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Germantown Historical Society small collections


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 small accumulations of records and papers from various families, individuals, and organizations based in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. There are four general groups of materials: "Organizational records," "Family and personal papers," "Unprocessed papers," and "Small manuscript collection." Rough, preliminary inventories exist for the first three groups and are provided below. There is an online finding aid for the fourth group, "Small manuscript collection," at

The first group, "Organizational records," consists of minute books, financial records, scrapbooks, and other materials from various business, clubs, associations, and groups. A rough, preliminary inventory is provided below. [Locations are given in brackets.]

Organizational records

-Bible Society of Germantown minute book, 1839-1872 [V-B-4]

-Charter Oak Library and Literary Association accounts of members (1865) [V-A-7]

-Charter Oak Library and Literary Association minutes, accounts, subscribers, etc. (1859-1886) [V-C-6]

-Christian Assembly for Political Action minutes, 1952-1960 [V-D-6]

-Cutters [philanthropic sewing society], list of women (1878), cutters and folders (1883), donations (1901-1908) etc. [1 doc box] [V-A-3]

-Franklin Debating Society of Germantown minute books (1830-1838) and original composition (1826-1830) [V-C-3]

-Free Library of Philadelphia clippings scrapbooks on Germantown (circa 1898-1902) [V-A-2]

-General Wayne Hotel guest register, circa 1912 [V-B-7]

-Germantown Club cashbook (1863-1886) [V-C-6]

-Germantown Employment Society account book (1916-1929), roll call and minute book (1915-1938), treasurer's records and receipts (1893-1926), list of names (1886-1893) [V-A-top]

-Germantown Fire Insurance Company records (1950s-1960s) [V-C-7]

-Germantown Horticultural Society minutes (1873-1936), scrapbook (1908-1909), list of members, dues book (1873-1910), treasurer's account book (1873-1898), [V-C-7]

-Germantown Library Association records (1869-1917) [V-E-3]

-Germantown tax list (1809) and assessor's list (1919) [V-A-3]

-Germantown Woman's Christian Temperance Union minute book (1907-1920) [V-A-3]

-Horace F. Rodd (bookseller) index to periodicals, 1850 [V-G-5]

-Lyceum of St. Stephen's Methodist Episcopalian church records, circa 1887 [V-B-4]

-Manheim Stables daybook (1926-1928) [V-B-1]

-Market Square Presbyterian Church attendance books (1872-1878) [V-A-5]

-Middle and Upper Ward fire companies and other fire companies record books (1764-1870s) [V-B-3]

-Mount Airy School minutes, circa 1835 [V-B-4]

-Penn Mutual Building and Loan Association minute book with financial records (1870s) [V-A-top]

-Philadelphia Light Guard Company H constitution and by-laws (1859) [V-B-1]

-Philadelphia Toboggan Company day book (1919-1920) [V-B-7]

-Reliance Council #40, Order of United American Mechanics, minutes (1847-1883), book of applicants (1848-1861) and index [V-B-4]

-Reliance Council #46 Order of United American Mechanics receipt book (1884) [V-A-1]

-Tulpehocken Field and Tennis Club minutes (1891-1897), correspondence (circa 1900) [V-B-5]

-U.S. Navy Sloop U.S.S. Germantown [V-B-6]

-Unidentified girls' school grade book (1907-1913) [V-B-1]

-Union Building & Loan Association of Germantown roll book (1856) [V-B-7]

-Upper Ward tax lists (1852-1854) [V-A-3]

-Wakefield Infant School annual reports and teachers' reports (circa 1866-1890s), minute books, treasurer's monthly reports [V-B-6]

-Wakefield Infant School. Society subscriptions and donation (1859-1894), roll book (1883) [V-A-top]

-Washington Assembly of Germantown, membership (1850), constitution and minutes (1870) [V-A-top]

-Working Men's Club of Germantown records (9 volumes) including ledgers (1877-1885) and member dues (1884) [V-B-6]

The second group, "Family and personal papers," consists of scrapbooks, account books, genealogical research, correspondence, and other family papers. A rough, preliminary inventory is provided below. [Locations are given in brackets].

