Parting is such sweet sorrow: the really real and official end of PACSCL processing at HSP

Earlier this year, I posted about the end of the PACSCL Hidden Collections Processing Project at HSP.  Well…it wasn’t quite the end.   Earlier this month, Holly and Courtney, spent time finalizing the finding aids for the six collections that they and Michael and Celia processed during their months here from January to June.  It was very sad to see them go (for real, this time), yet what they left behind is nothing short of exciting.  The team processed two moderately useable collections (WWII and League of Women Voters of Phila.), two of our most use collections (Penn and Logan), and two almost inaccessible collections (Belfield and Cox transportation).  The finding aids for these collection are now up on the PACSCL website and well as HSP’s own site.  Links and descriptions follow.

HSP collection of World War II papers (Collection 1479)

In late 1942, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania solicited materials to form an artificial collection to document the war effort of a number of community and social service agencies in Philadelphia. The collection, which dates from 1938 to 1948, consists of press releases, administrative records, correspondence, financial records, photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, posters, and ephemera.

League of Women Voters of Philadelphia records (Collection 1940)

The League of Women Voters (LWV) was established in 1919, to help educate women on the civic responsibilities of voting.  The Philadelphia chapter communicated with the national and state League organizations, politicians, civic leaders, and organizations. The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia records include administrative documents and organizational papers for the Philadelphia branch of the League of Women Voters. The collection, which dates from 1920 to 1984, consists of materials from the national, state, and local branches of LWV. In particular, there are financial records, membership lists, publications, program materials, meeting minutes, correspondence and memoranda, newspaper clipping scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials.

Penn family papers (Collection 485A)

The British colony of Pennsylvania was given to William Penn (1644-1718) in 1681 by Charles II of England in repayment of a debt owed his father, Sir Admiral William Penn (1621-1670). Under Penn’s directive, Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers escaping religious torment in England and other European nations.  The Penn family papers house the personal and governmental records of William Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania, and his family. This collection, which dates from 1592 to 1960 (bulk of materials dating 1629 to 1834), consists primarily of correspondence, legal records, governmental records, surveys, deeds, grants, receipts, and account books; there are also 19th and 20th century auction catalogs and other secondary materials.

Logan family papers (Collection 379)

The Logan family was a prominent Philadelphia family dating back to 1699, when James Logan, the family patriarch, arrived in Philadelphia to serve as the first secretary of the Pennsylvania colony. Through work in agriculture and politics, Logan and his descendants were intimately involved in the development of the Pennsylvania colony and, later, the fledging United States. James Logan’s prominence resulted in connections, both professional and familial, with other prominent colonial families, including the Norris and Dickinson families.  This collection is rich in the history of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the formation of the colony of Pennsylvania, the relationship of early colonials with the Native Americans, the bid for independence and the later formation of the United States of America. Included in the papers are correspondence, legal records, estate records, financial records, land and property records, diaries, and writings.

Belfield papers (Collection 3159)

The Belfield papers include materials from families who lived in the Belfield mansion in Germantown, Pennsylvania from 1826 until 1984; however, the papers span the years 1679 to 1977. This collection includes correspondence, financial records, ephemera, photographs, scrapbooks, pamphlets, periodicals, and other items. Featured individuals include William and Sarah Logan Fisher Wister, their son John Wister and his wife, Sarah Tyler Boas Wister, their granddaughter Sarah Logan Wister Starr and her husband, James Starr, and their great-granddaughter S. Logan Starr Blain and her husband, Dr. Daniel Blain. Topics that are particularly well documented in the Belfield papers include: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania; Colonial Dames of America; the Sesquicentennial Exposition; stamp collecting; world travel during the Great Depression; twentieth-century psychiatry; nineteenth-century industry and legal practice; and the genealogy of the Logan, Fisher and Wister families.

Harold E. Cox transportation collection (Collection 3158)

Prior to the 1870s, Philadelphia’s public transportation system consisted of dozens of independently owned and operated horse drawn streetcar lines. In the 1880s and 1890s steps were taken toward electrification and unification, a goal finally achieved in 1902 with the founding of Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company (PRT). PRT constructed subway and elevated train lines, and managed public transportation until 1940, when the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) was established, absorbing PRT and all of its functions. The Dr. Harold E. Cox transportation collection is composed primarily of records from PTC and PRT, as well as PRT’s subsidiary and predecessor rail lines. This collection dates from 1803 to 1967, with the bulk of materials ranging from 1858 to 1960. It consists of financial records, legal records, correspondence, administrative records, ephemera, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, atlases, and route maps and diagrams. The collection documents the growth and development of public transportation in Philadelphia, with a focus on the business activities and legal affairs of the PTC and PRT.

To the PACSCL team members who worked here, Good Night! Good Night! Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Holly Mengel, Project Manager

Courtney Smerz, Project Archivist

Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, Student Processor

Michael Gubicza, Student Processor

From 3 Musketeer boxes to document boxes: the Belfield papers

When we chose the Belfield papers (Collection 3159) for the PACSCL Hidden Collections Processing Project, we weren’t entirely sure what the processors might find in those 3 Musketeer boxes.  We only knew for certain that (1) they contained papers of members of the Wister family, the Starr family, Logan family, and Daniel Blain. (Belfield is the name of the house where the families lived); and (2) the papers were pretty dirty.  Using tenets of minimal processing, processors Michael and Celia barged through the dirt and other unpleasantries at a steady rate.  They organized the collection and uncovered a number of treasures.  Click here to read their blog post and see pictures of their journey.

The finding aid for the Belfield papers is in the process of being completed and a link will be provided once it has been posted to our website.