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Doylestown Historical Society local history collection

1832-2009, 18 linear feet


This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Doylestown Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Doylestown Historical Society
Doylestown Historical Society (Doylestown, Pa.)
Doylestown Historical Society local history collection
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
18 Linear feet
The area now known as Doylestown (Bucks County, Pennsylvania) was given to Edward Doyle as a land grant from William Penn in 1692. Doylestown became the county seat of Bucks County in 1812, and the area flourished when a railroad line was completed between Doylestown and Philadelphia in 1856. Doylestown's historic downtown began to deteriorate in the early 1960s, but the town was revitalized in part due to an architectural preservation movement. The Doylestown Historical Society local history collection, 1832-2009, consists of manuscripts, such as organizational records, ledgers, photographs, ephemera, genealogy records, maps, and blueprints, that document various Doylestown individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.
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Doylestown is the county seat of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Founded in the mid 18th century, it became the county seat in 1813 and was formally incorporated as a borough in 1838.

"Doylestown is named after the Doyle family. The Doyle family originally came from France (the name was D'Ouilli), but moved to Ireland during the Inquisition. Circa 1600 the name was changed to D'Oyley and later was changed again to Doyle. Edward Doyle sailed to America in 1640 and lived for a time in Rhode Island until he moved to Bucks County upon receiving a land grant from William Penn in 1692. He died in 1703. Edward Doyle's children remained in Bucks County and settled in the area of Doylestown. In 1730, Edward Doyle Jr. (born 1690) bought 150 acres of land in what is now Doylestown, and further purchases were made by the Doyle family in 1737. The Doyles built an inn in 1745 and the town was known early on as "William Doyl's Tavern" and "Doyle's Town." In 1752, a second tavern was built, which still stands today (though now much modified). In 1776, the inn was sold by William Doyle (born in 1712, son of Edward Doyle, Jr.), who moved to Plumstead, Bucks County, where he died in 1780. After the sale of the tavern, the town became known by its present name. In 1778, George Washington and his Continental Army camped near Doylestown, on their way from Valley Forge to fight the British in New Jersey. In 1812, Doylestown became the County Seat of Bucks County.

"In 1856, a railroad line was completed between Doylestown and Philadelphia. The present train station dates from 1876. A trolley line was installed that ran to Trenton and Easton. The older part of town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."


Quoted text from: Ludwig, Ed. "Brief History of Doylestown." Accessed July 22, 2013.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of manuscripts that document various Doylestown individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. It includes the following:

  • Blain, Edward and Helen, printing press materials
  • Blanche Summers Burpee papers/Fordhook Farm summer work (1954-1955)/Burpee Playground records (1908-1942)
  • Boys Brigade records, 1954-1998
  • Brashears/Sharp families photographs, 1890s-circa 1960
  • Buckingham Township Planning Commission Records, 2001-2003
  • Bucks County Natural Science Association, 1906-1937
  • Bucks County political materials, 1948 and later
  • Bucks County tax maps, 1984
  • Carwithen, John, papers
  • Central Bucks Christian Council of Churches records, 1968-1998
  • Chipman, Eleanor, correspondence and papers
  • Collection on Pearl S. Buck
  • Doylestown Borough ephemera and checkbook (1842-1848)
  • Doylestown Cemetery burials and tombstone inscriptions, 1851-circa 2009
  • Doylestown Fair collection
  • Doylestown Grammar School
  • Doylestown Hospital Village Fair programs
  • Doylestown Intelligencer daybooks and ledgers, early 20th century
  • Doylestown Old Home Wook, 1912
  • Doylestown recycling collection, 1983-1984
  • Hayman Radcliff Motor Car Company records, early to mid 20th century
  • Heart of Bucks County car shows, 1977-2009
  • Lewis, Frank C. and Ruth E., photograph collection, 1911-circa 1966
  • Mercer family exhibit materials
  • Mercer Museum Folk Fest
  • Out of state census records and newspaper on microfiche and microfilm
  • Rutherford, Raymond, World War I collection, circa 1918
  • Smith, Pearl H. (1897-2005) photographs and VHS, 1908-2005
  • Village Improvement Association member booklets and Designer House booklets

Also included are maps, blueprints, oversize photos and other graphics with a few deeds, including one from 1832, stored in flat files. The following is a drawer-level inventory:

  • Maps and plans
  • Doylestown-General (buildings, posters, etc.)
  • Calendars; advertising
  • Schools
  • Ephemeral- general/miscellaneous
  • Famous people
  • Doylestown Historical Society
  • Political (Banners, posters)
  • Miscellaneous prints and art
  • Blueprints - Bucks County Library Center, Elfman's, Rudolph's, Doylestown Historical Society, Courthouse, others
  • Old local newspapers (19th and 20th century)
  • Military

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Doylestown Historical Society

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories


This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Access Restrictions

Contact Doylestown Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Materials collected from various sources over time by the Doylestown Historical Society.

Processing Information Note

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Doylestown Historical Society directly for more information.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)
  • Bucks County (Pa.)
  • Doylestown (Pa.)
  • Genealogy
  • Local history

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