Main content

Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation blueprints collection


Held at: Glen Foerd on the Delaware [Contact Us]5001 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19114

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Glen Foerd on the Delaware. 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

The Glen Foerd estate was built circa 1850 by Charles Macalester, founder of Torresdale and Financial Adviser to eight United States Presidents. The estate, which Macalester called "Glengarry," was renamed by Robert H. Foerderer (1860-1903) when he purchased it in 1893.

Upon her death in 1972 Florence Tonner, daughter of Robert H. Foerderer, bequeathed the Glen Foerd estate to the Lutheran Church of America. She included the caveat, however, that if the Lutheran Church was unable to care for the estate, it would revert to public ownership. The Lutheran Center at Glen Foerd operated the estate as a retreat center and meeting space until 1988, when ownership of the estate was awarded to the City of Philadelphia in a lawsuit. The Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Glen Foerd, now administers the property in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.


"Glen Foerd History." Accessed September 28, 2011.

The blueprints in this collection mostly depict renovations of the Glen Foerd estate, 1933-2007. There are also some blueprints of other properties, 1890-1938 (e.g. "Estate of Walter Janney, Esq., Bryn Mawr, Pa., Working drawings of rose posts to go in vegetable garden, 1929"). There are about 40 unique blueprints, plus some duplicates. Several prominent landscape architects and architects are represented in the collection, including Thomas Warren Sears, James Bush-Brown, and Stanford B. Lewis.

Thomas Warren Sears (1880-1966) was a noted American landscape architect best known for designing Mt. Cuba Center, Reynolda Gardens, and the Scott Outdoor Auditorium at Swarthmore College. This collection includes three plans by Sears.

James Bush-Brown (1892-1986) was a landscape architect and author of several books, including the well-known America's Garden Book. This collection includes four Bush-Brown plans, and one pencil drawing.

Stanford B. Lewis was a Philadelphia-based architect best known for his work on the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg from 1902 to 1906. He developed plans during the Tonner period at Glen Foerd. Four plans in the collection include tennis courts, the Glen Foerd Farms dairy barn and the print room bay window.

Glen Foerd on the Delaware
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.
Access Restrictions

Contact Glen Foerd on the Delaware for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest