The Archdiocese of Philadelphia records include the extant official correspondence of all of the bishops and archbishops of Philadelphia up to the present. The bishops’ collections are rather small up to the episcopacy of Dennis Cardinal Dougherty (1918-1951), when the volume of his and subsequent collections increases significantly. Post-1920 materials are closed to researchers except by permission. Most of the bishops’ papers can be searched through online finding aids.
Most of the manuscript collections of the American Catholic Historical Society (ACHS), which include the papers of prominent Catholic clergy, laity, and institutions as well as papers that document historic events, have finding aids or box lists which may be consulted by visiting the Archives. Staff are currently working to create online finding aids. All of these collections are open to researchers.
Some smaller collections, including the Fenian Brotherhood papers and materials relating to the Molly Maguires and the Nativist Riots of 1844, have been digitized as part of the Digital Library @ Villanova University project. PAHRC materials at Villanova’s digitalLIBRARY can be found here.