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Jane L. S. Davidson papers


Held at: Wallace Township Archives [Contact Us]P.O. Box 670, Glenmoore, PA, 19343

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Wallace Township Archives. 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

Jane L. S. Davidson (1939-2012) of Chester County, Pennsylvania was an award-winning advocate for historic preservation, long-time county Historic Preservation Coordinator, and co-founder of the Chester County Historic Preservation Network.

Jane L. Smoker was born in 1939 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and attended nearby Millersville University. In 1961 she married Lester Davidson, a restoration builder. The couple had two children.

Davidson dedicated her career to identifying historic structures across Chester County, Pennsylvania. She helped set up a partnership between the Chester County Historical Society, the Brandywine Conservancy, and volunteers to conduct a historic sites inventory between 1979 and 1982. Based on the research conducted in this project, Chester County successfully listed more sites on the National Register of Historic Places than any other Pennsylvania county besides Philadelphia.

In 1981 Davidson helped create and served in the first governmental historic preservation office at the county level in Pennsylvania, serving as the Chester County Historic Preservation Officer. She taught local history and genealogy research at West Chester University for a decade, and authored over a dozen publications.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush added her to the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. In 2000, she was named Outstanding Woman in Historic Preservation by the National Park Service. She retired from the county in 2006 and passed away in 2012.


Lemar, J. and Lois Ann Mast. "President Appoints Davidson to Preservation Council." Tri County Record, July 7, 1992. Clipping found in Wallace Township Historical Commission subject files.

Rellahan, Michael P. "Longtime Historic Preservationist Jane Davidson Dies." Daily Local News, December 17, 2012. Accessed February 24, 2014.

This collection consists mostly of materials relating to Jane L. S. Davidson's work as preservation coordinator for Chester County. There is research on historic sites, such as photocopies of deeds and other property documents, photographs of buildings (including two albums of the Albert M. Greenfield home, 1984), research notes, and reports. There is also correspondence relating to historic preservation and subdivision development in the area, and an historic resource atlas. Unrelated to Davidson's work for the county, there is also a folder of her family genealogy research, and a packet of clippings on Wallace Township history assembled by Olive Cadbury and acquired by Davidson (circa 1950s).

The majority of the collection is in folders, arranged alphabetically by subject. There are also a few binders. A handwritten inventory of the collection is available on-site.

Gift of Davidson family, 2013.

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 Wallace Township Archives directly for more information.

Wallace Township Archives
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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