Community Soundings: Recording History, Creating Community is a part of Lancaster County Historical Society’s initiative to actively preserve local twentieth-century history.  The interviews found here have all been conducted by local area high school students. After receiving training from the staff of the historical society, students went out into the community to interview their elders on a vast array of topics.  Community Soundings was sponsored in part by the Bickford Foundation and by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

The Lancaster County Historical Society has partnered with the Veterans History Project, an official project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. Created on October 27, 2000, the Veterans History Project recognized the importance of collecting the memories, accounts, and documents of America's war veterans and of those who served in support of them during wartime.

Collecting Oral Histories requires an extraordinary amount of labor.  For every hour of interview, up to ten hours are required to prepare questions, setup equipment, catalogue, digitize, and transcribe the interview.  This year we are fortunate enough to have two interns from Millersville University assisting us with the collection of Oral Histories.  You will be able to read about their experiences here.

Formed in 2004, the Lancaster County African American Veterans Project is a collaboration among the Crispus Attucks Community Center of Lancaster,, and the Lancaster African American Historical Society. Its mission is to honor and recognize the African American Veterans of Lancaster County. The AAVP currently is working on several projects:

  • Collecting the names, stories, and documentation of individual African American Veterans with a connection to Lancaster County.
  • Designing and constructing a memorial to honor all of Lancaster County's African American Veterans.
  • Honoring Lancaster County's African American Veterans through various community events.
  • Collaborating with the Lancaster County Veterans Administration to assist with their efforts in supporting Lancaster County's African American Veterans.
  • Collaborating with and the African American Historical Society of South-Central Pennsylvania in the collection of written and oral histories that narrate the story of Lancaster County's African American participation in the military.
  • Providing public access to the materials and resources collected by the Lancaster County African American Veterans Project.

The video below was produced for our 2006 Annual Celebration.  Oral Histories that have been collected as part of this project can be found on the list below the video


Manuscript Groups (MGs) are collections of materials which have a common theme or origin. They may be the records of a family, an individual, an organization, or a local business. Below is a list of collection titles. Each title links to a finding aid (the contents list) for the manuscript group. The titles are shown in alphabetical order, by surname when appropriate. Patrons may obtain copies while researching onsite or by request.

The following collections are now available for research:

These entertaining illustrated talks introduce your group to one unique aspect of Lancaster County history.  Contact Felice Ethun to schedule any of these presentations for your organization or event.

Duration of Programs: 40 to 60 minutes
Group size: 15-200
Cost: $60

Members: $20, Nonmembers: $25 unless otherwise noted.

Advance registration suggested: (717) 392-4633

Examine these documents, objects and images that help us tell the story of the African-American communities in Lancaster County.
regimagehome The National History Day national contest will be held on June 13-17, 2010. welcomes and encourages students to make use of our extensive resources while researching their projects.

Listed below are several suggested topics for this year's theme. Clicking on each theme will reveal a brief list of resources in our collections that students might find useful. Included are library resources, as well as manuscript groups (designated as "MG") from our archives.

This is only a partial list designed to get students started with their research, and we suggest you Search Our Collections for additional resources.

Check right here for recordings of the latest It Happened on the Square presentations!

It Happened on the Square, A partnership between and Fig Magazine, is a new series produced by throughout 2012 to promote the remarkable history of the heart of downtown Lancaster.

The most frequent questions asked of the curatorial department are "Who made this?" and "What can you tell me about them?"  Collected here our some short bios that have come about as a result of answering these questions.  If you are searching for some very basic information on a particular Lancaster craftsman, artist, or manufacturer but do not see the information on this list, please feel free to contact me with your inquiry. has created research guides to assist you in your genealogical research. Although these are designed as a guide to locating material in the Reading Room, you may find them helpful when planning your trip. These guides are not meant to be used as definitive lists. Ask for assistance from the research staff for further suggestions as you work on your project.

We recommend that if possible, you visit yourself to do research. For those unable to do so, we provide some research services through the mail.

