Announcing a new project at HSP: HCI-PSAR

Thanks to HCI-PSAR Project Director Jack McCarthy who wrote the following introduction to one of HSP’s newest endeavors. CM

Work began recently on HSP’s new Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR). Commonly referred to around HSP as the “small repositories project,” its goal is to make better known and more accessible the important but often hidden archival collections held by the many small, primarily volunteer-run historical organizations in the Philadelphia area, including local historical societies, museums, historic sites, and other institutions. The project will achieve this goal by creating an online directory of these institutions and a searchable database of their archival collections. The project is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Project staff include Project Director Jack McCarthy, Project Coordinator Andree Mey Miller, and Project Surveyors Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza. HSP Director of Archives and Collections Management Matthew Lyons serves as Project Supervisor.

The first phase of the project is the current fourteen-month pilot project, which will run through September 2012. In the pilot project, we are focusing on two counties – Philadelphia and Montgomery – creating a directory of all the small archival repositories in those two counties and surveying the collections of certain institutions as a representative sample. We hope in this pilot phase to test and refine data gathering and collections survey methodologies in preparation for the larger follow-up project, which will encompass the entire five-county Philadelphia area. Following that, we will explore the possibility of implementing the project on a state-wide basis, in cooperation with other state and regional archival organizations.

Project Coordinator Andre Mey Miller has been busy identifying and contacting repositories and scheduling site visits by Project Director Jack McCarthy and Project Surveyors Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza. Celia and Michael have been out “in the field” since mid September, surveying the archival collections of various repositories. To date, they have surveyed the collections of some seven institutions, uncovering a number of important but heretofore hidden collections, from those in small historical libraries to those at grand estates that are now historic house museums. Descriptive information on these collections will be made available on a project website which is currently in development and will be accessed through HSP’s website.

Celia and Michael have started a blog about their work. They have created a project facebook page as well as an online project photo gallery. You can also follow their work on twitter (@hcipsar).


One thought on “Announcing a new project at HSP: HCI-PSAR

  1. Guide to depositories of manuscript collections in Pennsylvania .. (1939)

    Author: Historical Records Survey. Pennsylvania; Stevens, Sylvester Kirby, 1904-; Eliot, Margaret Sherburne

    Subject: Manuscripts; Libraries

    Publisher: Harrisburg, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of public instruction, Pennsylvania Historical commission

    Possible copyright status: Public domain. Published 1923-1963 with notice but no evidence of copyright renewal found in Stanford Copyright Renewal Database.

    Page 58:

    Secretary, Caroline W. Smedley. 
    Tuesday, 8 P. M. to 10 P. M.; 
    Thursday, 2 P. M. to 4 P. M. 

    The society was organized in 1905, and chartered in 1920, for the purpose of promoting historical study, especially the social history and traditions of Frankford and vicinity. Purchases are made with the general society fund; outright gifts only are acceptable. The society is housed in a two-and one-half story, fireproof, stone, brick, and steel building, constructed in 1930. Space of manuscripts is adequate. 


    The materials relate entirely to the Frankford section of Philadelphia 
    and include: Deeds, leases, grants, releases, etc., 1681-1887; aldermen’s 
    court dockets, accounts, and school records, 1824-1925; account books 
    of various business enterprises, including the Oxford-Provident Building 
    and Loan Association, the earliest in the United States, 1831-1863; fire 
    companies, 1793-1871; Philanthropic Society and Lyceum records; 
    Civil War records; historical sketches; genealogical material relating to 
    local families; and miscellaneous personal and business correspondence. 

    There are 250 volumes, plus 1,000 pieces, all of which are arranged: 
    Deeds, alphabetically by name of grantor, and chronologically thereunder; general material, alphabetically by name of author, and chronologically thereunder. Accessions are cataloged, and 1,250 card (three by five) catalog the pieces. 

    Material is available to accredited researchers upon application to the 
    secretary or other officer of the society. There is no copy service. 

    See. — Papers Read Before the Historical Society of Frank ford, III, 
    No. 5 (1937). 

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