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Helen M. Beitler ephemera collection


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

Helen Morris Beitler (1915-2002) was a collector of books and 18th, 19th and early 20th century ephemera. She collected trade cards, bill heads, catalogs, and other ephemera, focusing the trades and tools, children's literature, boating, advertising, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania history, and the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Her husband, Abraham Merklee Beitler, shared her love of collecting. The owner of a small advertising agency in Philadelphia prior to his retirement, Abraham Beitler amassed an enormous collection of tools.


Solis-Cohen, Lita. "Tool Collection Being Dispersed at a Series of Auctions." Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), February 17, 1991. Accessed October 16, 2014.

This collection consists of various types of ephemera and printed materials, such as advertisements, almanacs, bills, blotters, booklets, brochures, calendars, baseball cards, business cards, trade cards, catalogs, envelopes, handbills, invitations, magazines, sheet music, newspapers, postcards, posters, programs, receipts, and tickets. There are some unique materials, such as photographs, financial papers, letters, hand-drawn maps, wills, blueprints, and other manuscripts. For the most part, it seems these items were collected because of the format and not the manuscript content, for example, a receipt collected for the bill head that incidentally contains a handwritten record of a transaction. Most of the items relate to Philadelphia, although some materials are associated with other locations. The collection focuses on sports, civic matters, and business and industry, although many other subjects are represented.

An item-level inventory is available on-site. The Philadelphia History Museum also owns a large number of objects, particularly tools, from the Beitler estate.

Gift of Helen M. Beitler, 1994 (accession 94.3) and gift of Helen M. Beitler Estate, 2003 (accession 03.02)

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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