Held at: The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center [Contact Us]413 South Tenth Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center. 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
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Henry George (1839-1897) was a journalist and political economist best known for writing about and popularizing the idea of the "Single Tax." His work led to several reform movements in the Progressive Era and inspired the economic philosophy known today as "Georgism."
Sometime between 1801 and 1808 Edward Harlin purchased the site where the Henry George Birthplace currently stands, and built a one story frame house. The original structure consisted of a front room, two back rooms, a second floor attic, a kitchen, and a cellar. When Harlin died in 1820, the property transferred to George F. Smith, who later rented the house to Henry George's family. Henry George was born in the house on September 2, 1839.
At some point during the 1840s, George's family moved to a larger dwelling at 814 S. Third Street. According to some sources, George resided at the Third Street home until he moved to California in 1858. Others sources, however, indicate that George's family moved multiple times during the 1850s. The Third Street house, like all of George's other residences, no longer stands. The Henry George Birthplace at 413 S. 10th Street is the only surviving residence connected to Henry George.
Henry George's Birthplace exchanged hands several times after the George family moved out. Between 1898 and 1926 the house was owned by Thomas S. K. Morton who raised the building to three stories. The Henry George Foundation of America owned the house from 1926 until 1957, when it sold the dwelling to the current owner, the Henry George School of Social Science (HGSSS).
The HGSSS commissioned minor renovations to the building in 1957 and the Philadelphia Branch of the School moved in shortly thereafter. In 1976 the Birthplace was first nominated for the National Registry of Historic Places. According to collection documents, "Inspired by the approach of the 100th anniversary of Progress & Poverty, in 1979" the HGSSS established the Henry George Birthplace Building and Restoration Fund. Philadelphia Architects Charles Peterson and Jim Collins were hired to prepare drawings for the Historical American Buildings Survey. In 1983, the Henry George Birthplace was officially entered in the National Register of Historic Places and a new historical marker was approved by the City of Philadelphia.
Once again inspired by an upcoming anniversary- the Sesquicentennial of George's birth- the HGSSS embarked upon another renovation project in 1987. School officials re-hired Charles Peterson and James Collins to restore the Birthplace to its original 1839 appearance. From July 29 to August 6, 1989, the HGSSS held the Henry George Sesquicentennial Anniversary International Conference, celebrating not only the 150 anniversary of George's birth but also the completed restoration.
The HGSSS Philadelphia Branch, which had been located at the Henry George Birthplace since the late 1950s, remained there until 2013, when that branch of the HGSSS was closed. At this time, the Henry George Birthplace was designated as a research and education division within the HGSSS, and was renamed the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Research Center (HGBARC). HGBARC strives to promote historical research, publication, and discussion of Henry George and his ideas; to serve as the central repository of archival material on Henry George, the Henry George School of Social Science, and the Georgist movement; and to preserve the Henry George Birthplace as the only surviving residence of Henry George.
This collection consists of correspondence, drawings, and other documents related to the Henry George Birthplace rehabilitation project, 1957-1960, and the restoration project, 1987-1989; documents related to the nomination of the Henry George Birthplace for the National Register of Historic Places, as well as a copy of the certificate of its acceptance into the Register and congratulatory letters, 1980-1983; photographs of the Henry George Birthplace, circa 1957-2006; a scrapbook, circa 1967; and other materials.
The correspondence relating to the building renovation and restoration projects includes outlines stating what work is to be done, some documentation of costs, and various building design drawings that include technical drawings of the house and a photocopy of a map of the street where the building is located. Several materials in the collection are from Charles E. Peterson and James S. Collins, Philadelphia-based architects hired to do work on the building, including letters to George L. Collins, the director of the Philadelphia Extension of the Henry George School of Social Science at the time of the restoration. From 1989 to 1998 George L. Collins served as the director for the Henry George School for Social Science. There is one scrapbook, circa 1967, consisting primarily of photographs relating to the restoration and rehabilitation projects. The collection includes several photocopies of original materials.
The collection is arranged into five series:
Series I. Correspondence and documents related to the Henry George Birthplace Rehabilitation Project, 1957-1960
Series II. Correspondence, drawings, and other documents related to the nomination and entry of the Henry George Birthplace in the National Registry of Historic Places, 1980-1983
Series III. Correspondence, drawings, and other documents related to the Henry George Birthplace Restoration Project, 1987-1989
Series IV. Photographs, documents, and printed ephemera related to the Henry George Birthplace, circa 1957-2006
Series V. Furniture and oversized objects on loan and/or donated to the Henry George Birthplace
Most of the items in the collection have been digitized. These images and a more detailed finding aid with an item level inventory are available at: https://hgarchives.org/historical-collections-2/the-henry-george-birthplace-rehabilitation-and-restoration-projects/. Series V. contains objects that are associated with this collection, but were not included as part of this survey.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 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 The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center directly for more information.
- Henry George School of Social Science (New York, N.Y.)
- The Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Historic buildings
- Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration
- Historic preservation
- Historic sites
- Historic sites--Conservation and restoration
- The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center
- 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 The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center for information about accessing this collection. Some materials in Series IV. might be restricted due to privacy concerns.