Family and personal papers

-"Herbarium" botanical notes and specimens; Warren H. Poley ledger; Ms. Mears' notes on Branchtown, York Road [V-D-2]

-Anonymous weather diaries (1809) [V-B-1]

-Benjamin Randolph Boggs, scrapbook of newspaper articles by Boggs (1886-1897) [V-A-top]

-Boltz-Huckel family papers, 1856-1976 [V-G-4]

-C. L. Pennock photo album, 1883 [V-E-7]

-Charles Francis Jenkins papers, 1865-1951 [V-E-4]

-Charles L. Eberle journal (1821) [V-B-1]

-Charles M. Wagner house inventory (1835) [V-A-1]

-Civil War and veterans clippings scrapbooks [V-A-2]

-Commonplace book of D. Logan's granddaughter (circa 1848) [V-A-3]

-Copies of resume records of Henry Howard Houston [V-G-7]

-David and Thomas F. Watson scrapbook on World War I, 1917-1923 [V-D-2]

-Dr. C. K. Mills miscellaneous scrapbook of clippings, 1865-1905 [V-E-6]

-Dr. I. Pearson Willitts abstracts from Germantown Telegraph, 1870s [V-D-3]

-Dr. Josephus Cornelius Gilbert (1832-1895) of Chestnut Hill, patient lists (some volumes contain birth data and/or payments), 1856-1891, 20 vols [V-D-4]

-Eberle journals (1828-1836) [V-B-1]

-Edward Hall Sanborn diary index (1863-1935) [V-A-6]

-Frank Henderson scrapbook, 1902 (includes manuscript papers of Kirk and John Smith) [V-G-7]

-Fred Perry Powers, scrapbooks with photos and text of early churches in and around Germantown [V-A-4]

-George Clarence Johnson papers, 1830-1959 [V-E-4]

-Germantown photo book (circa 1900-1920) [V-C-6]

-Githens-Seyfert family papers, 1778-1888 [V-G-6]

-Gorgas family papers, circa 1782-1909 [V-G-4/5]

-Hathaway family papers [V-F-3]

-Huckel family papers and photographs, circa 1911-1937 [V-E-1]

-Jacob H. Eberle journal (1827-1849) [V-A-1]

-John B. Middleton (Germantown postman) weather diaries, 1864-1888, and clippings, ephemera, and photographs [V-D-3]

-John Clapham of Wartley, waste books and journals (1827-1828) [V-B-1]

-John McCoy account book (circa 1890) [V-A-top]

-Joseph Barth (Company 2, 73rd Regiment PA) Civil War diaries [V-B-1]

-Kirk & Nice, Hocker and other miscellaneous papers (circa 1940s-1950s) [V-A-6]

-L. H. Kitchen (Manayunk) scrapbook, circa 1899 [V-E-top]

-Leighton P. Stradley clippings, reports, and correspondence on historic site preservation, circa 1950s [V-D-5]

-Lisabeth M. Holloway research files on Guillou and Mr. Airy College, circa 1975 [V-G-6]

-Lizzie M. Hartman Christmas Cards scrapbook, 1879 [V-E-top]

-Major Philip R. Freas receipt book, 1830-1847 [V-G-5]

-Mamie H. Hagaman scrapbook of valentines, 1879 [V-G-7]

-Margaret Kuhn papers, circa 1930s-1950s [V-G-3]

-May Peters scrapbook (circa 1870) [V-A-2]

-Miscellaneous manuscript fragments (indexed) including Francis Pastorius, Benjamin Chew, etc., circa 1793-1900 [V-K-3]

-Miscellaneous mortgages, 1883-1907 [V-A-1]

-Miscellaneous uncategorized photos [V-A-2]

-Miss Comly papers (circa 1860s-1970s) [V-A-5]