Listed below are names of known photographers working in Lancaster City and Lancaster County in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Clicking on a photographer's name will reveal what information we have been able to gather about their studio locations and active working dates.


In the Members Area, users will now be able to view the current Journal online. Over the coming months we will also be adding all of the previous Journal Articles to this area. Once Members are logged into, they will be able to use the Dicovery Tool to search for various articles or they may Browse through past volumes HERE.

Coming Soon! All past Journal Articles will be fully text searchable and viewable by members!

Bound copies of the journal are available in our library. It is also possible to order copies of individual articles. At this time, there is not a full text version of every article available online, however you will find several popular articles posted here.

To read entries in the index, information on the name, volume and page number is given in this order, with semi-colons separating each data element:

Last Name; First Name; Middle Initial; Volume Number; Page number(s).

For Example:

Reeves; Samuel;;85;90

means that the name Samuel Reeves (with no middle initial) appears in Volume 85 on page 90.

If the name appears in more than one volume, an additional entry will be made. If there is no information in a given category, a semi-colon will still appear as in the example above where there is no middle initial.

The Historian is our bi-weekly online newsletter that informs you about upcoming events at our two locations, the Campus of History (230 N. President Avenue) and our downtown Museum Store and Gallery (4 West King Street).

The Historian is free and you may unsubscribe at any time by clicking an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email. 

Don't receive The Historian and want to? Click here to subscribe! 

If you have questions or comments about The Historian, please contact Emily Miller, compiler of the issues, or visit our Historian FAQ


For hundreds of years Lancaster has helped to shape the story of America.  County, Commonwealth & Country features stories that illustrate just a few of the effects that the people, culture and ideas from Lancaster have had on the American story.

These stories and objects illustrate Lancaster’s place in the history of the American frontier, Lancaster’s role during times of turmoil and transition within the nation, and the city and county’s ability to produce some of the world’s best products and most talented craftspeople.

Lancaster was the birthplace of the Pennsylvania Rifle and the leading rifle-making center in the colonies. During the eighteenth century, these innovative rifles were made for trade with Native Americans, for use by settlers and those heading west, and to fight the British during the Revolutionary War.

mandm trans 65hSince its origin, Lancaster has been a crossroads where agricutlure, commerce, manufacturing, and social life come together. In 1730, Lancaster City was laid out with an open-air public market in the center of town. Lancaster was a large and affluent inland city by the late 18th century and early 19th century and it became a regional center for the production of rifles, iron, glass, clocks, furniture and other decorative arts. This production—whether it took place in the craftsman's shop or the entrepreneur's factory—transformed Lancaster from a frontier town into a prosperous and sophisticated community.


community trans 65hLancaster County is a land of immigrants. Today, visitors can go from hearing Spanish in downtown Lancaster to Pennsylvania German only a few miles away in the farmlands surrounding Bird-In-Hand. Over the centuries, the people who have arrived in this region and made it their home have carved a rich history and complex heritage into the landscape.

tandt trans 65hCulture rarely stands still. New ideas are formed, new cultures arrive, new inventions are adopted. The people that shape and are shaped by culture are in a constant state of reaction and adaptation. The result is a history of turmoil and transition. This is true of Lancaster County and the nation. It is often within the times of greatest turmoil and transitions that we learn the most about what it means to be American. It is then that we learn what lies at the core of our uniquely American worldview. It is during those times of turmoil and transition, while our worldviews seem to be changing dramitcally, that we discover some ideals do, in fact, remain the same. These ideals—liberty & freedom, tolerance & diversity, democracy & the political process—were molded and shaped in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


candi trans 65hMany talented Lancastrians have been inspired by Lancaster County.  Painters and inventors, writers and photographers - they viewed the beauty that surrounded them everyday, and not only "saw" their environment, they became captivated by it. These individuals dedicated their time and talent and made it their mission to express their appreciation of Lancaster in their life's work. Augustus Beck painted the landscape of Lancaster and exposed to the world the beauty that he saw. Lloyd Mifflin became a poet and recited his passion and love for the Susquehanna River in his poems. S.S. Haldemann loved the natural environment and fauna of this community and documented his findings and his exuberance in his journals. All of these individuals expressed their love of Lancaster County in their work.  However, these individuals did not only "take" from their community— they also gave something back. Their artwork, their inventions, their research, their poems—these individuals enriched our history and society and made Lancaster a community of attainable dreams and imagination.


