The Old York Road Historical Society Archive contains the largest collection of material related to the history of the communities along and adjacent to the Old York Road. The collections are particularly strong for eastern Montgomery County. The following overview of the collection is divided into the sections below:


The Society maintains a library of several hundred books related to the history of the communities along the Old York Road Corridor as well as Montgomery County, the Delaware Valley, and Pennsylvania.
Some of the more unusual holdings include the following:

  Old York Road:

The Society maintains a library of nearly one thousand books, primarily related to the history of the communities along the Old York Road Corridor as well as Montgomery County, the Delaware Valley, and Pennsylvania. In addition to many locally published organizational and community histories, the general regional holdings include the following:

Old York Road:

The York Road, Old and New, Hotchkin, 1892

The Old York Road and Its Early Associations of History & Biography, 1670-1870, Mears, 1890

Montgomery County:

History of Montgomery County, Bean, 1884

Historical Sketches: A Collection of Papers Prepared for the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Montgomery County Historical Society, 7 vols., 1895-1925

Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years, Montgomery County Federation of Historical Societies, 2 vols., 1993

Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Roberts, 2 vols., 1904

Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Montgomery County, Ruoff, 1895

Bucks County:

History of Bucks County from the Discovery of the Delaware to the Present, Davis, 3 vols., 1905

A Collection of Papers Read Before the Bucks County Historical Society, Bucks County Historical Society, 8 vols., 1908-1940

Philadelphia County:

Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, Jackson, 4 vols., 1911

Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Times: Being a Collection of Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Incidents, Watson, 3 vols., 1877

History of Philadelphia
1609-1884, Scharf & Wescott, 3 vols., 1884


Biographical Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania, vols. 26, 27, 28

Colonial Records, 21 vols.

Pennsylvania Archives
, Series I-IX, 119 vols.

The Provincial Councilors of Pennsylvania Who Held Office Between 1733 and 1776 And Those Earlier Councilors Who Were Some Time Chief Magistrates of the Province, and Their Descendants, Keith, 1883

Chronicles of Pennsylvania: From the English Revolution to the Peace of Aix-La-Chapelle
1688-1748, Keith, 2 vols., 1917

Civil War:

War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 vols.

Bates' History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 6 vols.

Battles & Leaders of the Civil War, The Century Company, 4 vols., 1887

Pennsylvania At Gettysburg, 2 vols., 1904

Philadelphia In the Civil War, 1861-1865, Taylor, 1913


The Society has an extensive collection of manuscripts and papers related to the people, businesses, associations, governments, and activities of the communities along the Old York Road Corridor. In addition to vertical files, the Society has a collection of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, plot plans, architectural drawings, government records and ledgers, family and organization memorabilia, etc. In addition to the materials organized by topic or type, the Society is the repository (either in whole or in part) for the papers of the following organizations:

Abington Bank - originally founded in Jenkintown in 1867 as the Abington Building Association; played important role in borough development.

Abington Civic Club - woman's club established in 1925 for civic betterment and still active in community.

Abington Library Society (Jenkintown Library) - founded in 1803 as a public library, currently in operation as the Jenkintown Library.

Abington Township Public Libraries - library system for Abington Township formed in the 1960s.

The Bookstore - commercial bookstore founded and staffed by women volunteers for the support of the Jenkintown Library, in operation from 1959 to 1993.

Cheltenham/Northeast Business and Professional Women's Club - established in 1965 an disbanded in 1998, purpose to promote the interests and rights of working women.

Child Care of Montgomery County - began as a study group of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and later became an independent non-profit organization with goal of providing quality pre-and after-school care for children of working parents. Founded in 1977 and folded in 2000.

Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce / Greater Jenkintown Chamber of Commerce / Jenkintown Chamber of Commerce - founded in 1933 as the business association of local companies, now covers most of eastern Montgomery County.

Hillside Cemetery - located in Roslyn, chartered 1890 and merged in 1953 with the Ardsley Burial Park.

Jenkinstown Lyceum - influential adult educational and cultural institution, founded in 1838 and still in existence, now acting primarily as a charitable organization.

