Main content

Ruth Ehrlen Irwin collection


Held at: Historic Langhorne Association [Contact Us]160 W. Maple Ave., Langhorne, PA, 19047

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historic Langhorne Association. 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

Established around the turn of the 18th century by William Huddleston as The Tavern at Four Lanes' End, the Langhorne Hotel sits at the intersection of the two main roads running through Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As Langhorne grew as an important transportation hub connecting Philadelphia to Trenton (N.J.) and other outlying cities, the hotel served the numerous visitors passed through town. The hotel was likely used by General George Washington's soldiers during the Revolutionary War, as adjacent buildings were used as hospitals and lodging after the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776.

Ruth Ehrlen Irwin's father, George G. Ehrlen, owned the Langhorne Hotel from 1905 to 1937. Ehrlen was owner during the era of Prohibition when only sandwiches, clams, and oysters were served to customers. During World War II, the building was temporarily leased to the federal government and converted into apartments for workers in local war plants. As of 2012, the hotel primarily served as a restaurant for locals.

A native of Langhorne, Ruth Ehrlen Irwin (1910-2008) was one of four children of George Gerard Ehrlen (1866-1935) and Lena Belle MacKinney Ehrlen (1877-1955). Her siblings were John A. Ehrlen (b. 1899), G. Byron Ehrlen (b. abt. 1906), and M. Arabella Ehrlen Dittmar (b. abt. 1903). She married Paul Reid Irwin. After graduating from Langhorne-Middletown High School and West Chester University, Irwin worked as a teacher in Bristol Township and the Langhorne-Middletown School District.

Irwin was also a member of numerous organizations, in particular history organizations, including the Historic Langhorne Association, the Pennsylvania Heritage Society, the Bucks County Historical Society, and the Heritage Conservancy of Bucks County. She was also a member of the Jesse W. Soby Post of the American Legion Auxiliary, and a life member of St. James Episcopal Church, where she sang in the choir.


Irwin, Ruth Ehrlen. "A Bit of History, 1700-1972."

Fisher, Elizabeth. "Quaint, Homey, and 300 Years Old." Bucks County Courier Times, January 13, 2005.

"Ruth E. Irwin." Bucks County Courier Times, Sunday October 5, 2008.

This collection consists of two series: Langhorne Hotel records and ephemera, and Ruth Ehrlen Irwin personal papers.

The Langhorne Hotel materials include two guest registers, various property and liquor licenses, and other ephemera. There is also a scrapbook created by Ruth Ehrlen Irwin that includes: copy and original photographs (circa 1900-1920), many of which Irwin annotated; newspaper clippings; liquor bottle labels and other ephemera; and narrative histories Irwin wrote about her family and the hotel.

The Ruth Ehrlen Irwin personal papers include scrapbooks, photographs and postcards, correspondence, ephemera, and a few published items that relate to her family, her work as a teacher, and the history of Langhorne, including information about Irwin's Drug Store.

A partial inventory for materials in the series Ruth Ehrlen Irwin personal papers is listed below:


Appraisals by Neshaminy Antique Automobile and Motorcycle Appraisals, July 14, 2007, for a 1968 Chevy II Nova four door sedan, and for a 1987 Lincoln Continental.

A 2005 Certificate of Appreciation to Ruth E. Irwin from the Republican National Committee.

A Charter Founder Certificate of Appreciation to Ruth Ehrlen Irwin from "The Peopling of America Center at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum," October 31, 2006.

A thank you note from Amy and Derek Powelson to their Aunt Ruth for a generous money gift, August, 2008.

A two-page letter to "Ruth" on her 95th birthday from "Anne," a former student.

A thank you note and information regarding Ruth's membership in the Langhorne Council for the Arts, September 3, 2007.

A booklet entitled "A Centennial Tribute: Isaiah Vansant Williamson," 1988.

An invitation to the 2003 Founder's Day celebration of the 200th birthday of Isaiah Vansant Williamson.

An invitation dated 1918 to Miss Arabella Ehrlen to attend the 25th annual commencement of the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades along with a letter from the school to Ruth Irwin inviting her to visit the campus.

Three newsletters from the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.

A page from the Williamsonian containing a reprint from "The Sunday Mercury," Philadelphia, March 10, 1889, on the death of Isaiah V. Williamson.

Life of Isaiah V. Williamson, by John Wanamaker

A copy of "Langhorne Centennial 1876 - 1976"

A copy of "Penndel Borough Centennial 1899 -1999"

A copy of "Hulmeville Borough Centennial 1872 -1972"

A 2008 Monthly Monitor calendar from the Historic Langhorne Association.

A 20" x 29 1/2" 1905 Map of Bucks County, Published by James D. Scott, Doylestown

A collection of newspaper and magazine articles dealing with Langhorne.


An 8" x 10" black and white photograph of 109 West Maple Avenue, Langhorne, taken July 12, 1983 by Jeffrey L. Marshall for the Bucks County Conservancy.

2- 111/2" x 13 1/2" black and white photographs of John A. Ehrlen and father George G. Ehrlen at Mathew Heists home and farm in northeast Philadelphia following a hunting trip to Maine in November, 1920.

A postcard of John A. Ehrlen and father George G. Ehrlen at Mathew Heists home and farm in northeast Philadelphia following a hunting trip to Maine in November, 1920. (Same picture as listed above.)

A 5" x 7" color photograph of Ruth Ehrlen Irwin. (No date.)

A sheet of negatives of 109 W. Maple Avenue, showing details of the house.

Hotel Licenses for the Langhorne Hotel: January, 1890 (Transfer from Daniel McLaughlin to Joseph E. Boucot), May,1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, February, 1896 (transfer from Louis Stauble to Thomas Heague), June, 1896, February,1898(transfer from Thomas W. Hague to E.K Hogeland), June, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905-06 (transfer to George G. Ehrlen), 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1922

Retail License: 1933-1934

Hotel Liquor License: Nov. 5, 1934

Hotel Liquor License: Jan. 23, 1935

Retail Malt Liquor License: 1934 - 1935

Two Langhorne Hotel Registration Books:

August 17, 1908 - June 15, 1914

June 16, 1914 - April 6, 1943

Advertising Poster 11 1/2 X 17 1/4 (Probably late 1800's)

Advertising Poster 11 3/4" X 18 1/4 (Probably late 1800's)

Notice to Guests (late 1800's)

1905 Calendar from George G. Ehrlen, Wagon Builder, 3163-67 Germantown Avenue (The wagon building company was founded by his father.)

Membership Card: Philadelphia County Driving Club, 1914, George G. Ehrlen

Membership Card: Bucks County Fish, Game & Forestry Association, Jan. 28, 1915

Business Card: Franklin Briggs, Woodbourne, Repairs for All Kinds of Farm Machinery

Ink Blotter: William R. Boal, 128 E. Maple Avenue, Langhorne, Telephone 217-J

The American Weekly: Jan. 28, 1951, Magazine Section - Sunday Bulletin, Philadelphia

Gifts of Ruth Ehrlen Irwin, circa 1980s-2008.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 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 Historic Langhorne Association directly for more information.

Historic Langhorne Association
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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 Historic Langhorne Association for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest