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Old York Road Historical Society photograph collection


Held at: Old York Road Historical Society [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Old York Road Historical Society. 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

Montgomery County, situated in southeastern Pennsylvania, was established in 1784 out of the western portion of Philadelphia County. Part of the Welsh Tract, an area of Pennsylvania settled by Quakers from Wales, it is located along the Schuylkill River. Montgomery County has played an important role in U.S. history, including being the site of such Revolutionary War events as the dramatic reshaping of Washington's Army at Valley Forge and the lesser-known engagement of General Lafayette at Barren Hill. Among its significant residents are military figures Winfield S. Hancock, John F. Hartranft (also Governor of Pennsylvania), and Henry "Hap" Arnold; abolitionist Lucretia Mott; inventors David Rittenhouse and Thaddeus Lowe; and artist Thomas Hovenden. Since its founding, Montgomery County has experienced "booming industry and manufacturing, rich farm fields, advanced transportation, artistic endeavors and unique religious beliefs."

The Old York Road Historical Society studies and preserves the history and folklore of the communities along and adjacent to Old York Road from Philadelphia to New Hope. In particular, the Society's collection documents the area of eastern Montgomery County including the townships of Abington (incorporated 1704), Cheltenham (established 1682), Lower Moreland (incorporated 1917) and Upper Moreland (incorporated 1916) and the boroughs of Bryn Athyn (incorporated 1916), Hatboro (established 1740), Jenkintown (incorporated 1874) and Rockledge (incorporated 1893).


Historical Society of Montgomery County. "Home." Accessed May 7, 2013.

This collection consists of various photographs and small photographic collections acquired by Old York Road Historical Society over the years. The bulk of the photographs are arranged by municipality and then subject. There are also several named sub-collections. It should be noted that some photographs stored with this collection actually form parts of particular manuscript collections. (e.g. "Wyncote Players").

The "Miscellaneous" photographs include original and copy prints with some film negatives, oversized items, negatives, prints, CDs, DVDs, and slides. They are organized into series by the following municipalities: Abington Township, Bryn Athyn Borough, Cheltenham Township, Glenside, Hatboro Borough, Jenkintown Borough, Lower Moreland Township, Rockledge Borough, Upper Moreland Township, Willow Grove, and other areas (including Upper Dublin, Horsham, Philadelphia). About half of these "Miscellaneous" photographs are in a vertical file; some are stored in separate boxes based on size and format.

The Abington High School photograph collection, 1916-1970, includes 500 original print images of school groups (for the year book) and school buildings.

Nan S. Bers photographs, 1990-2001, contain 3,000 film negatives and prints taken by the Old York Road Historical Society photographer. Images are of social events throughout the area attended by local personages which appeared in the social/people section of the local newspapers.

William T. Bitting photographs, 1896-1907, contains 200 negatives and prints. An amateur photographer, Bitting captured landmarks beginning at Broad and Butler Streets in Philadelphia and continuing through Germantown, Branchtown, Shoemakertown, Jenkintown, Weldon, Willow Grove, and Fitzwatertown to the Bitting summer home in Dresher. Subjects include estates, churches, townscapes, and Willow Grove Park.

Robert J. Clark, Jr. was a professional photographer who worked for the Upper Moreland School District for a number of years. The Robert J. Clark, Jr. photographs, 1972-1998, includes approximately 10,000 negatives and prints of school teachers, officials, students and activities as well as some more general photographs of Upper Moreland Township.

Arthur T. Gentile negatives, 1981-1987, contains approximately 7,000 images of people and events primarily in Lower and Upper Moreland Townships, Hatboro and the areas of Horsham and Lower Bucks County taken by this professional photographer.

Lester D. Guy was a newspaper photographer. The Lester D. Guy photographs, 1970-1990, contains approximately 1,5000 negatives and copy prints of area people and events with emphasis on Abington Township.

Scott Roman was a newspaper photographer for Montgomery County newspapers. The Scott Roman photographs, 1996-2006, contains original film negatives, slides, and digital images on CD-rom that document eastern Montgomery County events and sports.

Lastly, there is a series of real photo postcards, arranged by municipality.

Note that Old York Road Historical Society also holds several personal photograph collections other than those included in this collection

Materials acquired by Old York Road Historical Society at various times from various sources.

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 Old York Road Historical Society directly for more information.

Old York Road Historical Society
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 Old York Road Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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