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Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives

Series Descriptions

Executive Director

Appointed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to serve at its pleasure, the Executive Director is responsible for implementing policies approved by the Commissioners and overseeing the activities of the directors of the Commission's five bureaus. These are the Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums, Bureau for Historic Preservation, Bureau of Management Services, Bureau of the State Archives and the Bureau of the State Museum. The Executive Director is also an ex officio member of the Environmental Quality Board, County Records Committee, and the Local Government Records Committee. The names of the Executive Directors, together with their years of appointment, are Donald A. Cadzow (1945), Sylvester K. Stevens (1956), William J. Wewer (1972), Larry E. Tise (1981), Brent D. Glass (1987), Barbara Franco (2004) and James M. Vaughan (2011). In 1945 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was created as an independent agency reporting directly to the Governor. This new Commission combined the activities of the former Pennsylvania Historical Commission, the State Archives, and the State Museum that had previously functioned within the Department of Public Instruction. The membership of the new Commission was expanded from five to nine members with the Superintendent of Public Instruction serving as an ex officio member to represent the interests of educators. Governor Edward Martin appointed Attorney General James H. Duff as the first Chairman and retained Frances Dorrance and Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Francis B. Haas from the preceding Pennsylvania Historical Commission. The new members were Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Richard Norris Williams II, attorneys Charles J. Biddle and Charles G. Webb, newspaper publishers Thomas Murphy and Edgar J. Stevenson, and philanthropist A. Atwater Kent, Jr. Donald A. Cadzow served as the first acting Executive Director, Sylvester K. Stevens as State Historian, and Donald H. Kent as Associate Historian.

Administrative and Correspondence Files of the Commission Chairman,
(3 cartons)

{series #13.1} [Holdings]

Administrative records and photographs are grouped alphabetically by subject and correspondence is arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent.

Budget reports, legislation, personnel materials, press releases, pamphlets, articles, news clippings, photographs, and correspondence of the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Subjects include the 1956 reorganization of the Commission and the resignation of Bureau of Museums, Historic Sites, and Properties Director Earle Newton. Other topics concern activities at Daniel Boone Homestead, Drake Well Museum, Ephrata Cloister, Flagship Niagara, Graeme Park, The Highlands, Hope Lodge, Morton Homestead, Old Economy, Pennsbury Manor, Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley, Pottsgrove Manor, and the Twenty-Eighth Division Shrine. Photographs include the acceptance ceremony for Hope Lodge on May 2, 1958 and various meetings of the Commission held 1956-1959.

Administrative and Correspondence Files of the Comptroller,
(5 cartons)

{series #13.2} [Holdings]

Administrative records are grouped alphabetically by subject and thereunder arranged chronologically and correspondence is arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent.

Budget reports, memoranda, inventories, audit reports, monthly account statements, appropriation reports, appropriation requisitions, and correspondence file of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Comptroller William Coombs. Appropriation requisitions cover both general operations as well as accounts at Admiral Perry Park (1947), Cornwall Furnace (1945-1953), Daniel Boone Homestead (1945-1947), Drake Well Memorial Park (1946-1949), Ephrata Cloister (1945-1954), Flagship Niagara (1945-1949), Old Economy Great House (1947-1950), Pennsbury Manor (1946), and Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley (1953-1955). Also present are bids and contracts for Ephrata Cloister (1945-1953), Flagship Niagara (1947-1949), Governor Printz Park (1948), Old Economy (1945-1946, 1953), and Pennsbury Manor (1945-1951). Topical correspondence folders cover such topics as Civilian Defense (1945), Autumn Leonard at Erie Custom House (1945-1949), Historical Marker Program (1945-1953) Brandywine Battlefield Park Commission (1947-1950), Cornwall Furnace (1945-1953), Daniel Boone Homestead (1946-1950), Drake Well Park (1945-1953), Ephrata Cloister (1945-1953), Flagship Niagara (1945-1951), Fort Augusta (1945-1953), Fort LeBoeuf (1947-1953), Governor Printz Park and John Morton Homestead (1945-1953), Old Economy (1946-1953), Pennsbury Manor (1945-1953), Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley (1945-1953), and Pottsgrove Manor (1946-1953). Also present is the April 11, 1946 architectural services agreement with Zantziner & Borie for the William Penn Memorial Museum and the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Administrative and Correspondence Files of the Executive Director,
1945-1974, 1958-1981, 1958-1971, 1958-1974, 1975-1988, 1951-1981.
(138 cartons, 1 box)

{series #13.3} [Holdings]

Administrative records and photographs are grouped alphabetically by subject and correspondence is arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent.

Budget reports, articles, memoranda, audit reports, and correspondence of the Executive Directors Donald A. Cadzow, Sylvester K. Stevens, William J. Wewer, Larry E. Tise and Brent D. Glass. The correspondence documents all aspects of the executive level activities of the Commission. Topical folders cover Area Emergency Planning Conference (1962), Auditor General (1959-1967), Board on Geographic Names (1956-1971), Canadian Historical Resources Conference (1960, 1962), Capitol Broadcasting Corporation (1960), Civil War Centennial Commission (1957-1965), Cornplanter Grant (1957-1965), and William Penn Memorial Museum (1956-1964).

Other subject materials cover annual meetings and activities of the American Association for State and Local History (1955-1982), Bicentennial Commission (1967-1978), County Records Committee and Local Government Records Committee (1956-1982), and general departmental correspondence. A General Projects File contains Biennial Reports (1936-1950, 1956-1972), Commission Reports (1945-1955), Commission Ten Year Report (1951-1962), Activities Reports (1966-1974) Staff Reports (1966-1978), Flood Damage Reports (1972-1978) and a large number of topical folders covering a wide variety of subjects. A sub-series consisting of 15 cartons was processed at a different time from the above materials and contains records relating to Bushy Run Battlefield (1963-1981), Conrad Weiser Memorial Park (1954-1980), Cornwall Furnace (1951-1980), Daniel Boone Homestead (1954-1979), Drake Well Memorial Park (1954-1980), Ephrata Cloister (1947-1974), and the Flagship Niagara (1954-1980). Among the other sites covered by this sub-series are Fort Bedford (1957-1973), Governor Printz Park (1954-1980), Graeme Park (1958-1980), the Great Meadows Amphitheater (1963-1981), Hope Lodge (1955-1980), Mather Mill (1965-1980), John Morton Homestead (1955-1980), and Old Economy (1954-1980). Finally, this sub-series contains folders for the Old Chester Courthouse (1967-1980), Pechin House (1959-1963), Pennsbury Manor (1951-1980), Pottsgrove Mansion (1954-1980), Joseph Priestley House (1940-1980), Washington Crossing State Park (1971-1981), Brandywine Battlefield State Park (1947-1980), and Valley Forge State Park (1917-1979). Two other sub-series also processed at different times and covering the periods 1953-1985 and 1978-1988 contain 52 cartons and 35 cartons respectively and are also arranged alphabetically by subject. The search room finding aids identify the contents of the folders in the cartons of all sub-series by subject title.

Administrative Files of the Assistant Executive Director,
(15 cartons, 4 boxes)

{series #13.115} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by year and thereunder alphabetically by subject.

Subject files of the Assistant Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Records consist of committee minutes and reports, general correspondence, newsletters and brochures, grants, strategic plans, historic sites and museum information, maintenance reports, objectives, property acquisitions, budget information, and intern files. These records were generated under the tenures of Nancy Kolb (1981-1988) and Donna Williams (1989-1995) as Assistant Executive Director. Of note are the intern files, consisting of performance evaluations, requests, housing, funding, acceptance forms, and selected applicants. The Assistan Executive Director was the intern coordinator for PHMC.

Administrative Files of the Commissioners,
(1 box)

{series #13.6} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by name of commissioner.

Correspondence and administrative records of individual Commissioners. Files consist of biographies, resumes, and related professional and educational background. Topical issues include the creation of a Strategic Planning Committee, the partnership between WITF and PHMC creating programs for, and a preservation conference in Philadelphia proposing alternatives to demolition of historic structures for the expansion of the Conventiuon Center.

Administrative Files of the Legislative Liaison,
(6 cartons, 1 box)

{series #13.117} [Holdings]

Variously arranged alphabetically by surname/subject or chronologically by date and thereunder by subject.

Subject files and correspondence of Legislative Liaisons Marilyn Levin and Edith Walsh. The Legislative Liaison of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating an integrated program of legislative review, development, information and advocacy in cooperation and consultation with the Governor's Office of Legislative Affairs. This involves the gathering and analysis of program and legislative data; coordinating the development of proposed legislation; providing information to the General Assembly on proposed legislation; recommending legislative strategies to the PHMC Executive Director; and coordinating activities with the Governor's Office. The Legislative Liaison also represents the PHMC at legislative committee meetings and hearings. Records include correspondence from Senators and Representatives of the General Assembly, appropriation and budget material, legislative contact reports, an intrnal update titled Legislative Liaison News, and subject files of various legislative issues involving historic preservation.

Awards, Proclamations and Resolutions,
(3 boxes)

{series #13.121} [Holdings]


Awards, proclamations and resolutions of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Records include congratulations, greetings, certificates, recognitions, commemorations, and announcements from the Governor and General Assembly honoring significant historical events, anniversaries and achievements.

Chief Counsel's Case Files,
circa 1980s-2001.
(20 cartons)

{series #13.122} [Holdings] [APPOINTMENT REQUIRED for special media only]

Loosely grouped by topic or legal case.

