Archives Finding Aids

Independence Hall Association Records, 1906-1962 and undated (bulk dates: 1940-1944), Catalog Number: 4337

The Independence Hall Association Records document the early years of the organization's activities. The primary goal of the Independence Hall Association at its founding on July 4, 1942, was the creation of Independence National Historical Park and the preservation of Independence Hall and the historic sites of Old City. The bulk of the collection was created by David Knickerbacker Boyd, the Association's first executive secretary, and includes correspondence, meeting minutes and agenda, subject files, membership information, newspaper clippings, printed material, photographs, and scrapbooks. There is also a small amount of correspondence from Boyd's successor, Elizabeth Boyd Borie.

 
Office of the Historic Architects Records, 1938-1993 and undated (bulk dates: 1951-1975), Catalog Number: 53505

The Office of the Historic Architects Records contain materials created and collected by park architects in the course of preserving, restoring, and rebuilding historic structures throughout the park. Materials include architectural and historical research files, Historic Structures Reports, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) field notebooks, restoration documentation, photographs, drawings, and audiovisual materials. The records represent the working files of principle architects Charles E. Peterson, Henry A. Judd, Lee H. Nelson, and Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler, as well as other park architectural staff.
 

Isidor Ostroff Papers, 1933-1968 and undated, Catalog Number: 53514

The Isidor Ostroff Papers document Ostroff's involvement with the Independence Hall Association and the Independence Neighborhood Association. For thirty years, Ostroff worked with the Independence Hall Association to raise public and political awareness about urban renewal and historic preservation in Philadelphia's Old City district. In 1949, Ostroff also joined forces with the Independence Neighborhood Association, an organization dedicated to preserving historic structures in the city. Materials include correspondence, historical research files, and legal documentation.

 
Edwin Owen Lewis Papers, 1927-1972 and undated (bulk dates: 1941-1957), Catalog Number: 53515

The Edwin Owen Lewis Papers document Judge Lewis' essential role in the creation of Independence National Historical Park and in the redevelopment of Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood. The records reflect his involvement with numerous organizations in Philadelphia, as well as his contact with politicians and government officials on the local, state, and federal levels. The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence, but also contains meeting minutes and agenda, newspaper clippings, brochures and programs from various events, as well as memorabilia.
 

Constance M. Greiff Administrative History Project Working Files, 1939-1988 and undated, Catalog Number: 57627

These files contain research materials used in the creation of the park's first published administrative history. In 1985, the park published Independence: The Creation of a National Park. Written by contract historian Constance M. Greiff of Heritage Studies, Inc., the book explains how the park was first established and traces its development through the early 1980's. Materials in the Constance M. Greiff Administrative History Project Working Files include correspondence, memoranda, reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, and audiocassette tapes, in addition to Greiff's working files and notes. This collection also contains transcripts of interviews with three separate oral history projects.

 

General Management Plan Records, 1991-1999 and undated (bulk dates: 1993-1997), Catalog Number: 66577

The General Management Plan Records contain documentation relating to Independence National Historical Park's General Management Plan (GMP). The GMP is a guide to long-term management of the park and consists of three documents: the Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (1995), the Abbreviated Final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (1997), and the General Management Plan (1997). Materials in this records group include correspondence, drafts of reports, briefing materials, press releases, newspaper clippings, newsletters, results from public opinion polls, and visitor studies. In addition to textual files, the collection includes photographs, slides and audiocassette tape recordings.

 
Independence Mall Records, 1995-2010, undated (bulk dates: 1997-2008), Catalog Number: 75399

The Independence Mall Records consist of documents related to the redevelopment of Independence Mall in the 1990's and 2000's. This includes the construction of the new Independence Visitor Center, Liberty Bell Center, and the National Constitution Center. The materials consist of textual documents, plans and drawings, and photographic materials. Oversize materials include plans and drawings.
 

Interpretation and Visitor Services Records, 1852-2011, undated (bulk dates: 1948-2010), Catalog Number: INDE 74045

This record group includes information on the park's administrative history, the history of its buildings, and the history of the events that make the park a place of national historical significance. The Interpretation and Visitor Services Division has been responsible for communicating the historical significance of the sites, historical structures, and artifacts of Independence National Historical Park to its many visitors through exhibits, publications, tours, and educational programs. Strengths of the collection include documentation of numerous exhibits, projects, and programs developed by this division, which previously incorporated many additional administrative functions and positions. The records also document the development and planning of Franklin Court, the City Tavern, and the former Independence Visitor Center.

 

Public Affairs Office Records, 1918-2012, undated (bulk dates: 1975-2009), Catalog Number: 75059

The Public Affairs Office Records consist primarily of records related to special event planning, photographs of park events, and public relations documents. The Public Affairs Office of Independence National Historical Park is the division responsible for special event planning, interacting with the media, approving permits for special park use, and fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests. Significant groupings of material relate to the 1987 Constitutional Bicentennial, and events surrounding Independence Day commemorations throughout the years. Because the Public Affairs Office was not established until 1994, many files within the collection originated from the Interpretation and Visitor Services division, which handled functions that later became associated with the Public Affairs Office.

