Archives and Special Collections



October 2023

Since our last Archive news update in 2020, we have added several important guides to the TEHS Archive section of the Society website. These include:

For this effort we thank the ever-willing and able Heidi Sproat, through whose efforts these lists were edited and converted to HTML.

Also, with help of Society VP Bart Van Valkenburgh, an Archives Emergency Plan was created and put on file at the Berwyn Fire Company. This document includes emergency contacts, a description of the facility, access and floor plan details, a description of materials held on the premises, as well as detailed photographs.

Many gifts were received in the last few years, and the highlights are described in the History Quarterly Vol. 56, No. 4. A few highlights from 2019, 2020, and 2021 include:

  • Portrait photographs of the first and second generation of Wilson family members, whose property eventually became Wilson Farm Park;
  • The Garber-Pyle Collection with over 300 photographs relating to Berwyn, and to Henry Oscar Garber who ran Garber's Store in Berwyn for over fifty years. The store was located on Lancaster Avenue just west of the property now occupied by Clay's Bakery, and appropriately, a stone's throw from where the TEHS archive now houses this large collection of Garber family material;
  • Charter and By-Laws of the Paoli Memorial Association, 1898. Today the Paoli Memorial Association oversees the cemetery and monuments at the 22-acre Paoli Memorial Grounds in Malvern Borough.

And here is an interesting coincidence: in 2021 we received an inquiry from Dr. Matthew Halley at the Delaware Museum of Science and Nature asking if we had any material relating to Franklin Burns, a charter TEHS member. Specifically, he was seeking anything concerning Burns' lifelong interest in ornithology. We answered in the negative, although we do have important Berwyn-related scrapbooks that Burns compiled.

West Berwyn real estate sign

Remarkably, a year later we received a gift of fourteen more notebooks kept by Burns in the first half of the twentieth century, from George W. Pyle, Jr., who lives in Indiana, and whose father was a good friend of Burns. These were in fact Burns' birding notebooks, containing hundreds of pages filled with bird counts and observations. Fortunately, we were able to get in touch with Dr. Halley, who was delighted to see the books. He plans to publish articles drawing on this material for both the History Quarterly, and for national periodicals in the field of natural science. Frank Burns would be thrilled!

We also received this large metal real estate sign, promoting a group of newly built homes. "West Berwyn / New Homes / $5999.00 up /Turn Left at Underpass." These small homes were built by R. G. Funkhouser, and one can see them today just west of the Conestoga High athletic fields. The first owners of these homes would be astounded had they known that in 2023 the asking price of their homes would need at least three more zeros!

– Cheryl Leibold


January 2020

Volunteers Rick Hassold (rear) Mandy Hassold (center) and Sharon Lea spent over ten days on the library organization project.

We are now marking two years in our official office and storage facility in Berwyn. As reported below, we moved our archives and special collections to Berwyn in January of 2018. We now have a spacious facility for working on our collections. Special thanks to Eadeh Enterprises for their continuing commitment to supporting local history activities. In 2018 and 2019 we were able to improve organization and storage, open our library, and host our first open-house event.

In the spring of 2018, three volunteers unpacked and shelved about 25 boxes of books. Amazingly, the new space had built-in bookshelves in one of the smaller rooms. Rick, Mandy and Sharon checked each book against the list of TEHS library books published in the July 2000 History Quarterly. They quickly realized that there were quite a number of books not on the list, indicating that many books had come into the collection in the period from 2000 to 2010. These "new" books were entered into a spreadsheet, and we now have an accurate list of all the books. The crew also donated shelf-identifier tags, additional bookends, and shelving for the atlases. In October, they also spent several days incorporating the fifty books from the Herb Fry bequest into the collection.

In April of 2019, we held our first open house, inviting the Berwyn Fire Company to visit and see our facility and special displays of archival materials relating to Berwyn. The Fire Company visitors enjoyed the exhibits and chatted with several officers about the club and local history. After the open house, Fire Chief Eamon Brazunas invited us to visit their firehouse where he gave a guided tour of all the historic photographs and memorabilia displayed there.