-Miss Sally Johnson weather diaries, 1802-1820 [V-A-top]

-Mrs. Sophia K. Bauer autograph book (1880s) [V-A-1]

-Paul A. Wilhelm papers 1952-1959 [V-D-2]

-Samuel Detweiler geometry book (1817) [V-A-7]

-Samuel H. Lloyd letters, receipts and tax bills (circa 1895) [V-E-6]

-Sarah Robeson poetry clippings scrapbook (1802) [V-B-1]

-School exercise books (1787-1830s) [V-B-4]

-scrapbook of photographs of Montgomery County sites, circa 1898-1904; [V-E-top]

-Sermons of Dr. Murphy, St. Michael's Episcopal, 1898 [V-G-7]

-Sower family history research notes, clippings, and writings, circa 1930-1955 [V-D-top]

-Summer family genealogy [V-C-2]

-Unidentified account book (1819) [V-A-1]

-Unidentified account book (1820) [V-A-3]

-Unidentified clippings scrapbook on Germantown (1902-1903 [V-A-5]

-Unidentified Germantown scrapbook [V-B-1]

-Unidentified photograph album (circa 1870-1890) [V-A-1]

-Unidentified travel journal (circa 1905) [V-A-1]

-William Ellison Bullus family papers (1813-1908) [V-A-4]

The third group, "Unprocessed papers," includes both family and organizational records that have not yet been processed by the Germantown Historical Society and are stored in room 209. The inventory provided below is very rough and is incomplete, but it gives a general sense of some of the unprocessed small collections at the Germantown Historical Society. [Locations are given in brackets.]


-Business Men's Association of Germantown, check stubs, 1980s [209-B-6]

-Clippings scrapbook on Germantown, 1960s [209]

-Francis D. Pastorius (city treasurer), circa 1951 [209-B-1]

-General Wayne Hotel guest register, 1899 [209-B-5]

-General Wayne Hotel guest register, 1904 [209-B-5]

-George Style Cox III clippings scrapbook, circa 1910 [209]

-Germantown Building and Loan Association minute book, 1869 [209-B-5]

-Germantown Business Association, 9 ledgers, 1938-1980 [209-B-7]

-Germantown Business Association, check stubs, 1980s [209-B-6]

-Germantown Business Association, dues book, 1980-1989 [209-B-6]

-Gorgas, Anna correspondence, 1895 [209-B-2]

-Gorgas, Charles receipt book 1874-1894 [209-B-2]

-John Coulter ledgers (2), 1848-1850s [209-B-5]

-Marion Rifle Company minutes, 1859 [209-B-2]

-Market Square Presbyterian Church check stubs, 1898 [209-B-2]

-Market Square Presbyterian Church scrapbook with receipts, 1880s [209-B-3]

-Medical prescriptions of doctors Gilbert, Murphy, and George Strawbridge, et al, 1875-1884 [209-B-6]

-Scrapbook of clippings, 1850s [209-B-5]

-Scrapbook on Germantown Historical Society, 1940s [209]

-Scrapbook on Germantown, 1930s [209]

-Unidentified diary, beginning 1892 [209-B-2]

-Union Building and Loan Association of Germantown, minute book (1856-1867) and ledger (undated) [209-B-2]

The fourth group, "Small manuscript collection," is stored in the Vault filing cabinet. It consists of individual files and ledgers (usually less than 2 inches), containing the same types of materials found in the previous two sections: personal and family papers (autograph books, correspondence, scrapbooks, etc.), and business and organizational records (daybooks, minute books, correspondence, etc.). Individuals and families whose paper can be found in this group include: the Detweiler family, William Fisher, James Logan, Longstroth family, and John Rittenhouse. Organizations whose records can be found in this group include: Germantown Medical Club, Germantown Freedmen's Aid Association, Infant School, and Society for the Suppression of Vice and Immorality. A finding aid for the "Germantown Historical Society small manuscript collection" is available online at

Materials collected by the Germantown Historical Society at various times.

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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