Jenkintown Day Nursery - early day care center for needy children of working women; opened 1903, offering daily care, education, and practical training; still operating but now located in Abington.

Jenkintown Improvement Association - civic organization founded in 1909, to provide municipal services to borough residents; active until 1980.

Jenkintown Music Theater - established in 1945 as the Jenkintown PTA chorus and for many years was called the Jenkintown PTA Musical Theater, continues to present musical and theater productions.

Jenkintown Urban Mobilization Program - a non-profit corporation founded in 1985 to administer the Main Street Manager Program in Jenkintown, folded in 1990.

Music Theater of Abington - founded in 1950 and presented musical theater productions.

Neighbors of Hatboro - women's club founded in 1910 and disbanded in 2000.

Penickpacka Historical Society - founded in the 1960's to study the history of Lower Moreland and Bryn Athyn and disbanded in 1998.

Old York Road Contemporary Club - woman's club organized in 1932 with emphasis on educational and cultural activities.

Old York Road Hills Civic Association - local civic association founded in 1923 and dissolved in 1933, interested in the Old York Road Hills section of Jenkintown.

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust formerly the Pennypack Watershed Association, founded in 1970 to protect and preserve the watershed along the Pennypack Creek in Upper and Lower Moreland Townships and Bryn Athyn. Womens' Exchange - founded in 1932 to enable women to make money by selling their home products and clothing and closed 1996.

Womens' Club of Noble - founded in 1912 to raise funds for Abington Memorial Hospital and later took lead in civic and social life in Noble area of Abington Township.

Woodland Garden Club - one of the area's best known garden clubs; established 1955, disbanded 1998.

Wyncote Players - a local theater group founded in 1930 and disbanded in the 1990s.

The Society also holds collections of historical materials that, due to their significance, the Society has designated by name. The designated collections are as follows:

Comfort/Dern Family Collection, 1850-1930 - important family group active in early Jenkintown government, business, and culture. Collection includes newspapers, letters, journals, photographs, diaries, household files, ephemera related to American Legion and local fraternal organizations.

William E. Durrwachter Collection - 1940-2002 - William Durrwachter was a long-time member of the Edge Hill Fire Company and involved in many of the area fire-fighter organizations. Collection includes records, histories, photographs, clippings, and certificates related to various fire-fighting organizations throughout the area.

Martin Evoy Collection, 1953-1989 - Col. Evoy lived in Abington and was concerned with development issues in Baederwood. Collection includes a large amount of correspondence, reports, plans, etc., dealing with various zoning and development questions in the Noble/Baederwood area.

Richard H. Harte Collection, 1908-1927 - property owner in the Beaderwood section of Abington. Collection includes many blueprints, design, plans and topographical maps from the firm of Olmstead Bros. relating to the Harte estate and later development.

Herkness-Pennock Collection, 1860-1998 - two families related by marriage and extremely important in area as landowners, developers, and for business and cultural activities. Collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, ledgers.

John C. Parry Collection, 1884-1910 - Quaker, member of Abington Meeting who lived in Wyncote. Collection includes a very large number of household records, including tax, bank, medical, utility, clothing, food, etc.

Russell Smith Family Collection, 1820-1950 - an internationally known family of painters: father Russell, mother Mary Priscilla Wilson Smith, son Xanthus, daughter Mary Russell Smith, whose home was in Glenside. Collection includes family papers, diaries, deeds, miscellaneous works of art on paper, correspondence, glass negatives, photographs and family photograph album.

John B. and Francis R. Taylor Collection, 1880-1945 - well-known Quaker family. Collection includes daily journals, diaries, business and professional correspondence dealing with real estate in Philadelphia and vicinity.

Willow Grove Park Collection, 1896-1975 - an amusement park that became one of the most successful and popular parks in the country during it's heyday from 1896 to 1926, later declined and finally folded in 1975. Collection includes musical programs, photographs, souvenir booklets, ephemera, clippings, postcards, scrapbooks, account book, newspaper Willow Grove Park News.


