Main content

Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History local history collection


Held at: Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History [Contact Us]8732 Krewstown Rd, Philadelphia, PA, 19115

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History. 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

Northeast Philadelphia is one of the largest sections of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spanning approximately 44 square miles. It is bounded by the Delaware River to the east, Bucks County to the north, Montgomery County to the west, and Tacony and Frankford Creeks to the south.

The first Europeans to settle in the area that is now Northeast Philadelphia were Swedish farmers, who emigrated there in the mid 17th century. Toward the end of the 17th century, Welsh and English Quakers, as well as Baptists and Anglicans, came to the area to settle William Penn's colony of Pennsylvania. The settlers founded a number of townships and boroughs within the County of Philadelphia. Because there were so many creeks in the Northeast and it was close to the City of Philadelphia, the area was a prime location for the development of industry such as Rowland Shovel Works and the Disston Saw Works (Tacony) during the 19th century.

In the mid 19th century, local township and borough governments throughout the County of Philadelphia were merged into the City of Philadelphia in the 1854 City/County Consolidation. The major neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia include Bridesburg, Bustleton, Byberry, Fox Chase, Frankford, Holmesburg, Mayfair, Somerton, Tacony, Torresdale, and Wissinoming.

In the early 20th century, the development of the Market-Frankford elevated train line and Roosevelt Boulevard brought new populations to the Northeast, expanding its residential neighborhoods in the 1920s and 1930s. Population and land development bourgeoned after World War II when soldiers returned home to start families, and continued through the 1970s as middle-class families moved from elsewhere in Philadelphia to the Northeast.

This collection is comprised of small groups of materials from various local families, businesses, and historians. It includes the Hall family papers, Charles Strunk family papers, Harry Silcox Northeast Philadelphia history research materials, Bill Litzke history of Bustleton (Philadelphia, Pa.), and other materials.

The Hall family papers, circa 1875-1930, include photographs, certificates, and a few family documents.

The Charles Strunk family papers, 1840-1922, consist primarily of financial and property records including land surveys, deeds, and receipts. There are some materials relating to the Rowland Shovel Works (founded by Jonathan Rowland in 1826), including printing blocks and at least one document. A shovel from the Rowland Shovel Works is also on-site.

The Harry Silcox Northeast Philadelphia history research materials, circa 2000-2009, contain research for a series of lectures on the history of Northeast Philadelphia. There are computer print-outs of historic photographs, CDs with copies of historic photographs, research notes, and photocopies of primary-source documents.

The Bill Litzke history research on Bustleton (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1998-2000, contains a narrative history of Bustleton, photocopies of newspaper articles from the 1950s and 1960s, and original clippings (1940s) from the periodical "Our Town - Bustleton Civic League News."

Other materials in the collection include an oversize scrapbook, circa 1976-2000, containing newspapers, clippings, and ephemera relating to Northeast Philadelphia history, and a journal, 1796-1827, of William Lardner (1758-1827), whose father, Lynford Lardner, held several important posts in the Pennsylvania colonial government, and whose aunt (Lynford's sister, Hannah) married Richard Penn, the youngest son of William Penn. There are a few objects in this collection.

Materials acquired or collected by the Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History from various sources over time.

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 Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History directly for more information.

Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu 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 Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest