Held at: Historical Society of Frankford [Contact Us]1507 Orthodox St., Philadelphia, PA, 19124
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Frankford. 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
The Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is located in the lower northeast section of the city and is bordered by the Frankford Creek on the south, Castor Avenue on the west, Cheltenham Avenue on the north, and roughly the I-95 expressway on the east. Originally a village, Frankford was incorporated as a borough in 1800 and was later absorbed into the City of Philadelphia in the 1854 Philadelphia city/county consolidation.
The area now known as Frankford was originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape Indians and later settled by Swedes, who started a village and gristmill in the 1660s. The village grew significantly after William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1682 and members of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, established a meeting in Frankford. The village was part of a large tract of land known as the "Manor of Frank" that was granted to the Society of Free Traders, a group of mostly London-based Quaker businessmen that was led by William Penn. A well-used Indian trail in the area became known as the King's Highway in 1683 and was later renamed Frankford Avenue, one of the oldest country roads in continuous use in the nation. The location along the King's Highway was a significant factor in Frankford's growth as an important center of commerce and trade.
During the 19th century, Frankford became a thriving manufacturing center. Immigrants of English and German descent settled in the area, opening textile, powder, grist, and other mills along Frankford Creek. These mills, along with Frankford's commercial growth, attracted farmers from neighboring townships who sought mills to process their raw materials and farm products. The first textile mill was erected by Samuel Martin in 1809 and in 1820 Samuel Pilling established the first mill for the block printing of calico. The first dye house in Frankford was established in 1821 and in 1843 the first mill run by steam power in Frankford was started by Richard and John Garsed. The nearby Frankford Arsenal was constructed by the federal government following the War of 1812 and completed in the 1820s.
With the development of industry in Frankford, its population grew quickly with immigrant workers. In addition to mill workers, free African Americans settled in Frankford, establishing fraternal and religious institutions, including Campbell African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1807 and is one of the oldest AME churches in the nation. A number of churches were established in Frankford in the 18th and 19th centuries, serving the area's various religious denominations and ethnic groups. In 1831 the first savings and loan institution in the United States, Oxford Provident Building Association, was created in Frankford to assist local workers in purchasing homes.
In 1854, the Borough of Frankford, along with the various townships, districts, and boroughs within the County of Philadelphia at that time, was annexed into the city of Philadelphia through the Act of Consolidation. After consolidation, Frankford continued to grow, as the area became increasingly industrialized and numerous mills, predominantly in the textile industry, opened. By 1869, there were forty major manufacturers in the area. In 1867, the Globe Dye Works was opened by Richard Greenwood and William Bault. Immigrants continued to move to Frankford to work in the factories and churches and schools continued to be established in the area. Vacant-farmland was developed into Victorian twin homes and rows of smaller homes to meet the needs of the mill workers and a growing middle-class.
Construction of the Frankford Elevated Railway, connecting Frankford to Center City and West Philadelphia, was completed in 1922. Frankford Transportation Center became the terminal station for the line and helped Frankford grow as a major shopping district in the early 20th century. Industry in Frankford declined markedly after World War II, part of the overall de-industrialization of Philadelphia that occurred in the post-war period. Most of Frankford's manufacturing companies closed or left the area in the latter part of the 20th century.
As middle class families began to migrate to the far northeastern parts of the city or to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia in the later 20th century, African American and Asian families began to settle in Frankford. As of 2015, Frankford is a working-class neighborhood with a diverse population, including a large number of African Americans, Asian Americans, Polish Americans, Italian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and West Indian Americans.
Auwarter, Barbara M. and Joyce Halley. "Frankford." Workshop of the World. Wallingford, PA: Oliver Evans Press, 1990. Accessed November 2, 2015. http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/frankford/frankford.html.
Harris, Brian H. Images of America: Frankford. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005. Historical Society of Frankford. "History." Accessed November 2, 2015. http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/frankford/frankford.html.
Sadler, Diane. "Frankford." Historical Northeast Philadelphia. Accessed November 2, 2015. http://nephillyhistory.com/hnep1994/frankford.htm.
Smalarz, Matthew. "Northeast Philadelphia." The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Accessed November 2, 2015. http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/northeast-philadelphia-essay/.
The Historical Society of Frankford lantern slide collection consists of roughly 1,665 mid-nineteenth through the early-twentieth century images. The images are primarily of the Frankford area and Northeast Philadelphia, but there are also many images of the greater Philadelphia area and also of places and individuals unrelated to the Philadelphia area.
Some of the lantern slides have been digitized.
