Our Documentary Heritage

Our Documentary Heritage includes images of historical documents, narratives placing them in a regional, state or national context, and, where appropriate, transcriptions of each record as well as helpful links for further research.

Documentary Heritage:

  • Provides a sampling of government archives and historical manuscripts in the custody of the Pennsylvania State Archives.
  • Presented in time line order, the documents are among the 300 million letters, reports, photographs, maps, and other records generally available for public use at the Archives search room in Harrisburg.
  • Dating back to 1681, they provide an important window to past events and to the people who lived in Pennsylvania.

The records featured in Our Documentary Heritage bear witness to the unique role Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians have played in the history of our nation. Because historical records speak to researchers with the actual words of numerous authors who were often eyewitnesses to an event, they provide us with our most valuable window to the past.

Our Documentary Heritage is designed to facilitate the mission of the State Archives by increasing public access to the holdings of the Archives and to meet PHMC strategic goals to build agency visibility and develop educational programs that engage a wide range of researchers in a creative manner.


Documents from 1681 - 1776, Colonial Days

Documents from 1776 - 1865, Revolution to Civil War

Documents from 1865 - 1945, Industrial Ascendancy

Documents from 1946 - Present, Modern Era