The majority of the manuscript collections of the German Society of Pennsylvania document the rich and diverse history of German-American associational life. The German Society's own institutional records tell the story of the Society's charitable and cultural activities over a period of nearly two and a half centuries. Other manuscript collections include the records of a spectrum of other German-American organizations, especially in Pennsylvania, and concentrated in the period from the mid-19th through the early 20th century. Also represented are manuscript collections relating to both prominent and lesser-known German-American individuals, some of which include original writings and unpublished memoirs; correspondence; family documents; and scrapbooks of clippings and memorabilia.
About 60% 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 a full list of finding aids, please click here.
The German Society of Pennsylvania Agentur Records
Supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the German Society was able to produce a finding aid for its Agentur records, which was completed in June 2010. This collection consists of 72 volumes of handwritten ledgers, indexes, logs, reports, and letter books, spanning the years from 1847 to 1947, and recording the efforts of the Agentur to help needy German immigrants and Philadelphia residents of German origin. The records contain valuable biographical information for researchers interested in local history, social history, labor history, immigration history, and genealogy. Because the original organizational system had been lost, it was of special importance to recreate the association between the chronological log books and alphabetical indexes, in order to allow those interested in working with this source material to trace individual entries and take full advantage of the elaborate system of cross-referencing established by the creators of these records. Please click here to download the Agentur finding aid as a pdf file.