photo of diploma from Horsham Public Schools in Hallowell Elementary School historical exhibit
photo of diploma from Horsham Public Schools in Hallowell Elementary School historical exhibit
Diploma from Horsham Public Schools and other local artifacts - on loan from HPHA - at Hallowell Elementary School

Horsham History Archives

HPHA is thrilled to announce that our collections have been professionally cataloged and archived.
This archive is now available for search on-line.


The Horsham LIbrary will officially host the archives beginning in April 2019. While the database can be searched from anywhere on the internet, the library can also provide search assistance.
Thank you to the Friends of the Horsham Library for their support.

The archives have been organized and preserved with the assistance of professional preservationists and archivists. It uses an on-line database from Past Perfect which is used by museums and collections internationally. The archive can be searched directly but items in the archive will also appear in searches of other state-wide or country-wide databases using Past Perfect.

Historic Document Preservation Project

HPHA extensive collection includes maps of the area, local family histories, photos, property records dating back to the 1680's, correspondence and much more. The collection is available for search at the link above. The actual items may be reviewed upon request and by appointment.

Many of these are records of transactions of the Strawbridge family from the 17th-19th centuries for properties in and around Philadelphia. These were rescued by HPHA when we began the restoration work on the Penrose Strawbridge House. We also have a collection of other documents: maps, indentures, correspondence, family histories; that were donated to us by folks such as Mr. Joseph H (Buck). Penrose Jr., Carol DiJoseph, Mary Day, and others.

Let us know what's missing...

In reviewing the records you will notice that in some (many) cases we have objects with little description, especially photographs of people. So any information to better describe or identify people or objects would be greatly appreciated.

Recognized by Historical Society of Philadelphia

Michael Gubicza, wrote a blog article about HPHA's collection for the Historical Society of Philadelphia as part of HSP's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories.

photo of Abel and Sara Penrose c1875-1893? on rocking chairs on porch

Significant Items in our Collection

One of the more significant documents in our collection - 1718 Samuel Carpenter Indenture - hangs in the Penrose-Strawbridge House. It has been restored and exhibited at the Horsham Library and at the Horsham Township Tricentennial Gala.

Dated February 3, 1718 From Samuel Carpenter 5500 acres with a Quit rent of one English Shilling for every 100 acres. Shows the meets and bounds of the 5500 acres. Signed and sealed by Hannah Fishbourne, (daughter) William Fishbourne (son-in-law), Samuel Carpenter, John Carpenter (sons) and Hannah Carpenter (wife).

This document shows the original owner of over 75% of Horsham. Samuel Carpenter purchased this land from William Penn. Carpenter held many prominent positions in the new colony including treasurer and at one time he was likely the wealthiest person in Pennsylvania. The township is likely named after his boyhood home in Sussex. Sir William Keith acquired over 1500 acres from Carpenter's estate in 1719.

The Horsham Preservation and Historical Association found this and similar documents in the papers donated to them by Joseph Hollowell Penrose, Jr. Conservation and framing cost $1200 and was done by a professional, Elizabeth Wendelin of Warrington.

Other interesting documents include:

1845 Paul Indenture - sale of land in Harrington, Bucks County by Lukens Paul and Hannah his wife and Joseph Paul of Horsham township to Joseph Brown, a Philadelphia merchant.

1865 Penrose Indecture - sale of portions of Graeme Park by 4 of the children of William and Hannah Penrose to their brother Abel Penrose.

photo of Indenture on display at Horsham Library

Direction and Inspiration

The archival project was first proposed and championed by the late Margaret Choate (found of HPHA) and has been made a reality through the direction of her husband and HPHA Executive Director Peter Choate. Margaret saw the value of the numerous artifacts and documents that were rescued from the Penrose-Strawbridge House, donated by locals Buck Penrose, John Nesbitt, Margie Murphy, Carol DiJoseph, Mary Day, and others. Pete then brought in experts in preservation, restoration, cataloging and archiving to organize the collections and now make this collection available to the public.


Justine Musick is a graduate of Archbishop Wood High School, and Temple University. She has trained in painting throughout her entire childhood, and continued her studies by spending a year in the Fine Arts program at Bucks County Community College. After this, she entered into the Architectural Preservation program at the Tyler School of Arts, and added an additional focus on Anthropology. Justine graduated with a B.S. in Architectural Preservation. The lens of Anthropology through which she conducted her preservation studies, has given her a unique perspective on heritage management, history, and community development.

In addition to working on this project Justine was commissioned by Pete Choate to paint a historical mural at the new Hallowell Elementary School and also exhibited her original art work here at the Penrose Strawbridge House in November 2017.

Peter Moak - son of Jefferson Moak


Susan Duhl provides preservation consultations and conservation treatment to institutions and private individuals throughout the United States and internationally. She completed her Master of Art degree and Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from the State University College at Buffalo Art Conservation Program in 1987, and was named a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC) in 1990. Susan is a founding member of the Art Conservator Alliance, formed in 1991.

Jefferson Moak is a professional archivist, historian and genealogist. He 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. He has been working with the HPHA collection beginning in fall of 2015.

Project Cost and Progress

We estimate that the total cost to fully catalog our original collection so far.has been $40,000. At this point the collection is archived and available on line. We still have addition objects such as maps that have not yet been archived and that we hope to do in the future pending additional funding. We also hope and anticipate to acquire additional collections of local historical significance so the project will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

If you would like to contribute historical documents/artifacts and/or would like to contribute to help continue this project please contact Pete Choate

Funding for this project has come from our members and...

Grants and Donations

$10,000 donation from an anonymous relative of Welsh Strawbridge

$5,000 grant towards this project from the Horsham Industrial and Commercial Development Authority

$5,000 donation directed to this project by Alexandra and John

+2 steel flat file cabinets donated by Chambers Associates, Inc., Worcester, PA.

Support from our membership

Project Scope

The following is an approximation of what we have started with

Documents and maps Est. # Items
Strawbridge, Marshal and West families properties owned in Philadelphia 1683 until 1920 76
Strawbridge property in Horsham 1920 + 25
private Marshal and Strawbridge correspondence and records 250
Penrose Family Property records (indentures) 1718 until 1920 30+
Other Horsham area families and buildings 100+
Artifacts (books, furniture, clothing, photographs)
Strawbridge and Marshal items 150
Penrose Items 65
Horsham Items 35
Library books on general historical subjects 125

We have an extensive collection but we're also always looking for more. Please if you have any items that relate to the history of our area that you might be interested in donating to HPHA. If they meet the criteria for inclusion in our collection then we will be happy to accept them. In some cases we may need additional funding to accept, store and catalog a collection.


Help us continue our work by making a Donation - or better yet - become a Member!

We are a Community Benefit Organization!