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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

March 16, 2018

Louisa M. Woosley is the first woman minister of record from an American Presbyterian denomination. Ordained in the late nineteenth century despite the prevailing social norms of that time, she serves today as an inspiration for anyone trying to break through a glass ceiling.

In 1874, at age 12, Louisa Mariah Layman first felt the calling to ministry during a Baptist revival meeting. “Not having so much as ever heard of a lady preacher,” she later wrote in...

March 14, 2018

Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The preceding verse of scripture provides an apt description of Margaret Purchase, a missionary, Christian educator, and activist. The Margaret Purchase Papers (RG 501) speak to the remarkable life of a woman over the span of seven decades. The papers document Ms. Purchase’s missionary service in Iraq and Lebanon,...

March 10, 2018

In the fall of 2017, students from the Community College of Philadelphia visited 425 Lombard Street to conduct research.

In preparation for the Society's first collaboration with an entire CCP class--part of a long-term effort to use the archives' primary- and rare secondary-source materials to bolster student research and problem-solving skills--Technical Services and Reference Archivist Jennifer Barr worked closely with CCP Professor Joel Tannenbaum. Their planning included familiarizing students...

February 27, 2018

As African American History Month draws to a close, we are thrilled to announce the completion of an almost two-year effort to digitize and share more of the society’s African American history collections. This project was generously funded by a PHS donor and includes a variety of content--archival collections, photographs, video, and a periodical--that is now part of our online archives, Pearl.

The meaning...
February 24, 2018

The Presbyterian Historical Society contains over 32,000 square feet of archival materials. Items from around the world have found a safe home here since the 19th century, when the foundations of today’s collections were laid by two Samuels, one in the North and one in the South: Samuel Agnew and Samuel Tenney. The collectors led very different lives, and yet they had one important thing in common: both were lovers of Presbyterian history.

Samuel Agnew was born in central Pennsylvania in 1820. He moved to Philadelphia and is reported to have made a lot of money early in his...

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