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Mummers Museum scrapbook and photograph album collection


Held at: Mummers Museum [Contact Us]1100 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Mummers Museum. 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 tradition of Philadelphia Mummery started in the late 17th century as a continuation of the Old World customs of ushering in the New Year. Mummery in America is as unique to Philadelphia as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans. For example, the Swedes were Philadelphia's first settlers. When they came to Tinicum, just outside of Philadelphia, they brought their custom of visiting friends on "Second Day Christmas", December 26. Later they extended their period of celebration to include New Year's Day, and welcomed the New Year with masquerades and parades of noisy revelers. Most people carried firearms for protection in those early days of the [colony], and it did not take long before pistols and muskets joined with bells and noisemakers to create the sound of a New Year. Those who "shot in" the New Year became New Year's Shooters, and thus the name much later evolved to officially become the New Year's Shooters and Mummers Association. Groups would travel from house to house, sing songs, and perform dances -- all to be rewarded with food and drink.

"By the 1870's, what had been an uncoordinated group of neighborhood celebrations turned into an area-wide parade with two main groups of participants: Fancy Dress and Comic clubs. The City of Philadelphia finally sponsored and organized the first official Mummers Parade on January 1, 1901.

"The Philadelphia Mummers of today [2012] total over 10,000 marchers. The parade is still held on New Year's Day, with four distinct divisions: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. Comic division clubs lampoon modern day local and national political and social themes. The Fancy division clubs wear large, ornate costumes, carrying back pieces and performing with floats and props. The Fancy Brigade division clubs also wear large, ornate costumes, and perform intricate dances and drills with elaborate props... The String Band division clubs not only wear elaborate costumes like the Fancy and Fancy Brigade divisions, but also drill and perform playing musical instruments."


Quoted material from: Coper, Steve. "History." Accessed February 27, 2012.

This collection includes primarily scrapbooks, with a few photograph albums. Some scrapbooks and albums were compiled by individuals and some by The Mummers Museum. The scrapbooks are comprised primarily of newspaper clippings, with some photographs and ephemera associated with the Mummers Museum, Mummers clubs, and individual Mummers. There are several photograph albums in this collection, some depicting the parade and some documenting exhibits and functions of The Mummers Museum.

The scrapbooks in this collection are:

Red clippings scrapbook [Herman Seflin?], 1940-1960s

Gus Witte [Meyer] scrapbook with clippings, photographs, and ephemera, 1933-1940

Hegeman String Band scrapbook with correspondence, clippings, and invoices 1960s-1974

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger clippings (photocopies), 1930

Scrapbook on Mummers Museum, 1976

William "Curly" Connors newspaper clippings scrapbooks, Volume I (1888, 1937-1968), Volume II (1969-1987), and folder of loose clippings (1950s-1980s)

Nine George Walten photo albums of parade, 1976-1993, with loose photographs of parade, circa 1946-1954

Tom Dinote clippings scrapbooks, 1901-1994

Scrapbooks of clippings from Philadelphia Daily News 1940-1950, 1951-1985, 1986-1999

Clippings scrapbook on Fralinger String Band, 1967-1988

Clippings scrapbooks by museum staff, 1901-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1989, 1990-1999, and folders of loose clippings, 2000-2012

The photograph albums in this collection are:

Art in City Hall exhibit photo album, 1987-1988

Mummers Museum functions photograph album, 1987-1988

Two Frank Stermel photograph albums, circa 1940-1985 and 1964-1986

Albums created by or donated to The Mummers Museum at various times.

Mummers Museum
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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