If you would like to make a memorial or honorary gift to LancasterHistory in memory/honor of a loved one, please feel free to visit our webform. Please note that when writing your name and your loved one's name in the webform, please write your and their name as you would like to be recognized for your gift. (For example: Do you want to be recognized as "Mr. John Smith" or just "John Smith.")

If you have trouble making your gift over the internet, please call 717-392-4633 and ask for either Robin Sarratt (ext. 117) or Cindy Madara (ext. 122). Thank you!

Planning an event? From distinctive corporate events to a romantic outdoor wedding and reception or a child's best birthday bash, Wheatland is the perfect location for your special event. Share the magic of this beautifully restored historic house and grounds with friends, family or clients by hosting a celebration all your own on the grounds of Wheatland ( All events are outdoor events).

To request a rental packet for corporate or wedding events please call (717)392-8721 extension 222 or Contact Us On-Line.

In 1950 Paul Kaseman joined the design team at Lancaster's RCA facility. Fresh from Penn State's electrical engineering program, Kaseman was a newcomer to the county who discovered a welcome wagon at the Lancaster County Historical Society's monthly meetings.

During this time, the Lancaster County Historical Society held its monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month and featured a speaker on topics of local interest. Over the years, Mr Kaseman recorded these many programs.

Mr. Kaseman has donated these recordings of the Papers Read at the Lancaster County Historical Society during the 1970s and 1980s to the permanent collections of

When the Willson Memorial Building, was constructed in 1956, its neighbor and naturalist Louise Arnold Tanger approached the Board of Trustees with a request to be allowed to plant trees on the barren grounds surrounding the building. They agreed and invited Mrs. Tanger to join the board where she took charge of the grounds until her death in 1959.

Below are some of the articles on gardening topics which Ms. Tanger had produced over the years. offers a variety of internships that provide experience in a vibrant, professional setting at Lancaster County's Historical Society and/or President James Buchanan's Wheatland. Internships are available in the spring, summer and fall and are awarded through a competitive application process, are unpaid and may be coordinated with the applicants' college or university to provide educational credit. Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and access to the workings of the organization under the supervision of a professional who will provide field experiences while integrating theory with practice.

Internship opportunities are provided in the following areas:

  • Library Services
  • Archives Care and Management
  • Development
  • Collections Management and Care
  • Historical Interpretation
  • Museum Education and Programming
  • Marketing


Applicants must have completed their sophomore year in college and submit an application including a personal statement as to your interest in an internship, the names and contact information of two references including one academic reference, and an unofficial transcript. The applicant will also be interviewed. The hours and length of an internship may vary.

Each intern will experience their field of work through the unique heritage and history of the people, places and events that shaped the Lancaster County region, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States of America.


Because pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes they need an interpreter.

You know that cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words? Ok, well, imagine the stories going on in my head after cataloging several hundred photos every single day!

[Read My Blog]

On-Line Teachers Resources

One of the many great things about Lancaster, PA is that there are so many different historical organizations and sites to explore! The below events have been submitted to us by local historical organizations so that you can find out about other events that may interest you. 

If you are an employee or authorized individual of a Lancaster County historical organization or an organization offering a program that focuses on history, feel free to submit your event to us to be posted below. Events will be reviewed for their historical quality (re: Does it have anything to do with history?) and if it satisfies basic questions (re: who, what, when, where, how, etc...). To submit, please contact Emily Miller, Development Assistant, and check back soon. 


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