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Horsham Preservation & Historical Association

...the Future of Horsham's Past

Document Project Update

2015 Creating the Archive

Document Preservation
display of old documents

In 2015 we entered the next phase of the project: to organize, inventory and preserve these records in accordance with accepted archival principles; and for this work we engaged Jefferson M Moak, a professional archivist, historian and genealogist. Mr. Moak has worked at the Map Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the Philadelphia City Archives, and most recently as senior archivist at the National Archives at Philadelphia.

Mr Moak is comparing the records made by our interns with the actual inventory and annotating these records to describe the objects. For example, we have a number of property deeds that once belonged to the Welsh Strawbridge's family:

Wissahickon Avenue Properties: There are a number of deeds relating to properties on either side of Wissahickon Avenue in Germantown and Roxborough. Some of the deeds relate to the early history of property in the 6700 block upon which Anne West Strawbridge (Welsh's sister) built her house. Others relating to Spring Bank, the John Welsh property on the Roxborough side of the avenue. John Welsh is Welsh Strawbridge's maternal grandfather, and president of the Centennial Board of Finance that virtually ran the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Fairmount Park and a Commissioner of Fairmount Park for many years.
photo of John Welsh home at Spring Bank

In addition to these deeds, we have also inventoried and stored our many maps. Next step is to organize the maps into a coherent collection with proper labeling and placement within the map drawers.

2014 Organizing and Storing

After consulting with the Historical Society of Philadelphia (see below), we decided to bring in another professional to assist in the next stage of the project, simply sorting what we had into broad categories and then properly storing them.

In Spring 2014 we engaged Susan Duhl, a professional in Collections Management, who helped us define and set-up the project. Susan supervised 2 interns: Karl Schultz, who worked with us in the summer of 2014 before starting his freshman year at Muhlenberg College, and; Joanna Hurd, who just finished her graduate degree, during the fall of 2014.

photo of shelving and storage boxes

Karl's task over the summer was to do a simple, initial sort on the collection, see what we had and identify categories for it to be sorted into.

photo of flat files and shelves in work room

Joanna, beginning in September, oversaw the ordering and construction of archival materials, including storage boxes and shelving, so that the archives room could be restructured in a safer, more accessible method. The entirety of our inventoried collection is now stored in acid-free boxes, inter-leaved with high-quality archival paper. The entirety of our over-sized items are also stored in a similar manner in our flat storage files. Our objects are now displayed in two units, one new shelving unit upstairs and a glass display case, generously donated, so all who visit can easily view everything from a 19th c. Charms Candy promotional coin to an original address plaque from the property.

photo of lighted glass display case

While the sorting process is still on-going, we have come across a number of exciting discoveries among our collection. Most prominent are wedding pictures of Welsh and Margaret Strawbridge, early detailed maps of Horsham Township, and a wealth of textiles from delicately crocheted tablecloths to petite kidskin gloves. We expect to find more notable items as the archiving process continues.

2012 Historical Society of Philadelphia

logo for https://hsp.org

We weren't sure where to start on this project so we reached out to the Historical Society of Philadelphia in 2012. HSP helped us get a handle on what we had - items that were of local interest - and to get started on organizing these materials. HPHA is a "History Affilliate" of HSP. A summary of their work can be found here.

Michael Gubicza, of HSP, also wrote a blog article about our collection: Deeds Indeed at Horsham PHA dated 2/1/12.

2011 Starting Up

HPHA has known for a while that we have a lot of interesting and historically significant documents, photos, and objects that we needed to catalog and preserve - but we really didn't know where to start. We can probably trace the beginning of this project to our discovery of the 1718 Samuel Carpenter Indenture which was part of a large collection of documents, equipment, furniture and other 'stuff' that was generously donated to us by Mr Joseph H. (Buck) Penrose way back in 2010. (We are sad to report that Mr Penrose passed away in 2015).

photo of Indenture on display at Horsham Library

We recognized the value of this document - and others - and began work to restore individual pieces. The 1718 Indenture was first. Conservation and framing cost $1200 and was done by a professional, Elizabeth Wendelin of Warrington in 2012. While the work done was well worth the price, we quickly realized that we needed to get serious about our document preservation efforts and raise funds to drive the project.

Document Preservation
display of old documents





Our collection includes material from the Penrose and Strawbridge families dating back to the 1700's, plus information on other Horsham families and properties - and we are always looking for more.

Maintaining a collection such as ours is expensive, if you appreciate our efforts then please make a donation!

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Spring Bank
Spring Bank in Germantown, home of John Welsh
photo of John Welsh home at Spring Bank
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HPHA Document Work Room 2
shelving with many of our documents and photos in our document preservation project work room
photo of shelving and storage boxes
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HPHA Document Work Room 1
Flat files and historical objects in shelves in our document preservation project work room
photo of flat files and shelves in work room
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Display Case
Display case for our museum donated by The Friends of the Horsham Library
photo of lighted glass display case
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Historical Society of Philadelphia
logo for https://hsp.org
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Samuel Carpenter Indenture on Display
restored original indenture date 3 feb 1718 transferring Samuel Carpenter's land holdings in Horsham to his wife and children. Donated to HPHA by Joseph H (Buck) Penrose Jr
photo of Indenture on display at Horsham Library
Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
The Future of Horsham's Past
900 Governors Rd | Horsham, PA USA 19044
Email | 215-343-0659
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