week, something fun is happening at the German Society of Pennsylvania.
Lectures, Panel Discussions,
German soccer broadcasts,
fill our home on Spring
Garden Street in Philadelphia.
The Joseph P. Horner Memorial
Library is both a
lending library and a research facility, housed in an original 1888
reading room built for that purpose and recently restored by the
Society. The library houses more than 60,000 volumes,
three-quarters are in German. It is considered the
private collection of German books in the United States
Horner Library and Reading Room
Hours of Operation
Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:00am - 4:00pm
our Librarian is engaged with school groups or meetings, so we strongly
encourage you to email or call
ahead before stopping
like to visit the Library or have an inquiry about our collections,
please email librarian at germansociety dot org.
to storage space limitations and the time and resources required for
cataloging, the Horner Library does not actively solicit book
The library reserves the right to sell or give away any book donations
is unable to add to its collections.
Society members can borrow books, audio
cassette tapes, and videos from a portion of the Library's holdings.
The lending library comprises books in the GSP main collection
published after 1917, including a large variety of German fiction
non-fiction. Items may be borrowed for a period of four weeks,
with the possibility of renewal.
Lending library books are not recorded in our online catalog but are
searchable in the paper catalog on the premises.
While many of the Library's older books, particularly those published
before 1918, no longer circulate, visitors may access them on-site with
the assistance of Society personnel.
Research Library and German-American Archive
Many of the
Library's older books,
for the Lending Library, have become valuable to scholars.
Some books are no longer found elsewhere, while a larger
are now found in only a handful of libraries around the world.
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, now a part of the
city of Philadelphia.
Today the archive is known as the German American Collection. It
includes approximately 10,000 books and pamphlets, and 75 linear feet
of manuscript collections pertaining to German-American history and
culture. The records of the German Society itself comprise about
40% of 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.
The following guide provides an overview of the library's
collections, and can be downloaded here in pdf format: The German Society of Pennsylvania: A Guide
to its Book and Manuscript Collections, by Kevin Ostoyich
(Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 2006; Reference Guide
The Library houses
an extensive collection of German-American
newspapers and periodicals; many of these holdings are described in the
above Guide. Some mid 19th to early 20th century newspapers,
especially those published in Philadelphia, are available on microfilm.
Please click here for an
inventory of microfilm holdings as a pdf file.
Researchers wishing to use the Archives may also do so by
emailing the Librarian at librarian at germansociety dot org.
The Library does not specialize in genealogical
materials. However, some of its holdings may be useful to
genealogical researchers. Advice on available resources, and tips
for searching in the online catalog, are contained in the following
handout as a pdf file. Genealogical Resources at the Horner Library
We also encourage you to contact the Genealogical Society of
Pennsylvania, as well as other Philadelphia libraries and archives for
your research. Please view a pdf summarizing Genealogical Resources
Society of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123