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Germantown Historical Society deed collection


Held at: Germantown Historical Society [Contact Us]5501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19144

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

Germantown, a neighborhood in the northwest section of Philadelphia, was the site of several nationally significant events. It was settled in the late 1600s by Mennonite and Quaker German-speaking emigrants and incorporated as a borough in 1689. Germantown is sometimes called the home of the American anti-slavery movement, because the first organized protest against slavery in the Americas was begun by four members of the Germantown Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1688. In 1777, the courage displayed by American troops at the Battle of Germantown helped to spur the French to assist the United States in the Revolutionary War. During the yellow fever outbreak of 1793, government officials escaping the epidemic in Philadelphia relocated to Germantown, and it served as the temporary home of George Washington and the First Bank of the United States.

Germantown was incorporated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854.

The Germantown Historical Society deed collection, 1688-1952, is composed primarily of original deeds and land titles for properties in the region of Germantown, Philadelphia. The collection is roughly sorted by name. Of special interest are items related to the Edgar H. Butler properties, now the site of Germantown High School; the Gowen estate, now the site of the Mt. Airy Lutheran Seminary; the Coulter estate, mostly on Coulter Street; and Mount Airy Mansion, the estate of loyalist Chief Justice William Allen (1704-1780), now the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

The collection also includes handwritten or typed briefs of title for properties--mostly 18th century buildings--in the book Historic Germantown, from the Founding to the Early Part of the Nineteenth Century: A Survey of the German Township by Harry M. Tinkcom (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1955).

Materials collected at various times by the Germantown Historical Society.

Germantown Historical Society
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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