Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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Contact Information

E-mail:[1]  Public Services Librarian


Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 1907-5699

Telephone:[2]  215-732-6200
Fax:[2]  215-732-2680

Hours and holidays:[3]

Closed Sundays, Mondays, Saturdays
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday 12:30p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Holiday schedule

Directions, maps, and public transportation:[2]

  • Public Transportation
    • Find bus and train information at [www.septa.com www.septa.com] or PATCO Hi Speedline
      • Bus Route: SEPTA bus route 12 stops on Locust Street directly in front of HSP.
      • Subways: HSP is two blocks east of the Walnut/Locust stop on the Broad Street Subway or four blocks south of the 13th/Market stop on the Market/Frankford Subway. There is a PATCO stop at the corner of 13th and Locust Streets, directly in front of HSP.
      • Train: Take any SEPTA commuter rail line to Market East Station. Walk south on 12th Street to Locust Street. Then turn right and walk one block west on Locust to 13th Street. If you prefer to ride the train into Suburban Station, you may walk past City Hall south on Broad Street to Locust, where you turn left and walk two blocks.

Internet sites and databases:

  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania HomeHave materials from the colonial to the current period. Genealogy workshops, Digital history projects, publications.[4]
  • Discover Online Catalog Information on all of HSP's collections is available in the online catalog "Discover." Discover includes listings for publications (books, pamphlets, serials and newspapers) as well as some graphics and manuscript collections. Searches include title, author, subject, call number, ISBN/ISSN, HSP Websites. This search interface has Advanced Searching, Alphabetical Browse, and Browse.[5]
  • The Digital Library is a growing online repository of images from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's collection. There are more than 50,000 images in the database, including photographs, artwork, maps, manuscripts, as well as archived video and audio records.[6]

Collection Description

The collections of Historical Society of Pennsylvania range from genealogical and family papers to business and organizational records to collections of items such as photographs, postcards, sheet music, menus, and trade cards. HSP's library contains a wealth of published material, including books, pamphlets, serials, and newspapers. Our collections span from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries, and they touch upon numerous topics, from social and economic issues during the nation's founding to the effects of the Industrial Revolution to the immigrant experience of recent decades. While our collections generally focus on Philadelphia, Eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and parts of Delaware and Maryland, we also include a wealth of materials and books on the eastern United States, the founding of this country, the diversity of ethnic and immigrant experiences across the United States, maps from different parts of the world, and manuscripts from national and international leaders.[7]


  • There is a Library Admission for non-members.
  • Entry to the library, photocopy service, and paging all end 45 minutes prior to closing time.[3]
  • Notice of weather or emergency closings will be posted on the Historical Society's website and on the Society's weather phone line at 215--732-6200 ext. 505.[3]
  • Photocopy services are available to both on- and off-site researchers for $0.50 a page.[3]
  • The use of film or digital still-image cameras is permitted in the library at no additional cost. Please see Copy and Camera Policies for details.[3]
  • All first-time visitors to the library must complete a Research Registration Form. You may print and complete the form prior to your visit, or you may complete it at the front desk before entering the library.[3]


  • Finding aids provide background information, descriptions, and inventories for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania collections. List of finding aids that represent a small portion of our holdings that are currently available online.[8]
  • Search capability available to browse subject guides. Sampling: African-American Collections, Civil War Manuscripts and Newspapers, Civil War Resources, Ethnic History Resources, Family History & Genealogy, Federal Census Records, Jewish Resources, Land Records Guide, Military Records, City Directories, Vital Records.[9]

Alternate Repositories

{ List (link to a Wiki article for) at least one or more other repositories that collect overlapping records, or similar family history material including central repositories, affiliated or branch repositories, higher level jurisdiction repositories, parent or daughter jurisdiction repositories. Also list neighboring repositories with similar records. Please briefly explain how each substitute repository is related.}

If you cannot visit or find a source at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • Alternate Repository {create link for each, and give line or two describing collection}

Similar Collections

Neighboring Collections


  1. Staff at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Address and Directions at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Library Hours and Admission at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  4. Historical Society of Pennsylvania Home at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  5. Discover our Collections at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  6. Digital Library at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  7. Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collections at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  8. Finding Aids at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  9. Subject Guides at Historical Society of Pennsylvania] (accessed 25 September 2012).