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Presbyterian Historical Society Library & Collections

A national center to collect and reflect on Presbyterianism


The Experience

The story of the Presbyterian Church unfolds the moment one steps off Lombard Street and enters the Alexander Mackie Exhibition Hall at the Presbyterian Historical Society. This part museum, part rare book library and part archives uses books, letters and other items to move us through time, to 1690 and back again.

The collections contain more than 200,000 rare books, nearly 20 million manuscripts and more than 13,000 church records. Portraits of key Presbyterian figures, by important Philadelphia artists Rembrandt Peale and John Neagle, are on view. So is a tall-case clock that once belonged to John Witherspoon, a prominent Presbyterian minister and the only cleric to sign the Declaration of Independence.


The Presbyterian Historical Society was founded in 1852 to “preserve and service materials relating to the history of the Presbyterian Church.” Today, it serves as the national archives and historical research center of the church. The society’s Lombard Street headquarters, opened in 1967, is located in the same neighborhood where Philadelphia’s Presbyterian congregation gathered in the 1690s.

Other Information

Open Mon – Fri Limited off-street parking is available through the entrance on Fifth Street.

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