Main content

David R. Contosta research files on Carson Valley School


Held at: Springfield Township Historical Society (Montgomery County, Pa.) [Contact Us]1432 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, PA , 19031

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Springfield Township Historical Society (Montgomery County, Pa.). 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

David R. Contosta is a professor of history at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Born in 1945 in Lancaster, Ohio, he received his PhD in History from Miami University of Ohio. He has written over 15 books on local history and other topics, including Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990 (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1992), A Philadelphia Family: The Houstons and Woodwards of Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), and A Venture in Faith: The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 1889-1989 (Philadelphia: The Church, 1988).

In 1997, Penn State University Press published David R. Contosta's book Philadelphia's Progressive Orphanage: The Carson Valley School. The Carson Valley School opened in Flourtown, Pennsylvania in 1918 as the Carson College for Orphan Girls with funding from Philadelphia streetcar tycoon Robert N. Carson. Carson originally stipulated that only white, parentless girls could be admitted, but by the 1970s the school was accepting children of all races and genders. As of 2012, the school is still in operation serving emotionally disturbed and behaviorally disordered students.


"David Contosta, Ph.D." Chestnut Hill College, 2010. Accessed December 28, 2011.

This collection is comprised of research notes and materials compiled by David Contosta while writing his book A Progressive Legacy: The Carson Valley School. This book on the history of Carson College for Orphan Girls--later The Carson Valley School--was commissioned by the school on its 75th anniversary in 1992.

The materials in this collection are arranged into several broad categories: biographical files, subject files, copies of Board minutes (1974-1990), and audiocassettes (seven cassettes; appear to be interviews). The files include copies of scholarly articles on Carson School and the history of education, copies of newspaper clippings and obituaries, copies of Carson Valley School records, handwritten research notes, and a small amount of correspondence regarding the research, writing, and publication of the book.

Photographs of Carson Valley School donated by Contosta can be found in the Springfield Township Historical Society photograph collection.

Gift of David R. Contosta.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot 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 Springfield Township Historical Society directly for more information.

Springfield Township Historical Society (Montgomery County, Pa.)
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza 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 Springfield Township Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest