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Catalogs and

Research Tools

HSP has many different tools to help researchers find the materials they need within our large collection. Some tools are available on this website, but others are available only in the library at 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

For assistance using any of our research tools, please contact our Ready Reference staff by email, call our Reference Line at (215) 732-6200 ext. 209, or just drop by the Reference Desk.

Founded in 1824, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. Our collection includes some 600,000 printed items and more than 21 million manuscript and graphic items. Learn how to find the materials you need...

  • Search Discover, HSP's online catalog, which includes listings for HSP's print holdings (books, pamphlets, serials and newspapers), manuscript collections, maps, microfilm, and more.

    Discover (Online Catalog)

    Search Discover, HSP's online catalog, which includes listings for HSP's print holdings (books, pamphlets, serials and newspapers), manuscript collections, maps, microfilm, and more.
  • A growing online repository of images and digital files selected from HSP's manuscripts, maps, photographs, and prints.

    Digital Library

    A growing online repository of images and digital files selected from HSP's manuscripts, maps, photographs, and prints.
  • HSP has partnered with Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, to digitize more than seven million Pennsylvania vital records from our collection.

    Members Only Databases

    HSP has partnered with Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, to digitize more than seven million Pennsylvania vital records from our collection.
  • HSP provides free access to a variety of subscription-based sites, including Ancestry.com Institution Edition, JSTOR, and more, using the public service terminals in the Reference Room and Reading Room, or through their personal computers.

    Reading Room Databases

    HSP provides free access to a variety of subscription-based sites, including Ancestry.com Institution Edition, JSTOR, and more, using the public service terminals in the Reference Room and Reading Room, or through their personal computers.
  • Some of HSP's manuscript and graphic collections have finding aids that provide inventories of what is contained in the collection, background information, and descriptions about how the collection is organized.

    Finding Aids

    Some of HSP's manuscript and graphic collections have finding aids that provide inventories of what is contained in the collection, background information, and descriptions about how the collection is organized.
  • HSP has created a series of resource guides and bibliographies for areas of particular strength in our collections, including family history and genealogy, Civil War resources, African American history, and more.

    Subject Guides

    HSP has created a series of resource guides and bibliographies for areas of particular strength in our collections, including family history and genealogy, Civil War resources, African American history, and more.
  • This online guide contains short descriptions of the collections (manuscripts, photographs, serials) of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, which merged with HSP in 2002. The Discover online catalog also includes collection-level descriptions for Balch material.

    Balch Manuscript Guide

    This online guide contains short descriptions of the collections (manuscripts, photographs, serials) of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, which merged with HSP in 2002. The Discover online catalog also includes collection-level descriptions for Balch material.
  • Card files in the Information Commons are broken down into separate sections for manuscripts, broadsides, graphics, maps, sheet music, Afro-Americana, genealogical resources, and newspapers. Information in these catalogs may not be captured by searches in HSP's online catalog, Discover.

    Card Catalogs

    Card files in the Information Commons are broken down into separate sections for manuscripts, broadsides, graphics, maps, sheet music, Afro-Americana, genealogical resources, and newspapers. Information in these catalogs may not be captured by searches in HSP's online catalog, Discover.
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Address

1300 Locust Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107 (map)
T: (215) 732-6200

F: (215) 732-2680

Library Hours

Tuesday: 12:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 12:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday: 12:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

© 2020 by Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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