PEAES Economic History in the Philadelphia Region Guide to Manuscripts and Print Resources for Research

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Economic History of Today PEAES Acknowledgements Notes to Researchers Scope of This Guide Library Company of Philadelphia Homepage


The pages in this guide comprise a survey of Philadelphia-area collections related to American economic history.  Our chronological parameters include the earliest settlements of Europeans in the area down to the 1850s.  Geographically the sources encompass the economic activities of those in the general mid-Atlantic region, stretching roughly fifty miles outward from the port of Philadelphia, but also in many cases include records of trans-Atlantic enterprises. The topics we have surveyed are those covered by the activities of the Program in Early American Economy and Society, including entrepreneurship, commerce, business and finance, transportation, manufactures, economic policy, internal improvements, agriculture, and household economies.

The individual institutions surveyed can be found here.  The first page of each institutional entry contains important contact information, followed by the survey of the institution's economic history-related collections.  Institutions' entries reflect their wide-ranging collection strengths.  We have not provided researchers with complete narratives about the scope and content of all resources we located, but rather intend for this to suggest fruitful collections and potential areas of study. At times there will be somewhat fulsome discussions of important sources in economic history; at other times there will be little more than a listing of the most basic information that can point scholars toward a rich trove of documents.

This guide will continue to grow in the coming years as we add surveys of other institutions and refine our current offerings. We invite users of this guide to give us their feedback and send us their ideas about how to expand and refine the guide. Please write to:  Questions about the Library Company's collections in general and materials related to economic history in particular can be directed to:


The current guide allows keyword searching across institutions.

- KEYWORD SEARCH ENTIRE GUIDE.  By entering a keyword in the Google Search box at the upper-right, you can determine how many institutions' entries contain your keyword.  This function will not, however, tell you how many hits within an institution's entry contain your word.

- KEYWORD SEARCH BY INSTITUTION.  A more comprehensive search but more labor-intensive. 

-- Use the pull-down menu at the upper right to go to that institution's entry.  It will bring you to the first page of the entry, containing contact information and general information about the collections.

-- Use the FIND FUNCTION (Control + F) to open a "find word" window at the bottom of your screen.  Type in your word and hit return.  Repeat this throughout the entry to find all instances of the word you're looking for.  There is no truncation feature, so to find, for example, bank, banks, bankers, and banking, type in "bank" only.

- PRINTING parts of entries within the guide can be accomplished by highlighting text and using the copy/paste functions to place in a new document, as for a typical Word document.  Use the "Printer Friendly" command to generate the PDF version and print the entire institutional entry.

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