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Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley collection of personal papers and organizational records


Held at: The Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley [Contact Us]301 West Main Street, Trappe, Pennsylvania, 19426

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley. 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

"The Perkiomen Valley [in Montgomery County] was important from Pennsylvania's earliest days because its rich farmlands provided food for residents of Philadelphia. During the Revolutionary War, Washington's troops wintered in nearby Valley Forge...

"Collegeville (formerly called "Perkiomen Bridge" and "Freeland") and Trappe were incorporated in 1896 from land that had been part of Upper Providence Township. Freeland Seminary was founded in 1848 by Abraham Hunsicker in what is now Collegeville. Ursinus College purchased it in 1869. Pennsylvania Female College was founded in 1851 and closed in 1880, at which time Ursinus began to admit women.

"Until the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the more recently opened 422 Expressway, Collegeville and Trappe had a strategic position at the midpoint of the Philadelphia-Reading Pike. The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, built in Collegeville in the 1700s, is one surviving example of the taverns and inns built to service this travel trade.

"Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, whose restored home is on Main Street in Trappe, founded the Lutheran Church in America. His eldest son, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, became a major general in the Continental Army, was a vice-president of Pennsylvania and a U.S. representative. Another son, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, served various Lutheran congregations until he was elected to the Continental Congress in 1779. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he was its first Speaker. A grandson, Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg, was the first U.S. minister to Austria."


Quoted text from: Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce. "About the Valley." 2012. Accessed April 2, 2012.

This collection is comprised of small groupings of family papers, organizational records, and miscellaneous original archival items collected by the Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley. It includes photographs, deeds, scrapbooks, minute books, ledgers, financial papers, estate papers, and diaries. Of special interest is a record book kept by Henry Vanderslice, a wagonmaster who served under General Muhlenburg during the Revolutionary War, and was stationed at Pennsylvania Camp, Reading, 1777-1780.

The largest part of this collection is photographs. Most of the photographs depict local buildings and churches, sports teams, individuals, scenery, and similar subjects. An extensive series of photographs and negatives is from a photographic survey of Collegeville and Trappe conducted from 1987 to 1988. The oldest photographs in the collection are four daguerreotypes; there is also a family photograph album that dates from the late 19th century. Of special interest is a set of World War II photographs featuring Pearl Harbor; there are also numerous slides of military memorials, 1964-1975. Additional photographs and certain documents are on display throughout the Dewees Museum.

There are approximately 50 deeds in the collection, dating from 1747 to 1926 and pertaining to properties in the Perkiomen Valley vicinity.

This collection features scrapbooks from several groups, including Augustus Community Camera Club (1971-1976), the Muhlenberg Bicentennial (1942), Old Augustus Lutheran Church (four volumes, circa 1926), and the Collegeville Community Club (five volumes, 1926-1966, accompanied by a minute book, 1955-1960). There is one scrapbook of business letterhead and trade cards, circa 1898. Several scrapbooks pertain to the American Legion, including one that features receipts (1920-1923), and two scrapbooks apparently compiled by American Legion members (1963-1995). Other organizations represented in the collection include the Victory Club of Rahns, Pennsylvania (two minute books, 1943-1978), and Muhlenberg House Antiques (visitors' log, 1953-1972). There is also one unidentified ledger, circa 1873, and an observation post log book, 1943.

There are papers from the Bringhurst, Fuhrman, Johnson, Poley, and Wetherill-Macomb-Gumbes families in the collection. Wright Bringhurst estate materials date from about 1903 to 1952; Fuhrman family papers include an autograph book (circa 1893), diary (1884), deeds, indentures, and various other documents, circa 1890-1926; Johnson family papers include account books and other financial documents (insurance policy, deeds, receipts, etc.), 1848-1903; Frank J. Poley papers include photographs, newspaper clippings, estate papers, circa 1890-1964; Wetherill, Macomb, and Gumbes family papers include a scrapbook, photographs, and estate papers, 1895-1909.

Materials collected at various times by the Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley.

The Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley
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.
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