HSP Launches New Online Catalog

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HSP Launches New Online Catalog

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is proud to announce the latest version of its online catalog Discover, featuring the addition of 63,640 new entries from the Philadelphia Record newspaper.

Searchable in Discover by name, date, and keyword, these new entries represent a name index to tens of thousands of photographs printed in the now-defunct Record newspaper, allowing researchers to more easily identify images depicting their family members and other historical figures.

Established in 1897, the Record was for a time one of the leading daily newspapers in the United States. The Record shuttered in 1947 after a prolonged tussle with the Philadelphia Inquirer, with its assets transferred to the Philadelphia Bulletin.   

These materials were donated to HSP in 1951, including the Record’s “photograph morgue”: 936 boxes filled with nearly every image featured in the newspaper. Dating from 1900-1947, these black and white photographs document everything from eminent visitors to the city to everyday suburban life. The collection is divided into two sections, reflecting the Record staff’s original organizational system: subject (events, organizations), and alphabetical (individuals, families). The 63,640 new Discover entries are an index to the alphabetical portion of the Record collection.

While in generally fair condition, many photographs have been cut or retouched by the Record’s staff for printing purposes. A large percentage of the photographs are accompanied by typed captions affixed to either the side or back of the image.

Owing to its research value, HSP’s Archive and Digital Services staff have worked over several years to make the Record’s gargantuan collection more accessible to researchers.

Through the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, HSP staffers processed and re-housed the entire collection in acid-free archival folders and boxes, as well as creating a finding aid to help researchers navigate the more than 400 linear feet of materials.

The photographic index added as part of the new version of Discover represents the latest push in this effort to put these materials in the hands of researchers. More than 500 images have been digitized so far and are freely available in HSP’s Digital Library. A print or digital copy of any Record image may be obtained through HSP’s Rights & Reproductions team.

To begin exploring, visit discover.hsp.org

About Discover
The online catalog Discover is a researcher’s port of call for exploring HSP’s collection of over 21 million items. Discover contains records describing printed materials, archival collections, and digital records, and supports online research through its book bag and list features, as well as its social functions. Discover is available at discover.hsp.org

About the Philadelphia Record
Streetcar businessman William Singerly acquired and renamed the former Public Record newspaper in 1877. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Record had become the city's most popular penny paper. From its inception, the Record staunchly skewed toward the Democratic Party, reflecting Singerly's own politics. Under subsequent owners - including Rodman Wanamaker - the Record exposed corruption, published scathing reports about the Philadelphia transit system, and railed against the "blue laws" that prohibited most forms of entertainment on Sundays. With pennies pinched by the Depression, the city's newspaper world narrowed, and the competition among them became more intense. The Record, weakened by a protracted strike, sold its assets and shuttered in 1947.

About The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is a provider of education and information for the people of Philadelphia and beyond. With over 21 million documents – including manuscripts, graphics, and ephemera – HSP serves more than 4,000 on-site researchers annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources online. HSP offers extensive online resources including digital collections, curricular materials, and hosts educator workshops, public programs and lectures throughout the year. HSP is also a chief 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 nation.
For more information, visit hsp.org