Case files received by the PHMC Chief Counsel relating to legal issues pertinent to the Commission. Files include transcripts, testimony, witness statements, research material, exhibits, motions, interrogatories, motions, pleadings, examinations, damages, correspondence, depositions, audits, court orders, and settlement agreements. The bulk of the material consists of a court case involving General Public Utility, Duquesne Power and Light, and the Public Utility Commission.

A prior appointment to view special media be made at least 24 hours in advance in order to set up special equipment.

General Projects Correspondence,
1943, 1950-1982.
(7 cartons)

{series #13.8} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Correspondence addressed to the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission concerning a wide range of projects in which the Commission was involved. Subjects include the American Swedish Historical Museum (1967-1971), Andalusia (1966, 1974), the Apostolic Clock Desk (1971-1972), Blooming Grove Museum (1967), the Carnegie House (1966), Catalogue of Historic Sites by the Joint State Government Commission Survey (1962-1966), Chestnut Street Friends Meeting House in West Chester (1966-1969), and Coleman Mansion (1967, 1969). Other topics are the Dictionary of Pennsylvania Biography (1963-1966), General George Meade Memorial (1967-1968), King of Prussia Inn (1950, 1952-1957), Lehigh Valley Coal and Navigation Company Papers (1962), Lenape Land Project (1967), Petroglyph Study at the Carnegie Museum (1962-1964, 1967), and National Trust for Historic Preservation (1955-1974) and Gail McKnight Beckman vs. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission et al., 1967-1982.

Internal Guidelines and Studies of the PHMC,
1980-2003, not inclusive.
(2 cartons)

{series #13.120} [Holdings]

Loosely grouped by subject.

Guidelines and studies of the Commission's internal procedures and practices. Records include a procedure manual, organizational guide, orientation, audit and self study. Of note are the PHMC Self Study and Sunsrt Performance Audit. The Commission undertook the self study in January 1991 with partial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its purpose was to evaluate the usefulness and meaning of PHMC programs among its many audiences and to make recommendations that would help enhance and improve public programming. The PHMC Sunset Review was initiated in 1986 under the auspices of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. The performance audit focused on agency efficiency and effectiveness, compliance with laws and regulations, and program results and performance in relation to specific sunset criteria set forth in the PA Sunset Act of 1981.

Minutes of the PHMC Health and Safety Committee,
(1 box)

{series #13.337} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of meeting.

Meeting minutes of the PHMC Health and Safety Committee. Topics include: mold awareness training; Safety and Health newsletter; accident reports, investigations, and witness statements; emergency evacuation procedures and plans; automated external defibrillator; security checklist; confined space program; respirators. Each monthly minutes report included time and place of meeting, members present and absent, guests, old business, and new business.

Photographs and Related Material,
(10 cartons, 12 boxes)

{series #13.124} [Holdings] [APPOINTMENT REQUIRED for special media only]

Loosely grouped by subject or variously arranged alphabetically or numerically. Many items are unarranged.

A wide range of media, including photographs, negatives, film, cassette tape, slides, and video tapes. These items record PHMC events, exhibits, artifacts, documents, conferences, ceremonies, receptions, anniversaries, staff, historic properties and sites. Of note are photographs of the construction of the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives Complex, and interior and exterior scenes of both buildings.

A prior appointment to view special media must be made at least 24 hours in advance in order to set up special equipment.

Minutes and Agenda of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,
(15 cartons, 4 boxes)

{series #13.10} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of meeting.

Minutes of monthly meetings of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Information provided is date of meeting, names of Commissioners present, meeting agenda, and summary description of discussion and resolutions passed. Also included is a card index of Commission meeting resolutions (circa 1932-circa 1982) referenced by subject, resolution number, date of meeting, and page number where resolution appears.

Publications of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,
(19 cartons, 2 boxes)

{series #13.125} [Holdings]

Publications are arranged either by date of issue or by topic. County photographs and governor portraits are arranged alphabetically. Manuscripts are unarranged.

Books, brochures, pamplets, and related material published by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and its predecessor the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. Material includes informational and historical leaflets, exhibit catalogs, and books covering significant people, places, and events of Pennsylvania history. Topics include military history, natural history, ethnic studies, conservation, Native-Americans, industrial development, and labor relations. Notable titles are Pennsylvania at War, 1941-1945; Pennsylvania History in Outline, circa 1940s-1960s; WPA Frontier Forts and Trails Survey Report, circa 1940s; The Papers of Colonel Henry Bouquet, circa 1940s-1990s.

Records of Executive Projects,
(11 cartons, 1 box, 2 folders)

{series #13.14} [Holdings]

Records of the Tercentenary and History Projects grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document. Other project records loosely grouped by topic or unarranged.

