Pennsylvania State Guide
Finding Aids to Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture: Pennsylvania Collections
The Archive of Folk Culture holds approximately 2700 collections consisting of more than 150,000 sound recordings and 3 million items. At this time only a portion of them have catalog records and finding aids. Contact the Folklife Reading Room for additional information about collections.
Folklife in Your State: Pennsylvania
The American Folklife Center's collections include material that documents a diversity of folk traditions, including recordings of occupational folklore of anthracite and bituminous miners and river boat raftsmen; Irish music; fiddle and string band music; and ethnic, religious, and musical traditions of Pennsylvania German, Lithuanian, Yiddish/Jewish, Slavonic, and Bulgarian communities. Pennsylvania's Local Legacies Projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations is available on the Center's Web page.
America's Library is especially designed for elementary
and middle- school students.
Explore the States: Pennsylvania
Jump Back in Time
William Penn Was Born, October 14, 1644
National Cemeteries Were Authorized by the U.S. Government,
July 17, 1862
Johnstown Flood Disaster, May 31, 1889
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Search this collection to find selected newspaper articles that mention events in Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words
This exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words, indicates the depth and breadth of Franklin's public, professional, and scientific accomplishments through important documents, letters, books, broadsides, and cartoons. This exhibition includes his articles published in The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper and his involvement with Pennsylvania.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress
Ephrata Community Songbook
The principal source for the music of the German Seventh-Day Baptists, a group that immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1732, this manuscript is inscribed with a title that unrolls in the full proliferation of German Pietism: "The Bitter good, or the song of the lonesome turtledove, the Christian church here on earth, in the valley of sadness, where it bemoans its `widowhood' and at the same time sings of another, future reunion [with God]."
First Draft of Gettysburg Address
Seen here is the earliest known of the five drafts of what may be the most famous American speech. Delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at the dedication of a memorial cemetery on November 19, 1863, it is now familiarly known as "The Gettysburg Address."
First Hospital for the Mentally Ill
The Pennsylvania Hospital began admitting mentally disturbed patients after 1752. It was the first institution in the United States dedicated to the treatment of mental and physical illness in a period of reform that saw the shift away from punishment and restraint toward the treatment of patients' symptoms.
One of the earliest dual-color illustrated almanacs, Der Hoch-Deutsch Americanische Kalender was printed in Germantown, Pennsylvania, by Christoph Saur. Saur's publication was the first foreign-language almanac printed in the United States.
William Penn received a royal charter from King Charles II of England in 1681 to cover a debt of £16,000 owed by the monarch to Penn's father Admiral William Penn, by which he became the proprietor of a huge tract of land in what is now Pennsylvania.
The Battle of Gettysburg
One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1-3, 1863. General Robert E. Lee came face to face with a Union army led by General George Meade.
The Progress of the Army
This manuscript map, from the American Revolutionary War, was drawn by a British cartographer. It illustrates military operations in the area around Elkton, Maryland, and Valley Forge and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
The State House in Philadelphia
Drawn by George Heap, a surveyor and city coroner of Philadelphia, and Nicolas Scull, Surveyor General of the Province of Pennsylvania, this map shows streams, roads, and names of the landowners in the vicinity of Philadelphia.
France In America
Conceived in partnership with France’s national library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France in America /France en Amérique is a bilingual digital library made available by the Library of Congress. It explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. Search the project to find items related to Pennsylvania.
Bibliographies and Guides
This site provides the names of all current state poets laureate of the United States. It also includes a history of the laureateship in each state, as well the District of Columbia, and attempts to provide a comprehensive listing of all prior state poets laureate. Included is information on the position of State Poet Laureate in Pennsylvania.
to Law Online
Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information on U.S states and territories, including Pennsylvania.
Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey
This list includes structures identified as the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Search the online Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) records and consult the book The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog by William Allin Storrer, 2nd ed., 1974. As additional documentation is digitized from the HABS/HAER collection, entries will be added. The list includes images for Pennsylvania.
& Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)
Search PPOC using the subject headings United States--Pennsylvania to find digital images related to Pennsylvania, such as prints, photographs, and more. Search in PPOC using the term Pennsylvania or names of cities, towns, and sites to locate additional images.
American Memory Timeline
A comprehensive look at America's history through primary sources. Below are a few examples of resources pertaining to Pennsylvania.
Primary Sources by State
The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts
from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District
of Columbia. Click on Pennsylvania to view historic artifacts and cultural materials from the state.
Creating a Primary Source Archive: All History Is Local
Examine the interplay between national,
state, local, and personal history. Students produce a
digital collection of primary sources from their family
or local community based on the collections in American
Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions
Students explore the local history of the community in which they live through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and through traditions such as food, festivals and other events of the community or of individual families.
Local History: Mapping My Spot
Students create their town’s history for coming generations and place themselves on the map in a literal as well as figurative sense, by producing portions of an updated version of an early twentieth century panoramic map from the American Memory collections.
History Project Home Page
The Veterans History Project (VHP) collects and preserves the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. Browse the database by state of residence to locate veterans from Pennsylvania.