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Germantown Historical Society photograph 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.

This collection consists of photographic prints and photograph albums, glass plates, film negatives, and cased photographs, each stored separately by medium.

The photographic prints are in the process of being digitized and re-housed. Prints that were not selected for digitization remain in a file cabinet in the library alcove, in order by old box location, and well-labeled. These include some copies of older photographs. The prints that have been digitized are arranged into series by subject and housed in boxes in Room 205. There are a few additional group photographs (classes, sports teams, etc.) in the Vault stack J.

The glass plates--which include positives, negatives, and lantern slides--are arranged by size. They are further organized alphabetically by subject, and stored in labeled four-flap enclosures in Room 211. The small amount of film negatives are similarly arranged.

The cased photographs include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and paper prints. A detailed inventory, listing the photograph's subject and medium, is available on-site.

Photographs 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.
Access Restrictions

Contact Germantown Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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