HSP News


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Format: 2016-05-04
Format: 2016-05-04
Format: 2016-05-04

In the mid-19th century, a young man from outside Philadelphia set out for the American West, seeking to recover from illness, perhaps to find his fortune. Little did he know that a simple hat - made with his hands, using the skills he learned in his family trade and the ingenuity of necessity - would become an American icon of 150 years. 

21st century

A library can be a bewildering place. For many middle and high school students, they are a labyrinth of stacks, databases, and jargon. Those with homework or projects requiring research often ask: Where do I start?

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), one of the largest special collection libraries in the country, has the answer: Here.


HSP's Digital Library is currently inaccessible to the public due to an off-site server issue. We are working to restore the public interface to our digital resources. HSP's digital history projects, shop, and other online features may also be affected. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please contact Vincent Fraley at 215.732.6200 ext. 233 with any questions.


To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment and the abolition of slavery, local cultural institutions will host screenings of clips from Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle.

19th century
20th century
African American
Civil Rights



Pen to Paper: Handwriting in the Digital Age

Modern technology has dramatically altered the way we communicate. Email, texting, and social media have become for many the dominant mediums for exchanging information. As these technologies continue to develop, the ways in which we interact with and react to one another change as well.

Arts and Culture

Happy winter, everyone! 

As the seasons begin to change, HSP is gearing up for another slew of frosty months. Please consult our holiday hours if you are planning to visit our world-renowned special collections library. And travel safe!

During inclement weather, HSP will follow the School District of Philadelphia in determining early closings. A snow day for the schools will be a snow day for HSP. 

If you have any questions, please contact HSP at 215. 732. 6200


The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) has begun a long-term partnership with Wells Fargo & Company to create a comprehensive and unique center for historical education and discovery.

As one of the nation’s most significant archival collections, spanning the 17th to 21st centuries, HSP values the shared documentary heritage encapsulating our collective history by preserving and making these materials accessible to everyone.


From presidential progeny to felonious forebears, family secrets are uncovered this fall across the U.S. in PBS’ surprise-filled second season of Genealogy Roadshow.  On October 25, 2014, the show will be visiting Philadelphia to film at HSP, and we hope you can join us!

Ethnic history

HSP is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Phase III of its Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR). 

HCI-PSAR is a three-phase project to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of the numerous small, primarily volunteer-run archival and manuscript repositories in the Philadelphia area, including local historical societies, small museums, historic sites, and other institutions.

Community and Public Service

As the school year begins, HSP is pleased to announce FREE admission to all students with a valid school ID. Middle and high school students, undergraduates, and graduates are welcome to research free of charge at HSP’s world-renowned library and archive.