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Yardley Historical Association local history collection


Held at: Yardley Historical Association [Contact Us]46 West Afton Avenue, Yardley, PA, 19067

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Yardley Historical Association. 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

Yardley Borough is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania along the Delaware River and is bordered by Lower Makefield Township.

"Yardley was settled by William Yeardley (as the name was then spelled), a Quaker minister seeking religious freedom who emigrated to American from England with his wife, three sons and a servant in July 1682. Before leaving England, he made an agreement with William Penn to purchase a 519-acre tract for ten pounds sterling. He settled on Dolington Road and built a log cabin and later a stone house called "Prospect Farm". The Yardley family occupied the land for more than 150 years.

"William Yeardly and his family died of smallpox in 1702 and the original house burned down. In 1704, a nephew, Thomas Yeardley, came to America to settle the estate. He never returned to England and by 1710 had established Yardley's first ferry at the foot of what is now Letchworth Avenue (the lower boundary of the early village). It developed into a major river crossing and this area became known as Yardley's Ferry.

"When a town plan was prepared in 1807 and several lots were laid out, Yardley was beginning its growth. Following the completion of the Bristol-New Hope section of the Delaware Canal in 1831, new commerce and trade poured into the town, then called "Yardleyville". Early industries included a spoke and handle factory, sawmill, felloe factory, plate and plaster mill and two flour mills. The Post Office was established in 1828. In 1835, Yardley's first covered bridge was built across the Delaware River at the foot of what is now Afton Avenue.

"In 1876, the railroad opened its New York branch through Yardley and erected a station just south of the established village. To avoid confusion with Yardville, N.J., the railroad campaigned to shorten the name Yardleyville and in 1883 the Post Office adopted the name "Yardley". By 1880 the town had a population of 820 (according to the 2000 census, the population [was] 2,498), and in 1895 it was incorporated into a borough.

"During the Civil War, Yardley may have been a station for the Underground Railway, an escape route for slaves. According to local legend, slaves hid under the eaves of the Continental Hotel and in warehouse bins along the Delaware Canal. At Lakeside, the home built by Thomas Yeardley in 1728, a brick-walled cellar room is said to have been a hiding place.

"... Until the mid-twentieth century, the surrounding countryside [near Yardley] was still relatively open and in agricultural use. While the last two decades have seen the farmland in the surrounding area give way to large residential developments, much of the core of Yardley, where the historic district is located, has retained its historic integrity."


Quoted text from: Welcome to Historic Yardley Borough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. "Yardley Borough History." Accessed July 22, 2013.

This collection is organized into two series: I. Subject files and II. Manuscripts. The Subject files, the majority of which are organized alphabetically, include pamphlets and ephemera, photocopies of historical documents, and photographs, relating to local history topics, such as floods and Black history in Yardley. The Association also has a sizeable amount of unprocessed newspaper clippings. Series II. Manuscripts includes various materials, such as documents, minute books, photographs, scrapbooks, and oral histories, that document Yardley individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and events.

Most represented in Manuscripts series is the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Yardley, an auxiliary of the WCTU of Pennsylvania. Materials relating to this organization include: the first three minute books, 1885- 1910; Bucks County WCTU minute book, 1931-1936; Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Yardley constitution, bylaws and members, undated; and a Yardley Young People's Branch of WCTU scrapbook/sketchbook that includes clippings and photographs of the organization's superintendents (department chairs), 1927-1928.

Other volumes and documents in the Manuscripts series include the following: Citizen's Cornet Band, minute book, 1884-1885 Clippings scrapbook on Yardley bridge and flooding, 1955-circa 1970 Deeds and legal documents (includes copies and originals) 1741-1922 (1836 deed framed on wall) Elm Club (Doylestown) minute book, 1883-1886 Gilmore. John O. and Frank S. Riggs invoices scrapbook, circa 1900 Local scrapbook with clippings, letters, and ephemera, 1937-1940 News clippings Smith, Ellen M., Yardley High School commencement scrapbook (1927-1931), diplomas, and photograph of high school class Voter registration books, District 142, 1991 Yardley family genealogy Yardley, George, JP, court docket, 1838-1874 (court cases and marriage registers) Yardley-Lower Makefield Community Improvement Scrapbook, 1960 Yardley-Makefield Businessmen's Association scrapbook, circa 1959

The Manuscripts series also includes photographs, circa 1900-2013, encompassing original and copies of photographic prints and photo postcards, photo albums, including an album of Yardley buildings (circa 1960s-circa 1970s), film negatives, and slides. The photographs depict local people, organizations, events (including Yardley Historical Association events), landscapes, and buildings. Some images donated by local persons or families do not depict local scenes. Most of the photographs are in binders; some are framed or loose.

Also included in Manuscripts series are about 75 audiocassette tapes, 1981-1991, the majority of which are oral history interviews, with some recordings of Yardley Historical Association programs. Most of the oral histories were conducted by Victor Profy in preparation for the Images of America series book Yardley (South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000). A few oral histories were conducted by Anna Mae Backun. Some tapes are labeled with interviewee name and some are labeled with topic or event.

Materials collected from various sources at various times by Yardley Historical Association.

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 Yardley Historical Association directly for more information.

Yardley Historical Association
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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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