In other news: a nice new entry door with keypad security lock was installed in summer 2018 by Society president John Senior and his brother-in-law Steve Bonetti, and we received a nicely rehabilitated desk from Larry De Young, as well as a copier-printer from Stanley Lieberman. Our board meetings now take place in a comfortable and enjoyable space.

– Cheryl Leibold


April 2018

The winter and spring of 2018 have brought a huge and much needed change to the Archives and Special Collections of the TEHS. We have been able to move our collections out of the relatively small public storage locker, and into a true office space in Berwyn. Thanks to the generosity of Eadeh Enterprises we are now in a large, properly heated and air-conditioned space. We have good light, space to expand, work space to facilitate new projects, and last but not least, a sink and a toilet. More information about Eadeh Enterprises and their assistance in finding this new space for the TEHS will appear in a future issue of the History Quarterly.

We are thrilled have a space where volunteers can work on projects such as inventorying our library books and our map collection, as well as for our board meetings. Back issues of the History Quarterly can be stored in a more accessible way, and the archivist now has at least a table for a desk, and closely adjacent area for supplies and files. We will soon install a monitored security/fire alarm system, and a new door. A series of open houses are being planned so that members, guests, and the local fire and police departments can see our new space and a sampling of our collections.

– Cheryl Leibold


January 2016

Photograph Collection: Recent work at the TEHS Archives has resulted in the organization of the Society's important records, and the re-housing of the Society's photograph collection in protective boxes. The photograph collection resides in a series of ring binders. To protect these albums from damage via accidental release of sprinkler-system water at our Public Storage facility, each album was placed in a protective box. This also provides level (as opposed to vertical) positioning, the optimum method for the long term storage of photographs.

Society Records: The official records of the TEHS, such as minutes, annual reports, correspondence, and printed matter, have been organized and placed in archival folders and boxes. The minutes are complete right back to the fall of 1936, and form a very comprehensive record of the Society's history. (Several authors have relied on these detailed minutes for History Quarterly articles on the history of the Society. See Vol. 13, no. 4, October 1965, and Vol. 44, no. 4, Fall 2007.) The material also yielded a second album of photographs of club trips to various historical sites in the 1930s and the 1950s. This project also provided an opportunity to compile a list of meeting speakers or programs for the years 1990 to 2006, enlarging the list that appears on this website.

Exhibits: Two years ago The Tredyffrin Public Library reorganized their Local History Room, and the room now features a display case where our Society will mount small exhibits. Topics presented in 2014 and 2015 were T-E High Yearbooks, The Devon Horse Show, Chesterbrook Farm, The Daniel S. Newhall House, and currently on view: The Old Eagle School.

Donations: The Archives and Special Collection s was the recipient of many donations in 2015. As in the past, a talk and subsequent Quarterly article will be prepared describing these donations. The TEHS welcomes gifts of historical materials relating to Tredyffrin or Easttown townships, such as scrapbooks, photographs, diaries or memorabilia.

Please see the TEHS Collecting Policy for details about what types of materials are accepted as donations to the Society archives.

– Cheryl Leibold


October 2014

The Society's archival and research collections have now been organized and housed in acid-free containers, assuring safe storage for the long term. This concludes the first part of our project to improve the accessibility of our research collection. In phase two we will complete a catalogue of the collection. This document will describe our holdings, as well as facilitate research, and prompt additional gifts to the collection. It is expected to be available as a PDF file on the website in 2015.