 

Lands and Deeds Records, 1945-2009 (bulk dates: 1950-1963), Catalog Number: 75061

The Lands and Deeds Records document the early process by which the Department of the Interior acquired lands to establish Independence National Historical Park. Documents relate to the appraisal and acquisition of individual land tracts, and also contain information about project areas as a whole. The records are mainly textual in nature and contain both original and photocopied legal documents, including declaration of taking files, land ownership records, leases, insurance policies, indentures, and land titles. Additional materials include maps, photographs, deeds, correspondence, agreements, and memorandums.

 

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site Records, 1929-2010, Catalog Number: 77170

These records are working files and historical background materials for the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. The site is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is administered by Independence National Historical Park. This record group documents the activities of the site's educational and special programs for children and adults, and the reconstruction and restoration activities undertaken by the National Park Service after it acquired the property in 1978. The collection also includes curricular materials for children's programs and files detailing the many park-wide events related to the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe.

 
Cultural Resource Management Records, 1936-2016, undated, Catalog Number: INDE 77171

The Cultural Resource Management Records were produced by NPS staff and contractors as part of their day-to-day maintenance and preservation of the park's grounds and buildings and contain a wide variety of documents including extensive correspondence, both internal and external. There are also reports and research materials including photographs, drawings, and plans; assessments and surveys; contracts, including land acquisition; work orders; and clippings. Of particular note are correspondence and clippings reflecting public opinion about the development of the park, especially regarding the move of the Liberty Bell and re-construction of the Graff House.
 
Utilities Improvement Project Records, 1983-2012 (bulk dates: 1994-2000), Catalog Number: INDE 77175

The Utilities Improvement Project Records document the extensive and complex building projects conducted at Independence National Historical Park between 1992 and 2012. The building projects documented in these records incorporated multiple parkwide objectives, including the rehabilitation and improvement of old and failing utility systems, the installation or improvement of fire detection and suppression systems, the installation or improvement of security systems, the removal of hazardous materials associated with utilities, and the replacement of or addition to the interpretive exhibits in some 15 buildings throughout the park. Materials consist primarily of working files generated by park personnel and construction project managers, exhibit research, investigation reports concerning archaeology, building assessments, and HVAC monitoring.
 
Museum Branch Records, 1948-2010, undated (bulk dates: 1953-2008), Catalog Number: 77176

The Museum Branch cares for the historic artifacts that support the park's preservation and interpretive missions. These records consist primarily of working files generated by park personnel, administrative documents, and research collections that concern specific topics. Significant groupings of material include the planning documents for exhibits created by the Museum Branch, various materials covering the park's AAM accreditation process, and the working files for reports written by park curators and the Friends of Independence National Historical Park interns. The museum accession files for the park artifact collection are not described in this finding aid. These permanent records are available for research use upon request from Museum Branch staff.
 
Archaeology Project Records, 1950-2011 and undated, Catalog Number: 77180

The Archaeology Project Records document archaeological investigations and excavations undertaken at Independence National Historical Park largely between 1953 and 2010. Materials consist primarily of historical research, excavation documentation, artifact inventories and analyses, and final reporting. The materials consist of reports, field notes and notebooks, artifact lists, plans and drawings, and photographic materials. Oversize materials include plans and drawings with the largest number coming from Franklin Court.
 
Historic Resource Studies Collection, 1895-2013 and undated (bulk dates: 1953-2009), Catalog Number: 77252

The Historic Resource Studies Collection is a comprehensive collection of reports that relate to the management and operations of the park. Also known as cultural resource studies, these reports are produced by National Park Service staff, contractors, and researchers. The reports include a variety of useful information, including narrative history, illustrations, and statistical data, and are intended to address specific research needs within the park. Many of the reports center on individual park sites, and contain information on architectural history and a site's past inhabitants. Reports can also include interpretation guides and set forth plans for preservation and furnishing of park buildings. The materials in the collection consist primarily of final reports and drafts. These documents may also include correspondence, photographs, drawings, and plans. Additionally, a small number of reprints of reports from outside the park have been included because of their informational and historical value.
 
Morris Family Papers, 1741-1989 (bulk dates: 1830-1950), Catalog Number: 101264

The Morris family members who are represented in these papers are part of a large and prominent Philadelphia Quaker family descended from Anthony Morris (1654-1721). Materials include correspondence, diaries, household account books, drawings, recipes, and photographic prints and negatives created and collected by the families of Samuel Buckley Morris I (1791-1859), Elliston Perot Morris I (1831-1914), and Marriott Canby Morris I (1863-1948). Many items relate to the Deshler-Morris House which the Perot and Morris families owned in the 19th century and which the Morris family donated to the National Park Service in 1949. The house was used by President Washington and his family when escaping the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemics of 1793 and 1794.
 

Deshler-Morris House Committee, Inc. Records, 1941-1999 and undated, Catalog Number: 104154

These records document the Committee's role in interpreting the Deshler-Morris House in cooperation with the National Park Service and Independence National Historical park. Materials in this collection include correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, historical research files, news clippings, printed material, and photographs. Researchers should note that records dating from 1862-1912 have been removed from the collection and integrated into the Morris Family Papers.

