Locating Primary Sources
Major Philadelphia Collections
Philadelphia has many historical libraries, many of them founded in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and they have extensive collections documenting life in the Americas. The libraries most likely to be useful for this course are:
The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library concentrating on American society and culture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It is located at 1314 Locust Street, and is free and open to the public. Hours: 9:00 am - 4:45 pm Monday-Friday.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street (next to the Library Company). Extensive holdings of manuscripts, books, pamphlets and newspapers on the Philadelphia region and US history. Hours: Limited,
American Philosophical Society, 105 South 5th Street (across from Independence Hall). Started by Benjamin Franklin, it has strong 18th century collections, including Franklin's papers. Hours: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday-Friday.
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania. Wide ranging collections of rare books and manuscripts, including strong collections of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, and collections relating to the history of Philadelphia, and American literature, theater and music.
Special Collections Research Center, Paley Library, Temple University. Includes the Temple Urban Archives, a critical source for research on 20th century Philadelphia history. Temple also houses the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, one of the country's most important collections on African-American history.
Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street (1 block from South Street). Holds the archives of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, and has collections on the temperance movement.
For a listing of other major historical research libraries in the region, see the website for the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries. Finding aids for many archives and manuscript collections can be found at the PACSCL Finding Aids Database.