The other noteworthy event for the TEHS Archives and Special Collections is the arrival of several shipments of historical material from the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair ("DHSCF"). In collaboration with TEHS, DHSCF has embarked on a program to locate and secure its historical records and artifacts, and as part of the collaboration, TEHS will house and catalogue these items. The DHSCF collection includes photographs, printed matter, artifacts and other materials, and more are added every few months. To date the TEHS houses about ten boxes and a four-drawer file cabinet of material and a preliminary list has been made. Many of the DHSCF items were featured in an exhibition at the Chester County Historical Society in October of 2013, and some were again on view at the Show in May 2014. In addition, the TEHS has issued a publication entitled Rediscovering Devon chronicling the history of the DHSCF, and heavily illustrated with archival photographs from the collection. It can be purchased at Society events and through the DHSCF website. (For more information, click on the Rediscovering Devon link on the Home page of this website.)

An annual article in the History Quarterly will describe each year's new acquisitions. See Vol. 50, No. 4 (December 2013) and Vol. 51, No. 2 (July 2014) for the first two of these articles.

The TEHS welcomes donations of historical materials relating to Tredyffrin or Easttown townships, such as scrapbooks, photographs, diaries or memorabilia. Please see the TEHS Collecting Policy for details about what types of materials are accepted as donations to the Society archives.

– Cheryl Leibold


January 2012

The archives volunteers have been busy improving the housing of the Society's collections, as well commencing a catalogue of what we have. Our volunteers at the moment are Michael Morrison, Rick Belber, Bill Keltz, and Cheryl Leibold.

Starting with the library, the Society's books have been inventoried by Michael Morrison, and stored in a custom designed bookcase made by Rick Belber. With the books stored this way, our heavy-duty deep shelving can be fully utilized for the rest of the collection. Other storage improvements have included discarding two old file cabinets, and adding a new one. We also have a laptop computer and custom built desk, both donated by Rick Belber.

Cheryl has been investigating the contents of all the various file cabinet drawers and other containers. She has found artifacts, pamphlets, deeds, ledgers, photographs, printed items and manuscripts. Much of this material has been re-housed into appropriate archival boxes. And the massive file of newspaper clippings is being re-foldered and neatly identified by Bill Keltz.

One drawer contained printed matter and trustees' correspondence from the Old Eagle School Trustees Committee. In the 1890s a group of local citizens formed a preservation committee to care for the property. They apparently donated these older records to the TEHS in the mid-twentieth century. The site was originally a place of worship for early German settlers in this area and several articles about the Old Eagle School have appeared in our Society's Quarterly. One of the printed items is a pamphlet titled with the quaint expression The Evolution of A German Cradle, 1767-1903, Being A Historical Account of the Old Eagle School in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The word cradle is used in the context of an early settlement for the German immigrants. The booklet contains a list of German residents prior to 1788, a list of burials at the property, 1767-1895; and the Treasurer's Report for 1895-1903.

Another drawer revealed a collection of early printed matter from the Tredyffrin and Easttown Township Schools, ranging from 1892 to the 1940s. The townships of Tredyffrin and Easttown combined their schools into one district in 1908. The grammar schools retained the names Easttown Grammar and Tredyffrin Grammar, while the high school got the name Tredyffrin Easttown Joint High School. There are dozens of commencement programs illustrating how graduation ceremonies of the day featured many musical interludes, prayers, dramatic readings, and addresses. The program for Class Day Frivolities of 1909 relates to a theatrical performance of parodies of Shakespeare. The Class Day programs vary widely, but all relate to a lighthearted day of fun on the day before commencement. There are two yearbooks. The 1934 book includes photographs of three student bands.

The TE School District's large collection of printed matter and historical materials is currently in storage, and not catalogued. If anyone comes across older materials from their high school days, we would accept such items for the Society s collection.

– Cheryl Leibold


February 2011

Since the move of the collection into the new storage space, the archives committee volunteers have been busy with various projects. One project has been to re-house the back issues of the Quarterly into ten acid-free storage cartons. Another initiative has been the re-housing of materials in the first shipment of Devon Horse Show materials, and to begin a preliminary inventory of this collection.

