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Uwchlan Township Historical Commission manuscripts collection


Held at: Uwchlan Township Historical Commission [Contact Us]715 North Ship Road, Exton, PA, 19341

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission. 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

Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries, the area now known as Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania was occupied by the Leni-Lenape (Delaware) and Iroquoian-speaking Susquehanuck peoples. The first Europeans in the area were Swedish explorers in 1637-1638, although the first permanent settlement was not established until the 1700s. Welsh Quakers were the main group to settle in Uwchlan, requesting their own meeting in 1712, which is the same year that Uwchlan Township was founded. An additional tract was added to the eastern portion of the township in 1726, likely at the behest of prominent resident and large landholder David Lloyd. In 1858 the upper part of Uwchlan Township split from Uwchlan to form Upper Uwchlan Township.

Uwchlan was a primarily rural farming community until World War II, when post-war suburbanization resulted in rapid development. The population increased has increased dramatically from about 500 in 1920 to over 6,000 in the 1970s and upwards of 18,000 at the beginning of the 21st century.

Uwchlan embraces the Lionville Historic District, a crossroads community registered as a national historic district with 39 contributing historic buildings.


Brody, Susanna Wilson. Uwchlan Township: 300 Years Above the Valley. Uwchlan Township Historical Commission: 2011.

Gerlach, Jim (PA). "300th Anniversary of Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania." Congressional Record 158:100 (June 29, 2012), page E1195. Accessed February 12, 2014.

This collection includes photographs, deeds, maps, family papers, business records, municipal records, and various other materials collected from local people and organizations from Uwchlan Township (Chester County, Pennsylvania) and nearby areas.

A wide variety of photographs are in this collection, depicting local people, buildings, and groups, dating from circa 1870 to circa 2000. Among these are: binders of photographs (original and copies) of students, teachers, and school administrators, many with biographical notes; Carter family photograph albums, circa 1870-1900; photographs of the township building when it was still a private mansion; some slides and slide negatives; and photographs of headstones in a local burial ground. Of special interest is a set of glass plate negatives, circa 1915, taken by Dr. Walter L. Croll.

There are a large number of deeds in the collection, ranging from 1742 to 1907, as well as several Chester County atlases (1873 and 1883) and numerous maps of the area.

Several small collections of family papers and organizational records are also included in the collection. From the Carter family, in addition to photograph albums, there is an account book repurposed as a clippings scrapbook (circa 1879-circa 1900); there are also letters and papers from Ernest Cornwall (1910s-1920s). Of special interest are a dozen Civil War-era letters to Sarah Downing in Lionville, Pennsylvania from her brothers away in the military, Joseph and William (1861-1863). The collection also includes a minute book from the Literary Association of Uwchlan, 1862-1872, with clippings pasted in; and receipts and invoices from many local businesses. Municipal records consist of several volumes of Uwchlan Township records, 1835-1919, and a Board of Supervisors treasurer's book, 1906-1913.

Materials collected at various times from various sources by the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission.

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 Uwchlan Township Historical Commission directly for more information.

Uwchlan Township Historical Commission
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.
Access Restrictions

Contact Uwchlan Township Historical Commission for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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