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Philadelphia Bicycle Club records


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Philadelphia Bicycle Club was the first bicycle club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was organized in 1879 to advance the interests of cycling and promote the riding of bicycles as a means of exercise, locomotion, and enjoyment. The Club was incorporated in 1885 and established a club house the following year on 26th and Perot streets. Membership was open to both men and women. Members in good standing with the Philadelphia Bicycle Club were eligible for membership in the Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club, which was organized by the members of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club and had a club house in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Bicycle Club was dissolved in 1902 and its assets were distributed to the Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club.

Establishment of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club inspired other bicycle clubs to form in and near the city, including the century Wheelmen, the Quaker City Wheelmen, and the Pennsylvania Bicycle Club. Several of the city's bicycle clubs united to form the Associated Cycling Clubs of Philadelphia. This group took measures to promote cycling in the city and its parks and championed causes such as improving the quality of the city's roads. William R. Tucker was a member of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club who also served as president of the Associated Cycling Clubs of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Bicycle Club records, 1879-1902, consist of administrative materials such as minutes, charter and bylaws, correspondence meeting announcements, and membership materials, as well as financial and property records, including several materials related to the construction and maintenance of the club house at 26th and Perot streets, such as property transfer documents, construction contracts, mortgage and tax documents, and other related materials. Of interest in the collection is the calculations of the distances ridden by various members of the club, information about the awards given out to various members, and the listing of the various bicycles owned by the club's members.

The Charter, bylaws and amendments (volume 1), 1879-1895, contains information about the Club's colors, uniforms, and whistle code. The Charter and By-Laws of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club and Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club (volume 2), 1891, is a published volume that also contains member lists, dates of important events in PBC history, park rules for bicycles, and information about the Associated Cycling Clubs of Philadelphia and the League of American Wheelmen. There are also several advertisements for various businesses in this volume, many of which relate to cycling, bicycle accessories, clothing, and other bicycle-related goods.

The correspondence in box 1, folders 2 and 3, mostly contains letters relating to the building and furnishing of the club house, including bids from various Philadelphia firms.

The meeting announcements contain information about the monthly meetings for both the Philadelphia Bicycle Club and the Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club. The meeting announcements also have names of proposed members for the clubs, some of which have been handwritten into the printed announcements.

Insurance documents in the collection relate to fire insurance for the club house as well as equipment insurance for the club's bicycles, uniforms, and other items kept at the club house. The insurance documents contain detailed lists of the bicycles and other equipment belonging to each member.

There is a sampling of pamphlets from heating companies with illustrations of heating systems from the late 19th century in the collection, which could be of interest to researchers studying the history of home heating.

I. Administrative, 1882-1902; 19 folders, 4 volumes

II. Financial, property, and legal, 1885-1901; 11 folders, 6 volumes

Gift of Henry W. Wills after Mr. W. R. Tucker's decease (Secretary of the Club).; 1942 acquired

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu.
Finding Aid Date
; 2017.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Collection Inventory

Annual reports, 1897-1899.
Box 1 Folder 1
Charter, bylaws, and amendments [handwritten], circa 1879-1895.
Volume 1
Charter and By-Laws of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club and the Philadelphia Cycle and Field Club with List of Members Published by the House Committee, 1891.
Volume 2
Correspondence, 1886 January-April.
Box 1 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1886 May-December.
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence, 1888, 1891-1901.
Box 1 Folder 4
Correspondence - loose envelopes (4), 1897, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Club House Committee mission statement and report, 1882 April 11.
Box 1 Folder 6
List of documents and papers of the Philadelphia Bicycle Club, 1895.
Box 1 Folder 7
Meeting announcements, 1891.
Box 1 Folder 8
Meeting announcements, 1892.
Box 1 Folder 9
Meeting announcements, 1893.
Box 1 Folder 10
Meeting announcements, 1894.
Box 1 Folder 11
Meeting announcements, 1895.
Box 1 Folder 12
Meeting announcements, 1896.
Box 1 Folder 13
Meeting announcements, 1897.
Box 1 Folder 14
Meeting announcements, 1898.
Box 1 Folder 15
Meeting announcement (3), 1900 January.
Box 1 Folder 16
Membership - Associated Cycling Club dues, 1899-1902.
Box 1 Folder 17
Membership - Philadelphia Bicycle Club and Cycle and Field Club dues, 1888-1893.
Volume 3
Membership - Dues and notes, 1891-1899.
Volume 4
Membership - Dues and resignations, 1899-1902.
Box 1 Folder 18
Membership lists, 1879-1895.
Box 1 Folder 19
Membership records, 1894-1898.
Volume 5
Minute book, 1895-1902.
Volume 6

Advertising for heating systems, locks, and lights, 1885-1886.
Box 1 Folder 20
Estate of William S. Perot - Deeds, mortgages, and letters, 1886-1895.
Box 1 Folder 21
Mortgages and taxes, 1886, 1893-1900.
Box 1 Folder 22
Contract with William R. Dougherty and building specifications from R. G. Kennedy, 1886 April 20-29.
Box 1 Folder 23
Club House technical drawings (exterior) and lot plan, circa 1886.
Box 1 Folder 24
Insurance, 1886-1892.
Box 1 Folder 25
Second mortgage bond records, 1887-1893.
Volume 7
Mortgage balance and interest book, 1890-1901.
Volume 8
Cash account book, 1894-1902.
Volume 9
Reports of loans, 1895-1899.
Box 1 Folder 26
Estate of Harold R. Lewis, 1897.
Box 1 Folder 27
Advertising pamphlets for tires and cyclometers, 1897, 1899.
Box 1 Folder 28
Bills and receipts, 1897-1900.
Box 1 Folder 29
Checkbook with stubs and deposit notes, 1898-1902.
Volume 10
Deposit lists, 1899-1901.
Box 1 Folder 30
Checks [removed from checkbook, volume 10], 1899-1901.
Box 1 Folder 31

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