A number of inventories and lists of the lantern slides have been compiled over the years. Some are simply numerical inventories of the slides, while others are lists of images related to specific subjects that were compiled for thematic slide shows.
According to HSF Board Member Diane Sadler, much of the work on the collection was done by volunteer William (Bill) Barnes, brother of long-time HSF Curator Howard Barnes. Bill worked for the Philadelphia Water Department for 39 years and knew a lot about the area. Diane remembers that Bill was rather shy and that while he prepared many slide show presentations, it was his brother Howard who would actually give the presentations publicly. Diane believes that most of the lists and inventories that follow were compiled by Bill. He died while still working on the collection.
1. Record of Lantern Slides - Historical Society of Frankford. This appears to be the original inventory of the lantern slide collection, perhaps done in the early to mid twentieth century. It is a list of the 1665 slides filed in numerical order and organized by box number. There are 17 boxes listed, each of which holds approximately – although not exactly - 100 slides. Each slide is given a number and a brief title. The slides were apparently later re-boxed and this list superseded in part by #2 below.
2. The Frankford Historical Society – Listing of Lantern Slides. This appears to be an updated version of #1 above. It lists the slides with the same filing numbers and titles as #1, but the box numbers differ somewhat. It appears that the slides were re-boxed so that each box held exactly 100 slides (Box 1, slides 1-100; Box 2, slides 101-200, etc.). This list only goes up to slide # 1082, while the earlier list goes up to slide # 1665.
3. HSF Lantern Slide Inventory (up to slide # 300). This is a handwritten numerical list of slides 1 through 300, but with more detailed information about each slide than #’s 1 and 2 above. The information includes the slide number, title, date, location, and comments and notes about the slide or its subject.
Lists of Slides for Presentations
Following are various lists of slides from the Lantern Slide Collection that were compiled by subject for slide shows and lectures, probably by Bill Barnes.
4. The Frankford Historical Society – Lantern Slides: Churches – Frankford Area. This is a list of 77 slides of churches in the Frankford area. The list is in two parts: 1) a typewritten list of the 77 slides in order of presentation, and 2) a handwritten version of the same list but with the filing number of each slide.
5. The Frankford Historical Society –Lantern Slides: Churches – Phila Area & Frankford Suburbs. This is a list of 27 slides of churches in the greater Northeast Philadelphia area, as well as several historic churches in downtown Philadelphia. The list is in two parts: 1) a typewritten list of the 27 slides in order of presentation, and 2) a handwritten version of the same list but with the filing number of each slide. 6. The Frankford Historical Society – Lantern Slides: Schools – Frankford Area. This is a list of 40 slides of schools in the Frankford area. The list is in two parts: 1) a typewritten list of the 40 slides in order of presentation, and 2) a handwritten version of the same list but with the filing number of each slide.
7. The Frankford Historical Society –Lantern Slides: Schools – Phila & Frankford Suburbs. This is a list of 20 slides of schools in the greater Northeast Philadelphia area, as well as several schools in the greater Philadelphia area. The list is in two parts: 1) a typewritten list of the 20 slides in order of presentation, and 2) a handwritten version of the same list but with the filing number of each slide.
8. The Frankford Historical Society –Lantern Slides: Hotels/Inns – Frankford Area & Suburbs. This is a list of 33 slides of hotels and inns in the Frankford area, as well as several from the greater Northeast Philadelphia area and elsewhere in Philadelphia. The list is in two parts: 1) a typewritten list of the 33 slides in order of presentation, and 2) a handwritten version of the list but with the filing number of each slide.
9. Lantern Slides – Houses & Mansions. This is a one-page handwritten list of some 26 slides of historic houses in the Frankford area. Using inventories # 1 or 2 above, it lists those slides from numbers 1 through 57 that are of historic homes and mansions, omitting those that are of other subjects. This list does not go beyond slide number 57.
10. Glass Slide Presentation. This is a five-page list of slides of the Frankford area prepared for a slide presentation. It was apparently printed from a computer database program.
11. Churches of Frankford. This is a set of nine pages of typed and handwritten notes apparently prepared for one or more slide presentations on churches of Frankford. There are several different lists of churches and/or slides, some with just church names and locations, others with more detailed information. Several of the lists include references to filing numbers for images of churches in the HSF lantern slide and photograph collections. One list includes notes on when and how slides were taken of images from the photograph collection, indicating that a new set of slides – not lantern slides - were made (probably by Bill Barnes) for a presentation.
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 Historical Society of Frankford directly for more information.
- Historical Society of Frankford
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw 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 Historical Society of Frankford for information about accessing this collection.