Sarah Leu

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Because Presidents' Day is this coming Monday, this week's blog post will highlight materials related to United States presidents that we have found in the collections of small repositories during the course of the HCI-PSAR project.


Isaiah Williamson was born into a family of Quaker farmers in Fallsington, Pennsylvania (Bucks County) on February 4, 1803. Raised on the family farm alongside seven siblings, by 1818, Williamson had begun working as an apprentice in a store near his home. Over the course of the next seven years, he saved enough money to open and run his own dry goods store in Philadelphia.


Philadelphia's Central High School is the second oldest continuously public high school in the United States. Chartered in 1836, its first building, located at Juniper and Market streets, opened its doors in 1838. The school has changed buildings three times (1854, 1900, and 1939) since then and is currently located in its fourth building at the corner of Ogontz and Olney avenues. Since 1849, Central has been allowed to grant Bachelor of Arts degrees to its graduates who have met the degree requirements. Today, Central is the only high school in the country with this ability.

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In 1956, Philadelphia area folk musicians George Britton and Mike Marmel, folk music enthusiast Joe Aronson, and other local folk artists and fans discussed the possibility of creating a group (open to performers and non-performers alike) centered around the performance and enjoyment of folk and traditional music. After further discussion, it was decided that this group would hold nine meetings each year with each meeting consisting of a small performance in an intimate setting.


St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was established in 1758 by members of Christ Church who had moved to the new neighborhood of Society Hill. This new church helped to ease the number of worshippers at Christ Church, which had begun feel the effects of overcrowding in the 1750s. It also allowed those in Society Hill to have a center of worship closer to their homes. St. Peter's remained linked to Christ Church (they were jointly run with the same rector, vestry, and wardens) under the moniker "The United Churches of Christ Church and St. Peter's" until 1832.


The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will be closed all of next week in observance of the Christmas holiday. That's why we wanted to take this time to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. As we have often done in the past at this time of year, featured below are some of the Christmas inspired images we've seen in the archives of small repositories. Enjoy!


Friends’ Central School is a co-educational, Quaker, private school for children in nursery school through 12th grade. The school was established in 1845 in Philadelphia and originally located at 4th and Cherry streets. It earned its name of Friends’ Central because its student body was comprised of the students of three different Quaker elementary schools who attended the “central” school for secondary education.


Several months ago, we surveyed at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP), which was founded in 1976 during the bicentennial celebration of the United States.


Earlier this month, the HCI-PSAR team held a symposium at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown (Bucks County, Pennsylvania). Focused on the Bucks County repositories that have participated in our project, the symposium provided an overview of where our project is now, described what's ahead for HCI-PSAR, looked at our project's findings from the 23 Bucks County repositories we surveyed, and also explored various possible next steps for repositories to take now that they have received our report.


We are very excited to announce that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has been awarded funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Phase III of the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories! Beginning in November 2014 and continuing through April 2016, Phase III will expand the project's scope to include more types of repositories with significant archival holdings, provide training opportunities and information-sharing sessions for small repository staff and volunteers, and promote HCI-PSAR as a national model.