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Palmer Cemetery 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

Palmer Cemetery, located in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, was founded in 1732 as the Kensington Burial Ground. It may be one of the city's oldest community graveyards. Palmer was formed on land belonging to Anthony Palmer, merchant and colonial governor, who died in Philadelphia in 1749. Though the property was meant for his family, Palmer wished that the land become a public cemetery for all Kensington residents. At some point, the space took on the name Palmer Cemetery, and is today generally known by that name; though the names "Palmer Cemetery" and "Kensington Burial Grounds" have been used interchangeably throughout the grounds' history.

The records of the Palmer Cemetery are comprised of seven volumes, one box of loose papers and small volumes, and one flat file. They span from the 1830s to the 1990s and make up the bulk of the collection. The volumes include account ledgers of the treasurer, 1838-1958; interment registers, 1859-1980; trustee meeting minutes, 1839-1912; and vault books, 1871-1874 and 1886-1887. Additional items include correspondence, bills, receipts, invoices, legal papers, financial documents, interment permits, and other miscellaneous items. There is also a modern photocopy of records from the 18th century pertaining to Anthony Palmer's estate (Box 1, Folder 11). There are no original records from the 1700s in the collection.

Milano, Kenneth W. Palmer Cemetery and the historic burial grounds of Kensington & Fishtown. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011. (call number F 158.61 .P25 M55 2011)

Donated by James D. B. Weiss in 2011 (Accession number 2011.054).

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2014
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Dan and Donnamarie Dailey.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Receipts, bills, invoices, 1805, 1839-1885, 1911, 1914-1919, 1946, 1953, 1969, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Correspondence, 1833-1879.
Box 1 Folder 2
Interment permits, 1840, 1864, 1865; bulk 1865.
Box 1 Folder 3
Miscellaneous, 1842, 1852, 1932-1969, 1990, undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Interment and expense reports to the board, 1849, 1885-1888, 1907, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
By-laws, minutes, and miscellaneous legal documents, 1862, 1965, 1976, undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
Account ledger for interments, vault management, and maintenance [incomplete], 1873-1887.
Box 1 Folder 7
Treasurer's receipt book, circa 1884-1913.
Box 1 Folder 8
A. J. Getz vault book, 1886-1887.
Box 1 Folder 9
photocopies of Palmer Estate records (circa 1743-1885), 1992, undated.
Box 1 Folder 10
Anthony Palmer indenture, 1765 [photocopy of transcription], undated.
Box 1 Folder 11
Items removed from Internment register, Volume 5, undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
Kensington Burial Ground treasurer's account ledger, 1838-1890.
Volume 1
Kensington Burial Ground treasurer's account ledger, 1890-1919.
Volume 2
Kensington Burial Ground treasurer's account ledger, 1919-1958.
Volume 3
Interment register, 1859-1887.
Volume 4
Interment register, 1887-1980.
Volume 5
Albert Emerick vault book, 1871-1874.
Volume 6
Trustees meeting minutes of Kensington Burial Ground, 1839-1889.
Volume 7
Trustees meeting minutes of Kensington Burial Ground, 1889-1912.
Volume 8
Account ledger for interments, Vault management, and maintenance [incomplete]; Interment records, 1884-1887.
Oversize Flat File 1

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