Collection from the Sesquicentennial Exposition of 1926 Added to

Liberty Bell, Entrance Gate (1925 or 1926). is proud to announce the addition of a new collection of photographs depicting the Sesquicentennial Exposition! In 1926, Philadelphia celebrated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence by hosting a six-month long world's fair known as the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition. Featuring a newly constructed stadium, a re-creation of a Philadelphia street in 1776, an 80-foot tall reproduction of the Liberty Bell covered in 26,000 lights, and exhibits from around the world, the Sesquicentennial was visited by over 6,400,000 people from its opening on May 31, 1926 until its closing on November 30, 1926. Although various issues including poor weather, lower than expected attendance, and high construction costs prevented the Sesquicentennial from being a financial success, the events of the Exposition and the visitors it brought to Philadelphia are a truly significant part of the City's history.

The Philadelphia City Archives hold a collection of photographic prints taken before and during the Sesquicentennial. For decades, these prints remained pasted into large scrapbooks where they faced deterioration due to acidic paper and chemicals in the scrapbook glue. Several years ago, archivists carefully removed the prints from the scrapbooks and placed them into archival quality enclosures and boxes. The process of preserving these beautiful images now continues as they are digitized and made available on for the world to see, sometimes for the first time ever. We are excited to have already scanned 2,300 Sesquicentennial images. To find them on, select the 'DOR Archives - Sesquicentennial' collection under the'Collections' pull down menu. Visit often as new photos are added each week!

Entrance Gates with Crowds, June 27, 1926.

If you want to see President Calvin Coolidge addressing the crowd, the Treasure Island amusement, or the 1926 version of a party car, head over to to browse the brand new Sesquicentennial photograph collection. Have fun checking out how Philadelphia throws a 150th birthday party!


Images scanned in the last 3 months

Total maps and photos scanned and available online

Unique Visitors in the last 3 months

The Philadelphia City Archives are one of the country's largest municipal archives, with an estimated 2 million photographs that date from the late 1800’s. These gorgeous pictures paint a stunning portrait of Philadelphia and its industry, architecture, culture and people.

NewAddictive PhillyHistory Features

Another newsletter and another batch of new features. We love keeping you addicted to!

At PhillyHistory, we love maps! Who doesn't like to see exactly where a specific photo was taken? Now we've added a map to the 'Add to Favorites' feature so that you can see exactly where the photos you added in your 'Favorites' are located in Philadelphia. If you have a account, just click on the 'Add to Favorites' button located in the detail view of each photo to add it to list of your list of favorite photographs.

With photos of everything from an 80-foot tall Liberty Bell to a rodeo, the Sesquicentennial collection shows a very unique part of Philly's history. Now the photos from the Sesquicentennial are easy to locate. Simply click on the 'Collections' pull down menu and uncheck all the boxes except the one for DOR Archives- Sesquicentennial. Then hit search and enjoy the photos!

We love making the search options on as helpful as possible. If you've just performed a particular search, you may want to remember that search in the future or even copy those search parameters to send to a friend. Now both options are easy to do using the new 'Recent Searches' menu. Click on 'Recent Searches', located right above the photo thumbnails, to perform a recent search again or copy that search information. Just one more way to find the perfect photograph on!

For those of you who have been using these features, we’d love to hear how they have improved your experience on and if you have any suggestions for future changes. Let us know at

This message was sent to you as an enrolled user of, the City of Philadelphia Department of Records web-based photographic collection. To subscribe to this list, e-mail with the subject 'subscribe' Collaborates with EveryBlock to Make its Collection Even More Widely Accessible

Thanks to a new partnership with there is yet another way to find and enjoy the amazing historic photographs on was launched last year with support from a grant from the Knight Foundation. The site filters an assortment of local news by location so you can keep track of what’s happening on your block, in your neighborhood and all over your city. The site is currently available in 9 U.S. cities. The Philadelphia version, EveryBlock Philadelphia provides a huge array of civic information on Philly including newspaper articles, crime reports, restaurant inspections, event calendars and Craigslist postings. Much like, EveryBlock's online application enables you to enter an address or neighborhood to find specific recent news for that part of Philadelphia. It's a great way to know exactly what's going on in your part of the city.

