The Society provides reference services in its extensive collections of published and archival material. Our holdings include almost 30,000 cubic feet of eighteenth- to twentieth-century records and personal papers; over 250,000 books; and hundreds of museum objects documenting the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. We document the history of predecessor denominations and some ecumenical organizations.
Locating materials relevant to your research requires collaboration between researcher and our reference staff. Our staff is availably to review your topic with you by phone, U.S. mail, or e-mail.
We will often direct patrons to CALVIN, our online catalog, and our online finding aids, where you can research a topic prior to visiting. Patrons should keep in mind that CALVIN contains only a portion of our holdings. Should you visit the society in person, we will be happy to orient you to our card catalog, which may contain additional relevant materials. If you have a large or complex topic, we suggest that you contact us prior to visiting.
You may also wish to familiarize yourself with our rules and information for researchers.
Some materials in our holdings contain restrictions to access. So that you can make the most efficient use of your research time at the society, our reference staff can provide you with information that will allow you to request written permission to access restricted materials from the owners before you arrive.
The society invites applications for our Research Fellowships, a program designed to encourage faculty, independent researchers, and students to use and publish from the society's rich holdings by awarding research and travel grants.
Please be aware that the Presbyterian Historical Society is the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Because we have responsibilities to fulfill for the church, our staff does not provide research services. We can only inform you of materials in our holdings that may be relevant to your research.
Contact the Reference Desk or (215) 627-1852 for additional information.