While many of the Library's older books, particularly those published before 1960, no longer circulate, visitors may use them on-site with the assistance of the librarian. The Main Collection comprises most of the original library and is now a research library. Highlights of the collection include: 19th century fiction, history, biography, religion, travel writing, popular science, and children’s literature.
German American Collection
The German-American Archive, begun in 1867, holds a wealth of documents relating to German life in America, reaching back to the earliest German settlement in 1683 in Germantown, Pa. Today the Archive, renamed the German American Collection, includes approximately 10,000 books and pamphlets, and 200 linear feet of manuscript collections pertaining to German-American history and culture. The records of the German Society itself comprise about 50% of the manuscript holdings, including the minutes of membership and directors' meetings reaching all the way back to the founding; and the records of its agency, or Agentur, which coordinated the Society's charitable efforts on behalf of needy German immigrants. Please click here to learn more about manuscript collections.
Carl Schurz Collection
The National Carl Schurz Association was founded as the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation in New York in 1930, to foster German-American friendship and cultural exchange. The organization owned a considerable collection of German popular and educational literature and many volumes related to German and German-American relations and history. Upon its dissolution in the 1970s, the German Society of Pennsylvania received the manuscripts of
Konrad Nies, Kuno Francke, Rudolf Cronau and over 6000 books, pamphlets and periodicals.
Society members can borrow books from the lending library. The lending library is comprised of newer books in the GSP main collection, including a variety of German fiction and non-fiction, and includes over 1500 children’s books. Items may be borrowed for a period of four weeks, with the possibility of renewal.
PACSCL Finding Aids
About 70% of the library's manuscript holdings are represented in the online catalog, and more collections are continually being added. For a list of these records, search for: "subject" "begins with" "manuscripts". For many collections, finding aids are also available. For online versions of these finding aids, please visit the PACSCL Finding Aids site.
Researchers wishing to use the collections may do so by emailing the librarian.