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Library and Archives

Archive Collections

The archival holdings of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center contain the non-published records in the Center’s collection. It is large in volume, but concentrated in its scope and unique in the substance of material that relates to Schwenkfelder and Pennsylvania German culture. Bound and unbound manuscripts, correspondence, private and public records, deeds and land drafts, diaries, account books, doctoral theses, and photographs make up the majority of the holdings.

Sammelband Collection

The Sammelband collection consists of theological writings of Schwenckfeld and related Reformation topics. In addition, the collection of bound manuscripts copied by Schwenkfelders in Europe and America contain the works of Schwenckfeld, hymns, theological treatises, correspondence, scripture texts and commentaries. The vast majority is written in German script and has yet to be translated. A related group of books in the library, the Silesian Collection, is the resource used by scholars during the compilation of the Corpus Schwenkfeldianorum.

Print Collection

The archives are home to an excellent collection of Pennsylvania German printed matter, including broadsides and popular verse. The print collection features a small but significant collection of 16th and 17th century copperplate engravings and 19th century American prints published for popular taste. Ephemera, including miscellaneous advertising, programs, and postcards of local interest, round out these collections.

Printed Fraktur, known as Geburts- und Taufscheine, are housed in the archives. Many of these records were collected from areas outside of the Perkiomen region, and are useful to anyone (especially genealogists) doing research in the broader southeastern Pennsylvania region.


The collection of over 2000 photographs, including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, ferrotypes, paper-based images and photograph albums illustrates Schwenkfelder and local history from the mid-19th century to the present. The highlight of the photographic holdings is most certainly the H. Winslow Fegley collection. Fegley, a professional photographer, recorded views of rural Pennsylvania life in the early 20th century. These images are among the best existing depictions of rural work, trades, and society in a vanishing way of life.

Account Books and Diaries

The account book collection is an excellent social historical resource from the 18th to 20th centuries. This collection traces the commercial and professional history of the Schwenkfelders and the region. A sortable database by year, town, surname, and occupation makes these records particularly accessible to researchers. Diaries, such as the recently microfilmed Bechtel notebooks, are useful to genealogists and local history researchers.

Deed and Land Drafts

The deed and land draft collection contains over 4000 original documents from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Property in and nearby the Perkiomen region is documented by this collection. The deeds are indexed by township, and within the township by grantee. All surnames appearing on the deeds are listed on their index sheets. Land drafts are indexed by township, and copies are provided for researchers to allow access while preserving originals.

Other Collections

The Heritage Center’s scrapbooks contain correspondence, news clippings, ephemera, and snapshots. Over 500 volumes of letters, sermons, apologetics, commentaries, personal records, wills, indentures, and military records are organized by subject. The church record holdings include minutes, financial records, pastors’ records, and others from the Schwenkfelder churches and others within the region. The Heritage Center’s excellent collection of local school records documents the history of parochial and public education and the growth of the Perkiomen School.

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