Recognizing that the history of a city can be just as interesting as present-day information, EveryBlock has worked with to include historic images of Philadelphia on their website. Located under the "Historical images" menu, these photos from are fully searchable by zip code, city council district, and various other categories. If you want to find out more about an image, just click on the thumbnail of the photo to head over to and learn more about the photographic history of the city.

The Philadelphia Department of Records Is Awarded a Prestigious Grant from NEH and IMLS for is excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the City of Philadelphia, Department of Records a grant in August 2008 as part of the Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership grant program. In collaboration with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Department of Records will use the $108,882 grant over the next two years to make historically significant collections from the Free Library available on, further develop the website and provide geospatial data back to the Free Library. The Philadelphia Department of Records is one of only four recipients nationally to receive this grant in 2008.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places.

A huge thank you to NEH and IMLS for helping us with the work of digitizing Philadelphia's past! Check back to often as we add new images and continue to preserve the visual history of the City one photograph at a time.

Interact with's Collection! Do You See an Error? Submit an Error Report in Just a Few Clicks

We'd love to think that the information associated with each photograph in the database is perfect. However, we have to admit that occasionally the data we have just doesn't seem to match the subject of the photograph. Whether it is an address that looks a bit off or a date that does not make sense with the year of the car in the photo, we sometimes need assistance to make sure is as accurate as possible.

How do the errors get in the system in the first place? Sometimes it's simply a lack of data. A negative's envelope may be labeled "Various Houses on Pine Street" but not list individual addresses. Other photos might all be listed as taken at the intersection of 8th Street and Fairmount Avenue when actually the photographer took the first photo there but then proceeded to take additional photos in the surrounding blocks.

For example, the above photograph is of the 400 and 500 Blocks of N. Franklin Street. Unfortunately, this is all the information we have.

Whatever the reason, the best way to make the website as accurate as possible is to use the incredible knowledge of PhillyHistory users! Residents of neighborhoods all over Philadelphia and from towns across the country visit on a daily basis. If you are one of those visitors and you see an error, let us know! Just click on the 'See an Error? Submit an Error Report' button located above each photograph to send a message straight to the PhillyHistory staff working at the archives. Together, we can make sure that these photographs provide everyone with a helpful history of Philadelphia.

And remember... as a user with an account, you can also share's images with friends, purchase copies, add them to your list of "favorites", and create bookmarked searches that get updated each time a new image is added within your search criteria.


Your Neighborhood in Photographs:
Packer Park

When Sesquicentennial organizers chose to build the Exposition grounds near the Navy Yard and League Island Park (now FDR Park), they brought attention to an area of South Philly that had not yet been fully developed into residential housing. In the following decades, housing construction in this area would dramatically increase. This month's "Your Neighborhood in Photographs" highlights Packer Park, a neighborhood that was the location of the Sesquicentennial celebration 82 years ago.

Packer Park

Northeast Corner of Broad and Geary Streets, 1952. N.H.L. of Geary Street and E.H.L. of Broad Street, 1953.

Have a Question or a Comment?

With over 71,282 photographs and maps, dozens of blog entries, an entire Fine Art Collection, and a website full of special features, contains a wealth of information. Now we're looking for some information from you! Do you have a question about a certain photograph? Are you wondering about how we geocode or map the location of certain photos? Are you curious about information in a blog entry? Do you have the perfect suggestion for a new feature? Or do you just want to make a comment? Let us know! As we continuously revise, expand, and add more photographs to the website, we want to ensure that remains a location where people find the answers to their inquiries, the solutions to their history mysteries, and the perfect refresher for their memories. We welcome your questions and comments at all times. So when you get a chance, send us an e-mail at, introduce yourself, and tell us what YOU would like to know!

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