Main content

Doylestown Historical Society oral histories


Held at: Doylestown Historical Society [Contact Us]56 S Main St., Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 18901

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Doylestown Historical Society. 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

Doylestown is the county seat of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Founded in the mid 18th century, it became the county seat in 1813 and was formally incorporated as a borough in 1838.

"Doylestown is named after the Doyle family. The Doyle family originally came from France (the name was D'Ouilli), but moved to Ireland during the Inquisition. Circa 1600 the name was changed to D'Oyley and later was changed again to Doyle. Edward Doyle sailed to America in 1640 and lived for a time in Rhode Island until he moved to Bucks County upon receiving a land grant from William Penn in 1692. He died in 1703. Edward Doyle's children remained in Bucks County and settled in the area of Doylestown. In 1730, Edward Doyle Jr. (born 1690) bought 150 acres of land in what is now Doylestown, and further purchases were made by the Doyle family in 1737. The Doyles built an inn in 1745 and the town was known early on as "William Doyl's Tavern" and "Doyle's Town." In 1752, a second tavern was built, which still stands today (though now much modified). In 1776, the inn was sold by William Doyle (born in 1712, son of Edward Doyle, Jr.), who moved to Plumstead, Bucks County, where he died in 1780. After the sale of the tavern, the town became known by its present name. In 1778, George Washington and his Continental Army camped near Doylestown, on their way from Valley Forge to fight the British in New Jersey. In 1812, Doylestown became the County Seat of Bucks County.

"In 1856, a railroad line was completed between Doylestown and Philadelphia. The present train station dates from 1876. A trolley line was installed that ran to Trenton and Easton. The older part of town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."


Quoted text from: Ludwig, Ed. "Brief History of Doylestown." Accessed July 22, 2013.

This collection consists of several dozen oral history interviews with prominent residents of Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There are several copies on DVD of each. Six are also on VHS. They appear to be in chronological order. Of special interest are an interview with author James Michener and an interview with a friend of James Michener about the author. A partial inventory of the video oral histories in this collection is as follows: (1995) Herman Silverman: "My 50-Year Friendship with Jim Michener" (1996) Dorothy Hayman Redfield: "Doylestown Since the Early 1900s" (1997) James A. Michener:  "Looking Homeward Toward Doylestown" (1998) George B. Bishop: "Doylestown Since 1910 -- The Evolution of a Wonderful Small Town" (1999) Milton T. Rutherford: "Caught by the Camera -- Doylestown's Own Photographer-Historian" (2000) William L. Goldman, Sr., Esquire: "My 50-Year Practice of Law In Doylestown, the County Seat" (2001) Ranulph Bye: "The Noted Artist at Age 85 -- He Has Our Beautiful Countryside" (2002) Hilborn Darlington, Jr. (at Age 88): "One Acre Under Glass -- The Darlington Greenhouses" (2002) Margaret Bye Richie:  "Historic Architecture's Good Friend" (2002) Mike Pettine: "Football Coach Extraordinaire -- He Made our Community Famous in the Sports World" (2002) Walter Conti: "Doylestown's Legendary Restaurateur -- A Culinary Leader and Penn State Champion" (2003) William E. Neis:  "His Honor, The Mayor of Doylestown Borough -- His Tenure is the Longest in Doylestown History" (2004) William H. Eastburn III, Esquire: "A Lawyer for All Seasons -- He Strives to Make the World a Better Place" (2005) Mary K. Howe, at 87: "A Model of Good Citizenship and Community Service" (2008) Judge Ed Ludwig:: Founder and President of the Doylestown Historical Society (2010) Dr. Amed Mazaheri: Doylestown Hospital's First Urologist (2011) Judge John P. Fullam: Bucks County's World-Class Federal Judge (2012) Joshua Feldstein: An iconic President of Delaware Valley College (2012) Lynn Taylor: Doylestown's Premier Architect

The Society also has some DVDs of programs and events (run by the Society and by other local groups), and a documentary about evangelical world explorer William Edgar Geil.

Oral histories recorded by members of the Doylestown Historical Society, circa 1995-2013.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Doylestown Historical Society directly for more information.

Doylestown Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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.
Access Restrictions

Contact Doylestown Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest