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Reeves Wetherill scrapbooks


Held at: Philadelphia History Museum [Contact Us]15 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia History 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

Reeves Wetherill (1912-1992) was a Philadelphia socialite and Vice President for Public Relations at Wanamaker's department store from 1960-1987.

Reeves Wetherill (whose full name was Biddle Reeves Wetherill) was born in 1912 to Abel Proctor Wetherill and Sarah Reeves Mullen and grew up in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Graduating from University of Pennsylvania in 1936, Reeves had originally planned on working in his family's paint business, which they had run for six generations. When his father sold the business during the Great Depression, Reeves went to work for Strawbridge and Clothier in Philadelphia. After serving in World War II as a lieutenant commander in the Unites States Navy, Reeves returned to Philadelphia and worked at Gimbels department store in public relations and as the director of special events, where he helped plan the store's annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Later, he was briefly the manager of the Philadelphia branch of Saks Fifth Avenue. In 1953, Reeves began working at Wanamaker's department store and served as its Vice President for Public Relations from 1960 to 1987. As part of his duties, Reeves hosted, interviewed, and entertained celebrities who visited Philadelphia. Reeves married Sally Ann Chapman (1918-1990) in 1939. They had one child, Reeves Jr. Reeves Wetherill passed away in 1992 in Bryn Mawr, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

The Wetherill family descended from Christopher Wetherill, an early settler of Burlington County, New Jersey in the 17th century. Another ancestor, Samuel Wetherill (1736-1816), owned a textile and chemical manufacturing business that supplied clothing to Continental troops during the American Revolutionary War. Samuel is considered to be the founder of the Religious Society of Free Quakers, a group who separated from the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to support the American colonists' fight for independence from Britain during the Revolutionary War.


Wallace, Andy. "Reeves Wetherill, 79; He Gave Stars Their Introduction to Brotherly Love." Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11, 1992. Accessed September 25, 2014.

This collection consists primarily of scrapbooks, 1935-1985, that document the lives of members of the upper class in Philadelphia, including the lives of Reeves and Sally Ann Wetherill and Reeves' role at Wanamaker's department store. The scrapbooks, of which there are about a dozen, contain newspaper clippings, photographs, invitations and other ephemera. There is also a small amount of 19th century documents, including some relating to Reeve's ancestors Samuel Wetherill (1736-1816) and his son, Samuel Wetherill Jr. (1764-1829), who owned a textile manufacturing and chemical production business, and later a white lead paint factory, in Philadelphia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The 19th century documents include: a few lithographs and engravings; letters; government petitions and other political related papers; minutes and resolutions from the Society of Constitutional Republicans, a short-lived (March-December 1805) organization established by Samuel Wetherill Jr. and others who opposed altering Pennsylvania's state constitution; and other documents. An item-level inventory of this collection is available on-site.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Reeves Wetherill, 1982-1992 (accession numbers 82.8, 83.10, and 92.34)

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 Philadelphia History Museum directly for more information.

Philadelphia History Museum
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu 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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