Our Work in the Archives, First Quarter 2019 | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Our Work in the Archives, First Quarter 2019

May 23, 2019
Clockwise from top left: Janet Lowery and Elizabeth Wittrig; Charles Yerkes; Youngeun Koo; Clifton Kirkpatrick and Pope John Paul II.

A message of thanks from one of our constituents

The archivists at PHS have had an active winter and spring -- bringing in content, building digital collections, reaching out to new constituents -- and it's our pleasure to tell you more about our work.

For the first quarter of 2019, archivists answered a total of 845 reference questions, which included serving 114 in-house patrons for a total of 227 patron days. In-house researchers visited PHS from 17 U.S. states, and Chile, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. We were busier in the first quarter of 2019 than for the same period last year.

PHS is working with four classes from the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP): African American History to 1877; 19th Century American History; Philadelphia History: Architecture and Planning; and Creative Writing. CCP student Marcus Baldwin is also joining us as an intern for the semester. Marcus is primarily working with archivist Jenny Barr on processing photographs from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. Congo Mission.

During the first quarter, records held at PHS from First, Second, and Third Presbyterian churches in Philadelphia were scanned at the Athenaeum as part of a the Council on Library and Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Collections grant on early Philadelphia congregations.

At PHS, work continued on the Religious News Service Photographs grant project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Allison Davis and Cecilia Figliuolo began scanning and describing select images and applying metadata, and Gabriela Zoller began uploading images to the Religious News Service Photographs Collection in Pearl.

In March, Janet Lowery, a retired PC(USA) pastor came to PHS to work on records of the Voices of Sophia with Pam Byers Memorial Fund Project Archivist Elizabeth Wittrig.

Elizabeth processed other PBMF related collections, conducted oral histories, and created a timeline of LGBTQIA+ history in the PC(USA) for the Pam Byers Memorial Collecting Initiative page on the PHS website.

Allison and Cecilia scanned 30,803 images this quarter, completing 65 orders. Records Archivist David Staniunas transferred 14 audio-visual items to digital formats.

"A Sense of Belonging : the Presbyterian Commitment to Minority Education" (1987)

In February, PHS Executive Director Beth Hessel and David traveled to National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., where Beth delivered a luncheon presentation, and Beth and David toured National’s archival holdings and met with members of session.

In late March, David was in Louisville shadowing new stated clerks training, and delivering "Reliable Records and Secure Speech." He also worked with the Office of Immigration Issues on securing the cell phones of people working across the US-Mexico border.

Archives Technician Niki LaGrone completed processing the Eunice Poethig Papers (RG 516) this quarter; read more about Eunice’s life and ministry here.

During the quarter we received more than 3800 new visitors to Pearl, and more than 880 new visitors to Sheppard.

PC(USA) Congregations Served

During the first quarter, we replied to 68 questions from PC(USA) congregations, chiefly about depositing and digitizing original records. Explore more in our interactive map!

Geographic location of 1Q congregation inquiries. See the interactive map here

 PC(USA) Mid Councils and National Agencies/Offices Served

During the first quarter we also helped 15 presbyteries and 6 of our fellow national agency offices in the PC(USA) with administrative, legal, or records management questions, including: 

Presbytery of Arkansas
Presbytery of Boise
Presbytery of Des Moines
Presbytery of Donegal
Presbytery of Eastern Virginia
Presbytery of Geneva
Presbytery of Hudson River
Presbytery of Lehigh
Presbytery of National Capital
Presbytery of New York City
Presbytery of Newark
Presbytery of Northern Plains
Presbytery of Pittsburgh
Presbytery of West Virginia
Presbytery of the Western Reserve
General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
Office of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Foundation
Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program
Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Men
Presbyterian Mission Agency, World Mission
In the first quarter, PHS brought into the archives 76 groups of materials amounting to more than 128 cubic feet. This included the original records of 19 historic and 13 active PC(USA) congregations.

Where our congregation records came from in early 2019

We look forward to telling you more about our work this coming July!

A note of thanks from the German National Archive