Leon Clemmer papers
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
Leon Clemmer (1926-2013) was an architect, historian, planner, artist, master craftsman, and civic leader. Born in 1926 he was proud of his heritage as a descendant of the Steele family, prominent Philadelphia builders of early twentieth- century factories. Clemmer graduated from Central High School, enrolled in the Moore School of Electrical Engineering and then the University of Pennsylvania. There he earned his Bachelors in Architecture in 1951 after service in the Pacific during World War II.
Clemmer worked with a number of architectural offices, including Vincent Kling from 1951 to 1956. In 1962 he established his own practice. Although he specialized in designing institutional buildings, he also did some residential work. Two of his projects, the Eastern Montgomery County Youth Center and the Glenside Free Library, received special notice. He served as a director of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) from 1976 to 1981.
He and his wife Mary Jane lived in a former carriage house that they converted in Jenkintown. They were both active in Republican politics, and Leon was appointed to several Abington Township committees. He was also involved in civic affairs related to his interest in history. He served on boards and committees, including the Carpenter's Company, Alverthorpe Park, Union League of Philadelphia, and Old York Road Historical Society. Leon and Mary Jane were members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park and Leon was an avid advocate for its restoration.
The collection, which dates from 1961 to 1998, reflects Clemmer's professional, civic, and personal activities and interests. The professional series include photographs, brochures, ephemera, and miscellaneous documents relating to his architectural projects. Clemmer's drawings are at the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives. His historical interests are reflected in the research files series, which includes material on the sinking of the Titanic, Camp William Penn, the Widener estate in Cheltenham (Lynnwood Hall), and his efforts to increase and improve the Historical American Buildings Survey (HABS) entries for Cheltenham, Abington and Jenkintown. There are groups of files relating to his work at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and a few of the other organizations with which he was involved. The final series contains some autobiographical documents, files on the carriage house renovation, and other miscellaneous material.
See collection inventory below. Clemmer's own arrangement and file names were retained as much as possible.
Accessions 2000.032 and 2002.060.
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 staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society.
- This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society. 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.