 

History Branch Records, 1921-2010, Catalog Number: 104159

The bulk of this collection comprises the working files of seven of the park's research historians. These working files document various research, writing, exhibit, event, review, lecture, and administrative projects carried out by these historians. Their work on these projects demonstrates the park's investment in and promotion of notable historical subjects and themes from the Revolutionary Era and the Early Federal Period of the United States. The records also include research on titles for dozens of properties within the established boundaries of the park. National Historic Places/Landmarks nomination forms provide background information on several historic sites in and around Philadelphia. Intern reports cover topics of limited scale using various sources from the park's Library and Archive collections, and oral history transcripts of interviews with former park staff document the park's origins within the National Park Service.

 

"Miracle at Philadelphia" Exhibit Records, 1964-2009, undated (bulk dates: 1984-1987), Catalog Number: 104160

Independence National Historical Park observed the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987 by hosting the exhibit "Miracle at Philadelphia" that explored the Constitutional Convention and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1788. The Miracle at Philadelphia records consist primarily of planning, educational, and public relations documents. No original materials from the exhibit itself are present in the collection, but there are photocopies of documents and portraits used, as well as blueprints, transcripts, photographs, videos, and project manuals that provide insight into how visitors experienced the exhibit. Other significant materials relate to the National Endowment for the Humanities grant that funded the exhibit, as well as the educational materials that were developed in conjunction with the exhibit. The majority of the textual documents include reports, correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes, financial documents, and research materials. Photographic materials include prints, negatives, and a large number of slides. Audiovisual materials are primarily in VHS, Betacam, and one inch videotape formats. The collections also contains samples of visitor logs signed by exhibit guests in 1987.

 
Stone Conservation Project Records, 1984-2013, Catalog Number: 104161
The Stone Conservation Project Records contain project files and supporting documentation generated during projects to survey and restore the outer masonry of the First Bank of the United States, Merchants' Exchange Building, and Second Bank of the United States. Each of these buildings is a National Historic Landmark within Independence National Historical Park. Project materials include requests for proposals (RFPs), contract files, project correspondence, manuals, assessment reports, strategic report drafts, treatment reports, field notes, readings, samples, research papers, thesis papers, background research, photographs, digital media, construction drawings, and annotated survey drawings.
 

American Revolution Patriots Fund Records, 1985-2006 (bulk dates: 1992-2006), Catalog Number: 91504

These records document the American Revolution Patriots Fund, a non-profit corporation that raised money and planned the restoration, rehabilitation, and renovation of many aspects of Washington Square, including the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, the walkways, landscaping, and irrigation system. An agreement was reached in 1991 between the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the City of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park Commission (FPC) which stated that management, but not ownership, of Washington Square would pass from the FPC to the National Park Service when an unnamed third party agreeable to both raised the money needed to restore the Square. That third party, the American Revolution Patriots Fund was founded in 1992 and approved by the FPC and DOI in 1993. These records consist of articles, videotapes, correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper clippings, drawings, financial files, research materials and reports, planning documents for interpretative plaques and fund raising and construction project files.
 

The National Museum at Independence Hall Collection, 1873-1951

This records collection relates to the National Museum at Independence Hall, a display of Revolutionary-era artifacts housed in the former courtroom on the first floor of the building in the late 19th century. In 1998 Independence National Historical Park undertook a project to improve the accessibility and preservation of their collection of historic records related to the years when the City of Philadelphia managed the National Museum at Independence Hall and the buildings in Independence Square. This project involved arranging, rehousing and describing these records in accordance with archival standards designed to preserve the historic record.

 
Bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States Research Project Working Files, 1983-1987 and undated, Catalog Number: 66559

These files contain research materials compiled by park historians over the course of writing A Daybook for 1787. The records include research files on various eighteenth-century subjects, biographical information about the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, drafts of the Daybook articles, and general correspondence.
 
Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler Personal Papers, 1953-2006 and undated

The collection contains the personal and professional files of Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler, all surrounding her work as a historic architect. Much of the materials included relates to her work for the National Park Service and Independence National Park. The majority of the collection is made up of notes, papers, and drawings from project files. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, books, and other reference materials are also included. Batcheler studied under the Modernist Master Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in the early 1950s, one of only three women enrolled in the school’s undergraduate architectural program. After completing her degree, Batcheler spent two years documenting and studying log structures in Sweden. Her time in Sweden sparked an active interest in historic structures, which remained with her after she returned to the United States.
 
Cultural Landscape Field Records, undated (bulk dates: 1957-2008), Catalog Number: 128586
 
Historic Resource Studies: Student Reports, 1952-2014, Catalog Number: 104419

This collection of student reports include works submitted as academic coursework, including published and unpublished materials. All student reports involve research on or using park resources, including sites, buildings, and artifacts. Works range from high school student papers through Ph.D. dissertations.

Last updated: August 28, 2018

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