One of the collection’s oldest treasures, the 1863 Civil War letter written by William D. Christman, has been re-housed and transcribed into the computer. Bill Spofford has done some preliminary research on the sender of the letter, but we know nothing of the recipient, addressed only as “Dear Sister.” Does anyone in the Society have information on how and when this item came into the collection?

The lack of provenance information highlights the importance of recording each new addition, and to this end an Accession Log has been started to number each new gift, and record donor information. Other forms and policies have been written, including a photographic permission form, and a Collecting Policy which specifies what we collect and what we do not.

Members will begin to see the archives referred to as the “Archives and Special Collections,” an expanded name which expresses the dual purpose of the repository: to house the records created by the Society itself, as well as all accumulated materials created by non-Society parties.

The Public Storage locker is working fairly well as a work area, but there a few items the archives volunteers could use. Does anyone have any of the following to donate:

  • Four-drawer file cabinet in operating condition
  • Sturdy stepladder of at least two steps
  • Slotted and/or Phillips screwdriver
  • Regular and/or needle nose pliers
  • Small toolbox
  • Heavy duty Scotch-tape dispenser
  • Staple remover
  • Rolls of blue painter’s tape
  • Post-it notes
  • Sturdy card table.

Send us an email to arrange pick up, or bring items to the next meeting.

– Michael Morrison


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Additional resources related to the Archives are available online.


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Downloadable PDF versions of the following documents are available here:

To view the PDF files you need a viewer application compatible with PDF version 1.6 or above such as Acrobat Reader v8 or greater. The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader can be obtained free of charge here:

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Collecting Policy

The Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society (TEHS) is the oldest community organization in the Upper Main Line area of the Philadelphia suburbs. The Society was established in 1936 as the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club. The current name of the organization was adopted in 2005.

The primary mission of the society’s Archives and Special Collections division is to collect and preserve historical resources pertaining, but not limited to, the Upper Main Line townships of Tredyffrin and Easttown within eastern Chester County in Pennsylvania.

The Society collects within these guidelines:

1. Records in all formats generated by the Society itself in the course of its business and activities. These are housed in the Archives.

2. Non-Society generated records relating to the history of the townships of Tredyffrin and Easttown in eastern Chester County, Pennsylvania. This material is the primary focus of the Special Collections division.

3. Selected non-Society generated records which document the history of adjacent regions, such as western Chester County, or parts of Montgomery County, when such items are deemed relevant to the society’s mission.

4. Donated items must be clearly designated as either a permanent non-revocable gift, or a long-term loan, with appropriate written agreements signed by both parties. In the case of a valuable gift, donors may be asked to show clear title to that gift.

5. If a donor wishes a monetary evaluation of a gift, such an appraisal will be at the expense of the donor. T he TEHS cannot perform appraisals.

The Society does NOT collect:

1. Materials relating to areas outside of southeastern Pennsylvania.

2. Fine or decorative art, unless relevant to the history of Tredyffrin and Easttown townships. Works of art may be accepted with the stipulation that said works may be sold to provide funds for the Archives and Special Collections. Such a sale must be agreed to in writing by the donor.

3. Materials that are duplicates of objects already in the collection, unless intended for sale. Society staff can advise prospective donors with regard to locating an appropriate repository for redundant items.

4. Items that fall into the following categories: published materials that are easily available in local libraries; facsimiles of historical documents; original documents created by a governmental body; taxidermy; human remains; or materials that fall outside the parameters described above.

5. Three-dimensional artifacts that are deemed too large for the TEHS storage capabilities. In this case a more appropriate repository may be suggested.

6. Items that are in extremely fragile, soiled or deteriorated condition, unless the donor agrees to assist with conservation costs.


Items are removed from the collection by means of sale, exchange, donation, or witnessed destruction. Preference is given to a removal method that benefits another collecting institution, represents the intent of the acquisition, and provides that a removed item remains accessible to the public.


Page last updated: 2023-10-10 at 20:34 EDT
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