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William Collier slides and files


Held at: Historical Society of Hilltown Township [Contact Us]P.O. Box 79, Hilltown, Pennsylvania, 18927-0079

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Hilltown Township. 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

William E. Collier (1902-1977), a resident of Haycock Township and of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, worked for Pennsylvania's Bureau of Employment Security in several capacities from the 1930s to the 1960s. Collier served as Manager for the Pennsylvania State Employment Service for Philadelphia County, as Labor Relations Representative for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Philadelphia, and as Associate Director of the Bureau of Employment and Unemployment Compensation. A majority of his work related to the state's response to the Great Depression, unemployment compensation, and labor unions.

Collier was also an avid amateur historian, and was particularly interested in the history of Bucks County. He was involved with the Bucks County Historical Society and conducted research on local history topics. Collier spent a significant amount of time creating photographic documentation of Bucks County landmarks. From 1966 until his death, Collier traveled around the county and surrounding areas to take color slides of covered bridges, barns, one-room schoolhouses, mills, and other sites. When a plan was introduced to flood an inhabited section of Bucks County to create Lake Nockamixon, Collier opposed the plan. A major focus of his photography was documenting the architectural and geographic features slated for destruction in creating Lake Nockamixon State Park. Despite opposition from Collier and others, the lake was created and the park opened to the public in 1973.

About half of this collection consists of approximately 5,200 slides taken by William E. Collier from 1966 to 1977. The rest of the collection is Collier's files, organized into two series: local history research files and professional papers.

Collier's slides depict farm structures, one-room schools, old bridges, churches, and other geographic and architectural features of Upper and Central Bucks County and surrounding areas. Many of the slides focus on features that were destroyed by the creation of Lake Nockamixon State Park shortly after Collier photographed them. The slides are sorted by subject. Collier created a card index to his slides, available on-site, that provide background historical notes about each subject; he also compiled a four-volume chronological register, or inventory, of his slides, also available on-site. The slides have been digitized and can be viewed on a computer on-site.

Collier's local history research files contain his research notes, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and copies of documents, arranged by local history topic, circa 1960s-1970s.

Collier's professional papers contain correspondence, pamphlets, conference proceedings, and a few photographs, relating to Collier's work, especially his work for the government in employment and compensation. Some of his files are arranged chronologically, 1932-1943, and others by subject.

Most of the folders in Collier's files begin with a document written by Collier in 1970-1971 contextualizing the materials contained within.

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 Historical Society of Hilltown Township directly for more information.

Historical Society of Hilltown Township
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.
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