PastPerfect Online Catalog

We are currently working to make a significant portion of our Archives and Library collections available through our online catalog. The catalog currently contains information about manuscript collections, books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, institutions, associations, parish history materials, and graphic materials. A few of the manuscript collection records have links to full finding aids.

Please note that our Photograph collection is currently not available online. If there is something that you would like to have researched, please contact us at, or call 610-667-2125.

HOW TO SEARCH THE CATALOG: The online catalog includes keyword and advanced search options. The latter allows the user to search multiple fields simultaneously so he or she can enter title and author information, for example. PastPerfect Online also provides users the option to browse PAHRC’s materials by using “Click and search.” Each of these features is described more fully in the Help section of the catalog.

Keyword Search

Users can enter one or more keywords or phrases. Use quotes to search phrases. The search engine automatically adds “and” between search terms. So, the search “African American Catholics”  newspapers, finds all records containing both.

Users can use PastPerfect Online’s browse feature (see below) to see how terms or phrases should be entered.

Browse feature

The “Click and search” option is helpful to see what authors/creators, titles, and types of collections we have. Most importantly, it allows users the ability to view the various subjects our materials cover, such as black Catholics, women, parish history, Irish Americans, and social issues to name a few. Users can use this browse feature to see how to enter subject terms into the Subject field on the Advanced search page.

Advanced search option

To search within a specific collection of published materials (i.e. non-manuscript collections), such as newspapers and periodicals, users should use the Advanced Search option. Once you’re on the Advanced search page, check Library under Content to search and enter the exact collection name in the Collection field.

To do a more specific search, for example, if you want to see what newspapers PAHRC has between the years 1830 to 1880, enter “Newspapers” in the Collection field, and enter “1830” in the Start date field and “1880” in the End date field.

As another example, if you’d like to see what Catholic institutions in New York PAHRC has materials for, enter “Institutions” in the Collection field and “New York” in the Subjects field.

Users can search within the following collections (again, remember to type in the name exactly):

Parish History
Parish Calendar

Users can also browse one of the above mentioned collections by using the “Click and search” option.