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Research Resources

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The archives is rich with manuscript items pertaining to President James Buchanan and his extended family; Thaddeus Stevens; business and political history; eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth-century social history; local theatres; social organizations; the Civil War; and World War II. Among these records are diaries, correspondence, account and minute books, scrapbooks, and ephemera. Local department stores, Armstrong World Industries, the Fulton Theatre, early fire companies, Hubley Manufacturing Company, Dance of the Month Club, and United Steel Workers Union Local 285 are just a few of the businesses and organizations represented. Lancaster City and County historic records include civil and criminal cases, probate and estate papers, and tax assessments. Nearly 2 million documents record over 300 years of life in one of the oldest inland communities in America.


The 16,000-volume library includes an extensive collection of materials on Lancaster County topics, the history of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania German history, religion, and the decorative arts. The map collections include warrant maps for Lancaster County, Lancaster City and County maps, fire insurance maps, and county landowners' atlases. The extensive church records collection includes historic Lancaster city churches as well as church records from around the county, some in database format. A complete run of the Lancaster Intelligencer newspaper, most of the Lancaster New Era, the New Holland Clarion, the Columbia Spy, and other community newspapers are all available onsite. Further, the 1,040-volume Colonial and Early Federal Era Law Library of Lancaster Attorney Jasper Yeates is a remarkable resources for students of legal history. All collections are cataloged in our online catalog. 

Artifact Collections's collection of three-dimensional objects holds a wealth of resources for humanities scholarship. Strengths of the collection include the Heritage Center Collection---a decorative arts collection that demonstrates the intertwined cultural groups within the region; the Esprit Quilt Collection of 82 pre-WWII Lancaster Amish-made quilts; over 100 portraits by Lancaster's well-known artists, Jacob Eichholtz, John Henry Brown, and Arthur Armstrong; collections related to the tenuous years surrounding the American Civil War (with particular emphasis on the lives and careers of President James Buchanan and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens); and collections related to the life and career of turn-of-the-century artist and poet, Lloyd Mifflin. The collections include a strong focus on the countless stories that have connected Lancaster County's history with that of the state and the nation from its European settlement to the 21st century. 


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