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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.

January 8, 2018

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded a prestigious Digitizing Hidden Collections grant to an interdenominational consortium of institutions holding historic records of Philadelphia congregations.

The Presbyterian Historical Society is one of the consortium’s 11 collecting groups.

The $385,000 grant award enables the...

May 18, 2012

Margaret Merrick, PHS Records Manager, provides training to new stated clerks as part of the biannual orientations offered by the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly. Orientations are held in May and November in Louisville, and Margaret presents sessions on using retention schedules, the disposition of records, and the challenges of managing and preserving electronic records. The training is designed to introduce new stated clerks to records management in both paper and electronic formats, as well as provide information on the services that PHS offers to mid councils.

Margaret is...

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...

December 14, 2011

Let me give some straight talk to members of session: It’s not at all uncommon for ruling elders to hold on to volumes of church records after they’ve resigned from session, filing minutes and registers in the attic or basement, lost to time. You’re not alone. Retrieved records are a wonder to behold.

We received one such surprise visit the other day from Ron Shaffer of Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church, right in PHS’s backyard. Mr. Shaffer, an appraiser by trade, had taken an interest in the gaps in Old Pine’s collection of records held here, and...

November 10, 2011

PHS recently received on deposit a large body of materials from the Presbytery of Northern New York, spanning recently-closed and long-dissolved congregations, and the records of the Presbytery's predecessors, the Presbytery of Champlain, and the Presbytery of St. Lawrence.

For me, it's always a pleasure--admittedly, a shallow one--to handle church records from the 19th century. There's a great deal to please the Luddite in us: minutes are kept in longhand, signed in duplicate to guarantee authenticity, and the earlier you go, the more rustically bound the volumes. There...

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