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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.

Collection Inventory

Abington Center, 1991, 1994: correspondence and plan for development of former Abington Township School property, Susquehanna Street Road.
Animal Facilities: brochures on animal facility projects, including W. S. P. C. A. of Pennsylvania Hospital and Clinic, Pennsylvania State University Centralized Biology Laboratory, Horse Barn and Paddock, and Animal Maintenance Center; with plans, renderings and photographs.
Ardmore Office Building--see Colotte.
Art Associates, 1969-1970, 1978: Correspondence relating to renderings.
Barn renovations: clipping, photo, notecard.
Bay Club: photograph.
Bayard Taylor Public School, Philadelphia, 1970: letter, photographs.
Boxwood Terrace: photograph.
Camp William Penn Gate, 1996, Project Manual and drawing.
Cedar Springs Development, Somers Point, NJ: Part of Multi Family Housing brochure also including Kimberton Springs, Phoenixville, PA.
Centralized Biological Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University, 1972: Brochure, photos, correspondence (see also Animal Facilities).
Cheltenham Methodist Church ramp, 1989, sketch, note.
Cheltenham Township District Justice Office, 1992: specifications, clipping.
Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, 1996: revision to drawing A-1.
Client Files, 1966-1967 (Correspondence and other documents relating to War Memorial Building Emergency Lighting System, Glenside, PA).
Colket Development: photograph.
Colotte Office Building: photographs.
Complimentary Letters, 1969-1989.
Crestview North Retirement and Convalescent Center: photographs (Mary Ella Moffly residence, Lynnebrook Lane, Chestnut Hill transferred to Miscellaneous photographs).
Curtis Hall Rehabilitation project manual and condition and progress reports, 1997.
East Girard Savings Association, 708 Castor Avenue, Additions and Alterations: photographs and description.
Ebert Residence, 1970: specifications for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ebert, 1985 Terwood Road, Huntingdon Valley.
Elkins Park Station, 1989-1991: drawings, articles, brochures, memoranda, historical material, clippings, on restoration and dedication as National Historic Landmark.
Fafnir: photographs.
Farm Center Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park: photograph.
First American Savings, 1990-1991, alterations to 123 Old York Road, Jenkintown: specifications, interior design drawings, notes, photographs.
Foff Offices. photographs.
Gleeson and Mulrooney, Rosemont College Activities Building and St. Francis Hospital, Wilmington: photographs.
Glenside 1980, 1966: clippings on community planning project for Greater Glenside Chamber of Commerce.
Glenside Building (835 Glenside), 1989: Glenside Ave. at Rice's Mill Rd.,sketches, surveys; photographs, clippings.
Glenside Fire Company, 1987: renovation and expansion feasibility study, budget analysis, and roof study, survey, clippings, photographs, slides.
Glenside Free Library, 1968: specifications for furniture, photographs, and other documents (This project was the recipient of the Distinguished Building Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Architects of the American Institute of Architects, 1969.).
Glenside Ave. Utilities: Bent Terrace Subdivision Site Plan, 1990.
Harbor House Construction: photographs.
Hollywood Tavern, 1990: drawings for second floor apartment and first floor area, with exterior photographs.
Homemakers Fabric Center, Whitpain Township: photograph of rendering and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Horse Barn/Paddock, Penn State University: photographs, description (see also Animal Facilities).
Jenkintown Day Nursery Playhouse: photographs of plans, description, and other documents.
Vincent Kling, Architect: photographs, brochures (Clemmer on staff).
Korman Corporation: photograph of rendering.
Masonic Home, 1987: letter.
Mills Master File: photographs of renderings and finished projects for Penn State University and others.
Miscellaneous: clippings, correspondence, notes, brochures, etc.
Miscellaneous photographs (Mary Ella Moffly residents, Lynnebrook Lane, Chestnut Hill; Mr. and Mrs. Gurney P. Sloan, Jr. residence, Morris Rd, Ft. Washington; Mrs. Jane Paul residence, Moreland Circle, Philadelphia 19118; Mr. and Mrs. John Keller residence, Rex Ave., Philadelphia 19118; David K. Eichler residence, Norman La., Philadelphia 19118; Whitpain Township Administration Building and Police Headquarters; Other, some unidentified).
Montgomery Avenue, Cheltenham, Offices: photograph of site plan.
Montgomery County Youth Center, 1971-1974: correspondence, Building Program, 1974 Report, clippings.
N. B. Liebman Furniture: polariod photographs.
9th Street Apartments, Ocean City, NJ: photograph of model and specifications.
Ocean City Convention Hall, c. 1965: Mechanical and Electrical Specifications.
Ocean City Yacht Club: photographs and program.
Old Brochures and Resumes.
Original Contract Documents, 1964, 1965 relating to work in Ocean City and Abington Township School District.
Oskar Huber, Southampton: public relations brochure.
Palmyra Harbour Tennis and Swim Club: Program with photographs of model.
Pavilion Motor Lodge: photographs and snapshots of "Sting Ray" and other New Jersey shore motels (see also Sting Ray Motor Inn).
Photographic Correspondence and Price Lists.
Port-O-Call Motel, Ocean City, NJ: ephemera.
Railroad Museum: photographs of renderings, construction progress, 1976-1977, polaroids, magazines, newsletters.
Roofers Union: photographs.
Standard Pressed Steel: photographs of rendering, building and aerial view, negatives.
Station Mews, Elkins Park: photographs of renderings and buildings, clipping.
Sting Ray Motor Inn, Ocean City, NJ: photographs, snapshots, ephemera (see also Pavilion Motor Lodge).
Supplemental Mail Room, Penn State University, University Park: photographs of renderings and buildings.
Train Collection Association--See Railroad Museum.
Villanova Nurses Dormitory, 1968: photographs of rendering, construction, building, description, clipping, and other documents.
Wittenberg Hall, Juvenile Hall, Washoe County, NV: booklet.
W.S.P.C.A.: photograph of plan (see also Animal Facilities).
Woodland, Dr. and Mrs. E. C, 1996: Plan and photograph for residence 644 Hoover Road, Blue Bell.
Wyncote Church Home Proposal, 1990.
Wyncote Church Home/Bent Terrace Subdivision Proposal, 1990-1992.
Wyncote Church Home/Bent Terrace Gilmore Engineers, 1990-1993.
Wyncote Church Home Incoming bills, 1990-1991.
Zettllemoyer Memorial Reredos, 1977: Carmel Presbyterian Church correspondence and drawings.
Zimmerman Barn, 1981: William Zimmerman barn at Rice's Mill and Deaver Roads, report on potential conversion, with photographs.

