Pennsylvania Orphanages


Orphan Society of Philadelphia (Pa.)
Extent: 4.5 linear feet
The Orphan Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1814, was the first non-sectarian orphanage in Pennsylvania. In 1965, due to low enrollment and financial and staffing issues, the Orphan Society merged with the Elwyn School, now known as Elwyn, in Delaware County, Pa.  The Orphan Society of Philadelphia records, 1815-1965 (bulk 1930-1965), consist of administrative and financial records, legal documents, historical files, orphan records, and other materials.  Of special interest is an Orphan Asylum register listing orphan admissions (name, birth date, admission date) and dates of discharge or death from 1815 to 1896. (View full finding aid.)
Germantown Historical Society [Contact Us]
Foulke and Long Institute for Orphan Girls.
Extent: 4.75 linear feet
The Foulke and Long Institute for Orphan Girls was established in Philadelphia in 1882 for orphaned daughters of soldiers, firemen, and others sacrificed for the public benefit. In 1888, Foulke and Long merged with the Industrial Home for the Training of Girls in the Arts of Housewifery and Sewing. Foulke and Long moved to the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in 1913, where it remained until the institute merged with the Youth Study Center of Philadelphia in 1960. The Foulke and Long Institute for Orphan Girls records, 1857-1948, are primarily comprised of administrative, financial, and pupil records for the Foulke and Long Institute, with some materials from the Industrial Home for Girls. There are Admission and Dismission Committee records, meeting minutes, account books and ledgers, and many other document types. (View full finding aid.)
Springfield Township Historical Society (Montgomery County, Pa.) [Contact Us]
Contosta, David R.
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
The Carson Valley School opened in 1918 as the Carson College for Orphan Girls with funding from Philadelphia streetcar tycoon Robert N. Carson. Around the time of the school’s 75th anniversary, Chestnut Hill College professor David R. Contosta was commissioned to research the history of the school and write the book Philadelphia’s Progressive Orphanage: The Carson Valley School. The David R. Contosta research files on Carson Valley School, 1992-1995, are comprised of research notes, copies of scholarly and newspaper articles, copies of school records, and other materials compiled by Contosta while writing his book. (View full finding aid.)
Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia [Contact Us]
1926-1985, undated
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Extent: 2 linear feet (2 containers)
The Orphan Photograph collection houses unrelated photographic prints, negatives, slides and other visual media created for or by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, dating from circa 1926 to 1985. The collection has an unknown custodial history; it appears to have been gathered together over time due to the random nature of the images and lack or loss of any connection between individual images and other larger collections. Researchers will find images of a variety of animal and plant specimens; photos taken during a few Academy events and multiple Academy sponsored expeditions; exhibits; as well as numerous portraits and snapshots of people affiliated with the institution. In addition, there are a handful of photographs and negatives produced or collected by the Public Relations Department for use in the Academy newsletter, Frontiers and other publications. Of particular note, are the photographs taken during Academy sponsored expeditions, especially those few snapshots taken during George Vanderbilt’s trans-Africa expedition in the 1940s. (View full finding aid.)
Moore Archives at Historic Yellow Springs [Contact Us]
Historic Yellow Springs (Organization)
Extent: 140 linear feet
Historic Yellow Springs is a non-profit organization in Chester County, Pennsylvania that preserves and promotes the history and arts of Yellow Springs village. The village was the site of 18th and 19th century spas; the first military hospital in North America, built during the Revolutionary War; an orphan school for children of Civil War Soldiers; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)’s Country School; Good News Productions, the film studio that created The Blob; and Chester Springs Studio, a vibrant arts center that merged with Historic Yellow Springs in 2007. The Historic Yellow Springs collection, 1823-2013, is a combination of original records and collected secondary-source materials about the several organizations that have occupied the village of Historic Yellow Springs over its long history from 1722 into the 21st century. (View full finding aid.)

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