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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.

August 21, 2012

The formative years of American Presbyterianism occurred between 1706 and 1789. During those 83 years, early Presbyterians founded the first presbytery in Philadelphia, organized the first synod in 1716 and the first General Assembly in 1789. In addition, American Presbyterians formed about 24 presbyteries.

Of the original presbyteries formed between 1706 and 1789, PHS holds records for 17 of them. The public services staff has created an early presbytery records guide that lists all the documents from these original presbyteries held at the Presbyterian Historical Society. From...

April 17, 2012

Shortly after celebrating its 60th anniversary in 1912, PHS president Henry Van Dyke articulated his vision for a future Presbyterian Historical Society.

The Society, he noted, “should have a home of its own [in Philadelphia], designed and fitted for its special use…ready to welcome all visitors and guests.” Van Dyke added, “Such a house would surely become…a meeting place for people of good will and loyal memories who do not forget the faith and deeds of their forefathers.”

It would take another 55 years for Van Dyke’s...

February 10, 2012

We recently had a call from a member of a session in Florida, routed to me because the session asked to have their records returned. Returns aren't unheard of. Congregations may need to do extensive research in their own records to resolve property disputes, write histories, or celebrate anniversaries.

But archivists are trained to ask questions of our patrons. So I asked, "Do you need to do some research in the materials?"

"No, we were going to photocopy all of them to have a copy here."

This response isn't all that uncommon either. Many...

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