The Society has a large collection of printed ephemera and newspaper clippings documenting the people, places and events throughout the area. The ephemera collection is approximately 75 linear feet and is organized by municipality and then topically. Topics for which a significant amount of material is available include:

Abington Memorial Hospital/June Fete
Abington Presbyterian Church
Abington Township
Cheltenham Township
Edge Hill Fire Company/Montgomery County Firefighting
Keswick Theatre
Widener Family/Lynnewood Hall
Willow Grove Park

Genealogical Materials

The Society has an extensive collection of reference works, periodicals, and books used primarily for family research purposes.

In addition to census and tax records, cemetery inventories, and family genealogies, the collection includes the following:

Church records for:

Abington Friends Meeting, 1685-1947
Abington Presbyterian Church, 1713-1862
All Hallows Episcopal Church, 1898-1996 (on microfilm)

Mormon International Genealogical Index (on microfiche)

Local obituaries and death notices, 1991 to present, 21 vols.

Funeral Home Records for:

Baron Rowland Funeral Home (and its predecessor firms), 1891-2002


The Society has a collection of directories and telephone books useful for tracking individuals and businesses within the region.

The collection includes the following:

Philadelphia Blue Book
1892, 1894, 1896, 1899-1902, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1914, 1916, 1918, 1921

Social Register Philadelphia
1926, 1928-1931, 1933, 1935-1937, 1941, 1943, 1945-1950, 1953, 1954, 1956-1965, 1968-1974, 1976

Social Register (all areas)
1982, 1986-1990, 1993, 1996

Summer Social Register
1968, 1976

Yellow Book / Bell Atlantic/Verizon Telephone Book - various volumes dating from 1902

Journals and Periodicals

The Society maintains a collection of scholarly journals related to local history including various publications and newsletters of many area historical societies.

Highlights include:

Montgomery County Historical Society Bulletin, 1936-present (complete)

Old York Road Historical Society Bulletin, 1937-present (complete)

The Penickpacka Historical Society Bulletin, 1981-1998 (complete)

The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1940-present

Pennsylvania History, 1936-1999


The Society's collection includes newspapers and periodicals of local interest and published at various times throughout the past 160 years.

The major holdings include the following:

The Cabinet Register (published by The Cabinet of Natural Science of Abington), 1839-1840

Hatboro Public Spirit, 1873-1920 (on microfilm)

The Inquirer Roadster
, 1898-1900

Old York Road Caller, 1935-1948

The Jenkintown Pestle, 1875-1877

Times Chronicle
, 1894-1995 (on microfilm, official repository)

In addition, the Society holds various issues of the following:

Abington-Cheltenham-Willow Grove Bulletin

East Montgomery County Realtor

Easton Road Guide

Fox Chase Chronicle

Jenkintown Journal

Jenkintown Outlook

Old York Road Post

Old York Road Press

Montgomery County News

The Mutual Friend

North Suburban Review

Suburban World

Weekly Guide


In addition to its collection of manuscripts and papers, the Society also has a number of scrapbook collections.

The scrapbooks contain clippings, memorabilia, photographs, and other types of ephemera.

The Society maintains its own scrapbook collection covering Eastern Montgomery County numbering some 21 volumes and dating from 1890 to the present. The Society also holds the following scrapbook collections:

Frank T. Boutcher, Abington and surrounding areas, 1911-1945, 1 vol.

Richard Fetter, Abington and Jenkintown, 1975-1993, 2 vols.

Ruth & Bert MacKenney, Jenkintown, 1974-1990, 18 vols.

Joe MacMahon, Abington Civil Defense, 1942-1944, 1 vol.

William H. McCann, general interest including Eastern Montgomery County, 1930-1939, 8 vols.

Ellwood Parry, general interest including Eastern Montgomery County, 1910-1972, 6 vols.

Florence Ridpath, Eastern Montgomery County and adjoining areas, 1905-1948, 18 vols.

Tyson Pear Questers, organization events and happenings, 1965-1983, 3 vols.


The Society has the most extensive collection of images related to the communities along the Old York Road corridor.

