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Byberry Philosophical Society records


Held at: Byberry Library [Contact Us]3001 Byberry Road, Philadelphia, PA, 19154

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Byberry Library. 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 the autumn of 1829 a constitution was produced for ratifying the affairs of a society to be known as The Byberry Philosophical Society. There were nine members at first, but that number soon grew to twenty-two. The object was the acquisition and promotion of scientific knowledge. The first plan for obtaining it was by means of lectures, which were delivered by one or other of the members. They followed each other regularly, according to the order laid down in textbooks adopted by the Society. Natural Philosophy was the first to engage their attention... Lectures continued to be given by the members for many years, and included such subjects as Magnetism, Vegetation, Metereology, Ornithology and Entomology." (300th Anniversary)

The society owned a large collection of natural history specimens, Indian relics, and curiosities. Many of the birds and animals were mounted by Charles Comly and Isaac Comly, both of whom were skillful taxidermists.

Bibliography: "300th Anniversary of Byberry Friends Meeting," 1983.

This collection includes notes on the history of Byberry Philosophical Society; typescript copies of minutes, 1837-1927; collection inventories, circa 1940-1980; list of donations, 1976-1977; newspaper clippings; typescript copies of constitution and minutes; and a 20th century catalog. The highlight of this collection is a meeting minute book, 1886-1959.

The Byberry Philosophical Society’s collection of natural history specimens and artifacts is stored in the space but not considered part of this archival collection.

When Byberry Philosophical Society was dissolved, its records and collections were turned over to Byberry Monthly Meeting.

Byberry Library
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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