Records of special projects under the direction of the Executive Director of PHMC or in cooperation with other agencies. Projects include Electronic Data Processing Multi-Year Plan, Commonwealth Treasures, Heritage Parks Planning-Urban Cultural Parks System, Pennylvania Heritage Week, Tercentenary of Pennsylvania, and Task Force Examining the State of History in Pennsylvania. Files consist of public hearing transcripts, questionnaires, audio recordings, final reports, newspaper clippings, scripts for exhibits, press releases, speeches, minutes, correspondence, and posters.

Records of the Friends of the PHMC,
(1 box)

{series #13.297} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date.

Established in 1983, the Friends of the PHMC is now the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, the non-profit partner of the Pennsysvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth's official history agency. The Foundation supports the PHMC, in collaboration with partner organizations, through fund development, grant management, membership, merchandising, and advocacy. Records include membership surveys and auditor reports.

Tape Recordings of the Public Information Office,
( 3 cartons)

{series #13.19} [Holdings] [APPOINTMENT REQUIRED]

Arranged by group, then chronologically

Reel-to-reel audio tape recordings created or contracted by the Public Information Office of various activities of the PHMC, arranged in four groupings.  Many were formally produced for radio broadcast.  The first is a series of thirteen five-inch reels, numbered and titled “Our Pennsylvania Heritage” produced in 1958 by the Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) of Harrisburg.  The second is a series of seventeen four-inch tapes with the same title produced by Paul Comly French and Associates in 1959.  These both contain interviews approximately four to five minutes long with PHMC executive staff, Board Members, and curators promoting various PHMC properties and programs.  The third group is three seven-inch tapes made between 1959-1960, also by the CBC of Christmas in Pennsylvania; Groundhog Day, and others.  More information on the work produced by the CBC and Paul Comly French can be found in RG-13.3, Administrative and Correspondence Files of the Executive Director.

The fourth and largest group contains miscellaneous recordings made by the PHMC Public Information Office of events and interviews.  These include: the dedication ceremonies of the State Museum and Archives Building, October 1965; and a talk by Pennsylvania-born Astronaut Pete Conrad, 1965 and a celebration of the first Earth Day, April 1970 at Boone Homestead.  Interviewees are Executive Director Sylvester K. Stevens, Field Curator Robert P. L. Frick, Associate Historian Wallace F. Workmaster, Historian Philip S. Klein, Curator Olive Zanor at Ephrata Cloister, State Research Archivist Sanford W. Higgenbotham, and State Museum Curator John Witthoft speaking on the Sheep Rock Shelter Archeological Site.  Others include Director of Historic Sites Earle W. Newton, Historians William N. Richards and William A. Hunter on the Historical Marker Program, and Historians Donald H. Kent and William A. Hunter on Daniel Boone Homestead.  Historical sites discussed include Drake Well, the Harmony Society at Old Economy Village, Cornwell Furnace and the Landis Valley Farm Museum.

A prior appointment to view these materials must be made at least 24 hours in advance in order to set up special equipment.

Records of the Press Office,
(23 cartons, 8 boxes)

{series #13.123} [Holdings]

The bulk of records are arranged alphabetically by subject or chronologically by date; some records are loosely grouped or are unarranged.

Marketing and public relations files of the Press Secretary, Public Information Officer, and Special Features Coordinator of the PHMC. Files include press releases, newspaper clippings, research material, correspondence, subject files, and administrative material. Topics include seasonal and special events at PHMC sites, history conferences, preservation news, State Museum exhibits, Historical Marker Program dedications, and PHMC publications.

Annual, Biennial, and Miscellaneous Reports of the Commission,
(1 carton, 3 boxes)

{series #13.16} [Holdings] [MICROFILMED]

Grouped by type of report and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of report.

Printed, typed, and mimeographed biennial, annual, organizational, decade, accomplishment, specific powers, legislative, and activity reports issued by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Information varies with type of report but generally includes date, name of author, and the subject. Miscellaneous reports include a report on the State Records Center, a manual on the establishment of historic districts in Pennsylvania, a study on reinvesting in Pennsylvania's heritage, and a report on maintenance and repairs needed at sites and museums administered by the PHMC.

Trademark Registrations of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,
(1 box)

{series #13.317} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by name of program.

Original certificates of registration, principle register certificates, and Office of General Counsel correspondence pertaining to trademark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for programs administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Pertains to the following PHMC programs: Commonwealth Treasure (2010); Amaze and Beyond (exhibit); Founders Award and Design; and Commonwealth Treasures. The term of a federal trademark registration is ten years, with ten-year renewal terms. All of the outgoing correspondence originated with Brent Glass, PHMC Executive Director addressed to Doreen A. McCall, PHMC Assistant General Counsel.

Administrative Records and Reports,
(1 box)

{series #13.339}


This series contains studies and reports related to the Pennsylvania Heritage Society. Also included are the Signature Series project files from 2006 to 2009.

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records