Abington Friends Meeting (Jenkintown).
Abington Orthodox Friends Meeting House (Jenkintown).
Ashbourne Presbyterian Church (Cheltenham).
Asbury, Thomas Henry, Residence (Cheltenham).
Butler Tract (Abington): concerning acquisition, 1977-1978.
Chelten Hills Historic District: Underground Railroad Proposal: includes chapters on Camp William Penn, Underground Railroad, Jay Cooke, Lucretia Mott, W. W. Davis, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and Union League of Philadelphia.
Cooke, Jay (Cheltenham).
Covenanter, Third Church Reformed Presbyterian (Cheltenham).
Davis, Edward M.(Cheltenham); Society of Friends; Camptown.
Elkins Park/Ogontz Park (Cheltenham): includes National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Elkins Park Train Station.
Elkins Park Presbyterian Church.
Elstowe Manor (Cheltenham); William L. Elkins.
Great Central Fair.
Historic American Buildings Survey (Abington, Jenkintown, Cheltenham): correspondence and lists relating to effort to resurvey area.
Jenkintown Area (Jenkintown): Grace Presbyterian Church; Jenkintown Lyceum (Jenkins Town Lyceum); Church of Our Saviour.
Jenkintown Manor (Jenkintown).
La Mott Village (Cheltenham).
La Mott, Camp William Penn (Cheltenham): includes article on Camp William Penn and the Union League.
La Mott, Lucretia Mott, "Roadside" (Cheltenham).
Latham Park (Cheltenham).
McKinley, Abington Township.
Mennonite Church, Huntingdon Valley (Montgomery County).
Montier Family.
"One God, Sixteen Houses": research for book on places of worship along Old York Road, published 1990.
Railroads--North Pennsylvania Railroads history, 1944.
Smith and the "Castle".
Statue of Liberty and the Union League of Philadelphia.
Steeles of Caversham Mansion and Ballanreas: see Oversize Box 15 for computer discs with drafts of book on Steele builders).
Titanic: relating to deaths of George D. and Harry Elkins Widener and St. Paul's Episcopal Church memorials.
Trolley Car.
Widener Estate (Cheltenham):Correspondence, 1989-1991 concerning efforts to purchase P. A. B. Widener estate (Lynwood Hall) from Carl McIntyre's Faith Theological Seminary for development and preservation.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Boxes 10-11

Alverthorpe Park Advisory Committee (Chairman), 1960-1963: recommendations on the policy questions of who will be permitted to use the park, how the park will be controlled and other matters; fund raising; design and use; overall policy and planning; setting up the administration, organization and development of park; to cooperate with Township; Administration and Policy, Finances, Public Relations, Activities; correspondence, minutes, notices, etc.
Alverthorpe Park Brochures: Proposed Long Range Plan of Development, 1959; 1962 Annual Report.
Independence National Historic Park, 1996: correspondence, clippings on redesign of Independence Mall, Clemmer advocating for inclusion of"Grand Federal Edifice," Carpenters Company parade float.
Old York Road Historical Society: miscellaneous records, 1992-1998, for which he served as president, 1992-1994.
Union League of Philadelphia: plans for dedication of Ulysses S. Grant portrait, 1997, and miscellaneous.
Other miscellaneous organizations.

Carriage House renovation and work, 1956 (1957) 1960.
Montgomery Co. Republican Committee, 1954-1970, including 1956 campaign.
Consecration of the Bishop set design, 1985-1986.
Sketches for Xmas cards.
Misc. personal.
Mary Jane Clemmer: House tours (incl. photos), Mont. Co Child Welfare Advisory Board.

Family photographs.
Computer discs with research notes.

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