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Information for researchers

The Presbyterian Historical Society has instituted a vaccination mandate for all researchers, visitors, and vendors entering the building effective January 18, 2022. There is no testing option for unvaccinated individuals. Please review the COVID-19 Information for Researchers information sheet for complete information about our vaccination and masking mandates before scheduling an appointment. PHS reserves the right to cancel or reschedule your appointment due to staffing shortages, unexpected closure, and/or advisories from the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

In-person research is available by appointment only. Currently, we allow a maximum of two researchers in the reading room at a time. Up to four research visits at a time may be reserved. Appointment times are:

  • Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The society is closed on weekends and most holidays.

Reserve an appointment 

Please contact the reference staff at or 215-627-1852 if you need assistance scheduling an appointment.

There is limited off-street parking available. 

Briefcases, computer cases, book bags, and purses must be left in specially designated areas. Coats and jackets must be hung on the coat racks near the entrance.

We allow the use of hand-held digital cameras without flash in the reading room.

Food, drink, and smoking are not allowed in the building.

The staff is available for general reference assistance. Due to our volume of work, the time we can spend with any one researcher is limited, and we cannot engage in research (as opposed to reference assistance) for our patrons.

As much as possible, we ask that researchers request materials in advance of their scheduled research appointment.

Click here for a complete list of reading room policies; they are also available in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.  

A note on access: It is the policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to restrict access to official denomination records at the national level on deposit at the Presbyterian Historical Society that are less than 20 years old, and official denomination records at the mid council and congregation level that are less than 50 years old. If researchers wish to access these records, we require that they secure written permission from the records’ owners. If you believe this restriction will affect your research, please contact us for further instructions prior to visiting. Please click here to view the complete access policy.

Click here for more information about reference and research services.