In addition to its general collection of some 15,000 images, the Society has several very significant designated photographic collections:

William T. Bitting Photographic Collection, 1896-1898 - amateur photographer. Images record landmarks beginning at Broad and Butler Streets in Philadelphia and continuing through Germantown, Branchtown, Shoemakertown, Jenkintown, Weldon, Willow Grove, and Fitzwatertown to the Bitting summer home in Dresher. Subjects include estates, churches, townscapes, and Willow Grove Park. Collection contains original negatives and prints, 200 images.

Walter Ellis Photographic Collection, 1900-1925 - amateur photographer. Images include landscapes, family groups (apparently recent immigrants), and residents of eastern Montgomery County. Collection contains glass negatives and prints, 100 images.

Lester D. Guy Photographic Collection, 1970-1990 - newspaper photographer. Images include area people and events with emphasis on Abington Township. Collection contains original negatives and copy prints, 1500 images

Robert C. Lee Photographic Collection, 1960-2001 - commercial and newspaper photographer. Images include newsmakers and events throughout eastern Montgomery County. Collection contains original negatives and prints, 8000 images.

Joseph Marchetti Photographic Collection, 1976-1990 - commercial, newspaper, and portrait photographer. Images include Abington and Jenkintown political leaders, area fire companies and Abington Memorial Hospital. Collection contains original negatives and copy prints, 3000 images.

John W. Ridpath Photographic Collection, 1890-1910 - early Jenkintown pharmacist, newspaper publisher, borough government official, and amateur photographer. Images include local scenes of eastern Montgomery County as well as some domestic scenes of late Victorian home-life. Collection contains glass negatives, original prints, and slides, 500 images.

Harry J. Utzy, Jr., Photographic Collection, l926-1985 - commercial, portrait, and news photographer, active in Jenkintown. Collection contains glass negatives, original negatives and prints, and many earlier negatives and prints collected and restored, 20,000 images.

Property Atlases and Maps

The Society maintains an extensive collection of property atlases and maps including the following:

Delaware Valley:

Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia, C. K. Stone & A. Pomeroy, 1860

New Topographical Atlas of the State of Pennsylvania with Descriptions Historical, Scientific & Statistical, Stedman, Brown and Lyon, 1872

Atlas of Philadelphia and Environs, G. M. Hopkins, 1877

Pennsylvania Rail Road Atlas of the Line to Newtown and Lansdale, Scott, 1886 (incomplete)

Baist's Map Showing the Development of the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia, G. Wm. Baist, 1897

Franklin Street and Business Occupancy Atlas, Philadelphia and Suburbs, Franklin Survey Company, 1946

Montgomery County:

Map of Montgomery County Pennsylvania from Original Surveys Under the Direction of Wm. E. Morris C. E., Smith & Wistar, 1848

Plan of the Township of Abington, Montgomery Co., Pensa., J. E. Sidney, 1849

Atlas of the County of Montgomery and the State of Pennsylvania, G. M. Hopkins, 1871

Combination Atlas Map of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, J. D. Scott, 1877

Atlas of Properties Near the North Pennsylvania Rail Road from Wayne Junction to Penllyn Station, G. M. Hopkins, 1883

Baist's Atlas of the Properties Along the North Pennsylvania, Bound Brook and Pennsylvania Railroads, G. Wm. Baist, 1891

Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, J. L. Smith, 1893

Atlas of Cheltenham, Abington and Springfield Townships, Montgomery County, Penna., A. H. Mueller & Co., 1897

Atlas of the Properties on the Reading Railway Embracing Cheltenham, Abington, Springfield and Parts of Moreland and Whitemarsh Townships, A. H. Mueller, 1909

Jenkintown, Penna., Sanborn Map Company, 1909

Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Penna., Embracing Cheltenham, Abington, Springfield, Upper Dublin and Parts of Moreland, Whitemarsh, Whitpain, Lower & Upper Gwynedd Townships, A. H. Mueller, 1916

Atlas of the Reading Main Line Montgomery County, Penna., Volume One, Boroughs of Rockledge, Jenkintown, Ambler and Conshohocken and Townships of Abington, Cheltenham, Springfield, Whitemarsh and Upper Dublin, Frank H. M. Klinge, 1927

Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Penna., Volume A, Including the Townships of Lower Moreland, Upper Moreland, Horsham, Montgomery, Lower Gwynedd, Upper Gwynedd and the Boroughs of Bryn Athyn, Hatboro and North Wales, Franklin Survey Company, 1934

Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Penna., Volume B, Including the Townships of Plymouth, Whitpan, East Norriton, West Norriton, Lower Providence, Worcester, Towamencin, and the Borough of Norristown, Franklin Survey Company, 1935

Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Penna., Volume C, Including the Townships of Abington and Cheltenham and the Boroughs of Jenkintown and Rockledge, Franklin Survey Company, 1937

Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Penna., Volume D
, Including the Townships of Springfield, Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh and the Borough of Ambler, Franklin Survey Company, 1938

Property Atlas of Abington and Cheltenham Townships, Jenkintown and Rockledge Boroughs, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Franklin Survey Company, 1938

Bucks County:

Farm Map of Northampton Township, Bucks County, Thomas Hughes, 1859

Combination Atlas Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, J. D. Scott, 1876

Farm Atlas of Bucks County, Volume One, Including the Townships of Buckingham, Doylestown, Lower Southampton, New Britain, Newtown, Northampton, Plumstead, Solebury, Upper Makefield, Upper Southampton, Warminster, Warrington, Warwick & Wrightstown, Franklin Survey Company, 1948

Philadelphia County:

Map of the Township of Oxford, Boroughs of Frankford and Bridesburg, with Parts of Bristol, N. Liberties and Cheltenham Townships, M. Dripps, 1849

Atlas of Germantown, Penna., 22nd Ward of the City of Philadelphia, G. M. Hopkins, 1871

Atlas of West Philadelphia including the 24th and 27th Wards of the City of Philadelphia, G. M. Hopkins & Co., 1872

Atlas of the 6th, 9th & 10th Wards of the City of Philadelphia, Elvino V. Smith, 1908 (Buildings Revised to Sept. 1st 1915)

Atlas of the City of Philadelphia Complete in One Volume, G. W. Bromley & Co., 1910

Atlas of the 24th, 34th & 44th Wards of the City of Philadelphia, J. L. Smith, 1911-1912

Atlas of the 6th, 9th & 10th Wards of the City of Philadelphia, Elvino V. Smith, 1921

Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, 22nd Ward, G. W. Bromley & Co., 1923

Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, 35th Ward, G. W. Bromley & Co., 1927

Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, 23rd & 41st Wards, G. W. Bromley & Co., 1929

Real Estate Records

The Society has an important collection of real estate records and property deed. The collection of some 600 deeds covers various properties through the region. In addition, the Society has real estate records from various firms including the following:

Kuhn Real Estate Inc. - documents various residential properties throughout the area. Collection includes promotional sheets, sale records and deed transactions.

Robert N. Jordan Real Estate - covers various industrial real estate properties primarily in Philadelphia.

Historic Preservation

In addition to materials found throughout the collections that relate to specific buildings or architects, the Society also has several major inventories of historic properties:

Cheltenham Township Historical Survey, 1999

Inventory of Historic Properties, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 1969

Pictorial Inventory of Eastern Montgomery County (produced jointly with the Upper Moreland Historical Association), 1998 & 1999

School Materials

The Society has several important collections related to the schools along the Old York Road Corridor. Most important are the following:

   Chelten Hills Select School (Heacock School) - early and one of the most important private    educational institutions in the area, 1880-1902

   B. R. Myers Elementary School, Elkins Park - elementary school in Cheltenham township,    1930-1990

In addition, the Society also has various issues of school newspapers for most of the institutions in the area. Larger runs include the following:

   The Abingtonian, 1928-1932

   Abington Oracle, 1925-1936

Additionally, the Society has a collection of school yearbooks. While the number of issues vary, the following schools are included in the collection:

   Abington High School

   Abington Friends School

   Cheltenham High School

   Jenkintown High School

   Meadowbrook School

   The Ogontz School for Girls

   Saint Basil's Academy

Copyright © 2009 OYRHS