Research Resources: Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ Directories and Resources

Philadelphia

Second only to New York as an important city in the history of US steel pens, Philadelphia resources come from a wide range of sources.

One of the more interesting sources is the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network.  The purpose of the network is to provide the geographical material used in the study of Philadelphia’s history.

These resources include city directories, maps, site surveys, property atlases, etc…

There’s a Resource Browser which has links to various resources from many sources. These include:

  • Aerial Photographs
  • City Directories
  • General Atlas and Directory Maps
  • Historical Divisions and Boundaries
  • Hydrography / Water / Sewer
  • Industrial Site Surveys
  • Land Use / Zoning / Development
  • Neighborhood and Redlining
  • Property Maps / Atlases
  • Property Plans
  • State Maps
  • Street Maps
  • Street Surveys / Plans
  • Topographical Maps
  • Transportation / Railroad Maps

One of the cool tools is the Interactive Maps Viewer which allows you to find a street on a modern map and then overlay historic maps from a list.

As for City Directories, here are the ones I’ve found, including the ones in the Resource Browser mentioned above.

City Directories

There are several sources for city directories, or city-directory-like books.

“City Directory”  or “City Directory and Stranger’s Guide” means that it is a city directory found on archive.org

“Athenaeum” means that it’s a city directory found on the Philadelphia Athenaeum site. These directories show each page individually and are not searchable. it’s a little hard to get around, and takes some figuring out, but sometimes these are the only options.

“Ancestry.com” means that the directory is available on the paid ancestry.com site, but you do need a paid membership to search. Some libraries have ancestry.com memberships that allow you to search, but not save. Check with your friendly, local, librarian.

There are some other, random sources like a city guide or a guide to merchants, or a street directory (which only lists streets and where they cross, etc..). These can be useful depending on what you’re looking for.

NB: the year on the directory may be 1835, for example, but because the information was gathered in 1834, I mark that directory 1834/35.

Year Source
1784/85 City Directory
1785/86
1786/87
1787/88
1788/89
1789/90
1790/91 Philadelphia and her merchants from 70 years ago (1860)

City Directory

1791/92
1792/93 City Directory
1793/94 City Directory
1794/95 City Directory
1795/96 City Directory
1796/97 City Directory
1797/98 City Directory
1798/99 City Directory
1799/00 City Directory
1800/01 City Directory
1801/02 City Directory
1802/03 City Directory
1803/04 City Directory
1804/05 City Directory
1805/06 City Directory
1806/07 City Directory
1807/08 City Directory
1808/09 City Directory
1809/10 City Directory
1810/11 City Census Directory
1811/12
1812/13 City Directory
1813/14 City Directory
1814/15
1815/16 City Directory
1816/17 City Directory
1817/18 City Directory
1818/19 City Directory
1819/20 City Directory
1820/21 City Directory
1821/22 City Directory
1822/23 City Directory
1823/24 City Directory
1824/25 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1825/26
1826/27
1827/28 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1828/29 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1829/30 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1830/31 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1831/32
1832/33 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide:

City Guide

1833/34 City Guide
1834/35
1835/36 City Directory and Stranger’s Guide
1836/37 City Directory
1837/38
1838/39 City Directory
1839/40 City Directory
1840/41 City Directory
1841/42 City Directory
1842/43 City Directory

Merchants Directory

1843/44 City Directory
1844/45 City Directory
1845/46 City Directory
1846/47 City Directory
1847/48 City Directory
1848/49 City Directory
1849/50 City Directory
1850/51 City Directory
1851/52 City Directory
1852/53 City Directory
1853/54 City Directory
1854/55 City Directory
1855/56/ Athenaeum;

City Directory

1856/57 Athenaeum;

City Directory

1857/58 1857: Philadelphia and her manufacturers

Athenaeum

City Directory

1858/59 City Directory
1859/60 City Directory
1860/61 Athenaeum, Search Athenaeum

City Directory, Boyd’s City Directory

1861/62 City Directory , Ancestry.com
1862/63 City Directory , Ancestry.com
1863/64 City Directory , Ancestry.com
1864/65 City Directory , Ancestry.com
1865/66 Athenaeum

City Directory,

Ancestry.com

1866/67 City Directory,

Ancestry.com

1867/68 1867: Philadelphia and her manufacturers

City Directory,

Ancestry.com

1868/69
1869/70 Ancestry.com
1870/71 Ancestry.com
1871/72 Ancestry.com
1872/73 Ancestry.com
1873/74 Ancestry.com
1874/75 Ancestry.com
1875/76 Ancestry.com
1876/77 Ancestry.com
1877/78 Ancestry.com
1878/79 Ancestry.com
1879/80 Ancestry.com
1880/81 Ancestry.com
1881/82 Ancestry.com
1882/83 Ancestry.com
1883/84 Street directory

Ancestry.com

1884/84 Ancestry.com
1885/85 Ancestry.com
1886/87 Ancestry.com,

Hathi Trust

1887/88 Ancestry.com
1888/89 Ancestry.com
1889/90 Street Directory

Ancestry.com

1890/91 Street Directory

Ancestry.com

1891/92 Ancestry.com
1892/93 Ancestry.com
1893/94 Ancestry.com
1894/95 Boyd’s Co-partnership Directory

Ancestry.com

1895/96 Ancestry.com
1896/97 Ancestry.com,

Boyd’s Co-partnership Directory

1897/98 Ancestry.com,

Boyd’s Co-partnership Directory

1898/99 Ancestry.com,

Boyd’s Co-partnership Directory

1899/00 Ancestry.com,

Boyd’s Co-Partnership Directory

1900/01 Ancestry.com
1901/02 Ancestry.com
1902/03 Ancestry.com
1903/04 Ancestry.com,

Boyd’s Co-Partnership Directory

1904/05 Ancestry.com
1905/06 Ancestry.com
1906/07 Ancestry.com
1907/08 Ancestry.com
1908/09 Ancestry.com
1909/10 Ancestry.com
1910/11 Ancestry.com
1911/12 Ancestry.com
1912/13 Ancestry.com
1913/14 Ancestry.com
1914/15 Ancestry.com
1915/16 Ancestry.com
1916/17 Ancestry.com
1917/18 Ancestry.com
1918/19 Ancestry.com
1919/20
1920/21 Ancestry.com
1921/22 Ancestry.com
1922/23 Ancestry.com
1923/24 Ancestry.com
1924/25 Ancestry.com
1925/26
1926/27
1927/28
1928/29
1929/30 Ancestry.com
1930/31
1931/32
1932/33
1933/34
1934/35 Ancestry.com
1935/36
1936/37
1937/38
1938/39
1939/40
1940/41

 

 

Camden, NJ.

Camden is just across the river from Philadelphia, and is also quite important in the history of the steel pen as the site of the manufacturing facilities for both Esterbrook, and then later, Hunt Pens.

I have found a set of Camden Directories in Ancestry.com, if you have a subscription, starting with 1863. If I find any outside of Ancestry, I’ll post them.

One very interesting site for information on early Camden is a set of Sanborn Maps hosted by Princeton University. These were used by insurance companies and showed detailed building descriptions and plots for important buildings. Here’s a very interesting view of the Esterbrook factory on Cooper St. in 1885.

Sanborn map of 1885 Esterbrook Factory in Camden

The most complete years for these maps is for 1885, 1891 and 1906.

General

For those who are interested in the old city directories, I found an interesting resource. It’s a book from 1919 on “The development and growth of city directories.”

Or there is a directory of directories from 1916.