP in early 2011 under the auspices of the PACSCL-CLIR "Hidden Collections" project, and has been working on the HCI-PSAR project since September of 2011. She holds a BA in History and World Literatures from Swarthmore College, and an MLIS with a concentration in Archives, Preservation and Records Management from the University of Pittsburgh.

This Author's Posts

Last week, HCI-PSAR Project Director Jack McCarthy and I were in St.


The Delaware County Institute of Science in Media (Pa.) is the old style of natural history museum. Specimens canoodle in packed exhibition cases; an eagle perches above the lecture hall podium; a bear roars from between auditorium seats. The all-volunteer, free museum has undergone some changes since its founding in 1833, but retains its 19th century aura. It probably doesn't look much different now than it did when Graceanna Lewis (1821-1912), the well-known naturalist and social reformer, was a member.


The Historical Society of Pennsylvania offers helpful resources for National History Day (NHD), and of course, boasts many archival collections to support student research. However, for students and teachers particularly interested in local history, or who live far from HSP and want to find primary-source documents close to home, a small repository may be a good place to do research.


Established in 1892, the Philadelphia Society of Free Letts, or Filadelfijas Brīvo Latvju Biedrība (BLB), is the oldest Latvian Society outside of Latvia.

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Mushroom farming is widely carried on in Kennett Township (Chester County, Pa.), but this area is more than just the cultivator of delicious fungus. A stronghold of radical Quakers and free blacks in the 19th century, Kennett Township is a community with a rich and vibrant history. In addition to preserving historical buildings in the area, the Kennett Township Historical Commission collects documents relating to the township's history.


One of the first churches in the United States founded by and for persons of African descent, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas is significant in the history of Philadelphia, the Episcopal Church, and civil rights. Its founder, the Reverend Absalom Jones (1746-1818), was the first person of African descent ordained in the Episcopal Church of the United States.


Dr. Albert C. Barnes (1872-1951) is almost as famous for being an eccentric, innovative curmudgeon as he is for amassing a world-class art collection. Less well known is his collaborator Violette de Mazia (1896-1988), who served as his right-hand woman towards the end of his life, especially when it came to the administration of the Barnes Foundation's art education program.


It's still a few months before football starts, but if you can't wait that long, remember that archival research is always in season! Youth football in King of Prussia "kicked off" in 1956 when the King of Prussia Indians team was formed by Mary and Dave Vannicelli. Still going strong nearly 60 years later, the story of the sports organization, now known as the Upper Merion Viking Youth Football Association, is told in the Mary and Dave Vannicelli collection on the King of Prussia Football Association. The collection can be found at the King of Prussia Historical Society in Montgomery County, Pa.


For LGBT Pride Month this June, we are celebrating the John J. Wilcox Jr. GLBT Archives of Philadelphia at the William Way Center. Their recently awarded $330,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation will help turn the Center's Archives into one of the top facilities for LGBT history in the region and the country!

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Calling all ferroequinologists! If you are interested in the history of trains, specifically Philadelphia suburban trolleys around the turn of the 20th century, catch the next Norristown High Speed Line to the Haverford Township Historical Society. The Society is home to a large collection of glass plates and photographs from railroad engineer Wilbur Hall.