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Awbury Arboretum Association photograph collection


Held at: Awbury Arboretum [Contact Us]The Francis Cope House, One Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA, 19138

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Awbury Arboretum. 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

"In 1852, Henry Cope, a Philadelphia ship owner, bought forty acres of farm land in East Germantown near the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mary Cope and John Smith Haines. At that time, Germantown--which was not yet part of the City of Philadelphia--was largely undeveloped and an ideal place for country living. A large house was built on the property as a summer home for Henry, his wife Rachel Reeve Cope, and their grown children and families.

"Henry Cope named the estate after the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, England, from which the Cope family had originally emigrated. The Henry Cope house and the Haines house were the first of what would become an entire community of houses at Awbury built by various members of the Cope Family over several generations. When the Henry Cope house became too crowded with children and grandchildren, Henry's son Francis built a new house nearby in 1861. Soon after, three of Francis' children built houses at Awbury for their growing families. Other cousins in the family of Francis Cope's brother Thomas did the same. By the 1920's 24 houses had been established throughout what is present day Awbury.

"As the Cope family expanded, Germantown's farmland was rapidly being developed. By World War I, Awbury was an island of green space surrounded by blocks of houses. In 1916, in the face of impending development, Cope family members, headed by William Draper Lewis, son-in-law of Francis R. Cope, moved to secure the preservation of Awbury's intact landscape by donating around 20 acres to the City Parks Association, a private, non-governmental organization focused on preserving green spaces within the city of Philadelphia.

"Each of the buildings in Awbury's Historic District has connections with the extended Cope family and, together, these structures illustrate aspects of this Quaker family's way of life. The buildings of Awbury (which include two former carriage house/stables) exemplify a range of architectural styles, including Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Tudor Revival, that were popular in the United States from 1850 to the 1920's. Individually, the buildings reflect almost a century's worth of designs by a series of prominent architects including Thomas Ustick Walter, Addison Hutton, Brockie and Hastings, Carl Ziegler, Cope and Stewardson, and Edmund Gilchrist. Twenty-four of the Awbury houses are listed on the National Register of Historic places as part of the Awbury Historic District, established in 2001. All of the houses are now privately owned, with the exception of the Francis Cope House, which [as of 2012] contains the administrative offices, educational classrooms and archives of the Arboretum."


Awbury Arboretum Association. "Cope House and Historic Properties." Accessed December 19, 2011.

This collection includes family photographs and Awbury Arboretum Association photographs. The family photographs span several generations, and picture family members (Copes, Evans, and Stokes) and the Awbury Estate buildings and grounds. Many types of photographic processing are represented, including daguerreotypes and tintypes. This series is roughly organized into groups by family or donor.

The collection also includes photographs produced by the Awbury Arboretum Association that document events, educational programs, and the estate. This series of photographs is arranged chronologically.

Photographs collected by the Awbury Arboretum Association. A significant portion was the gift of Patricia Cope Bidlake, 2001.

Awbury Arboretum
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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