Documentary Families Project

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania received a grant of $490,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2003 for the Documentary Families project.  Documentary Families focused on the access and preservation needs of some of the Society’s richest collections of family papers. This three-year project enabled HSP to preserve and describe dozens of these important collections, which span the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Subjects include the founding and settlement of Pennsylvania; expansion into western counties and relations with Native Americans; the American Revolution; agriculture and industrialization; Civil War; national, state, and local politics; and family life. 

Project staff processed the following collections of family papers and created finding aids for them:

Biddle, Borie, Bradford, Jasper Yeates Brinton, Coates and Reynell, Coxe, Drayton, Dwyer, Fox, Hollingsworth, Horstmann-Lippincott, Irvine-Newbold, Jones, Jones and Taylor, Lightfoot, R.R. Logan Collection, Logan-Fox-Fisher, MacVeagh, Meredith, Penington, Perot, Powel, Rawle, Rodgers, Smith-Waln, Thompson, Vaux, Wharton.

Project staff wrote the following research guides to help researchers decipher some of the less "user-friendly" documents in the collections:

Financial Records Guide
Land Records Guide
Women's History Resources in Family Papers
Glossary of Common Terms in Family Papers
Bibliography of  Print and Web Resources for Using Family Papers

In addition, project staff created a timeline for researchers to navigate highlights from our family papers collections. Since the end of the Documentary Families Project, the timeline has been expanded to include material from other HSP collections.