STHS has been receiving archival donations since 1981 when the Society was first formed. Indeed, securing a place to preserve interesting Solebury Township records was a founding idea. The Society’s intention is to hold small collections that often complement larger archives found at colleges or the Spruance Library.
Systematic organization under a numbered system was introduced in 2014 as volunteers sought the tools to catalog for quick use, help visitors find items, and also to post these notes of our archives contents on the web. The numbering system begins in 2014, which indicated all material collected since 1981, because unfortunately we cannot better identify the dates of numerous donations. New donations since 2015 now follow the sequential numbering system by year and acquisition.
We thank the many volunteers who collected and securely filed items by topics, family, and category over the many years. Past Board members Joan Fitting and Gwen Davis deserve special mention as two pillars of consistent collecting. Their systematic work allows current volunteers to take on a more comprehensive cataloging system. For the last few years, Board member Judy Clarke and volunteer Marilyn Lanctot have taken our extensive collections and created a comprehensive cataloging system. This system allows us to locate every item in our archives easily. Currently they are identifying and cataloging the numerous loose unmarked old photos in our files.
Local History Collections
For historic house information, please scroll to the Edwin Harrington Collection below or click here.
Solebury Township Schools Records and Robert Shaw School Consolidation Records
The New Hope Solebury School District school donated an extensive, but not complete, collection of records for the township’s one room schools from 1905 until consolidation in 1937-38. The information varies, but always includes attendance and sometimes principal’s summary and/or grades for subjects for Aquetong, Center Hill, Centre Bridge, Chestnut Grove, Highland, Greenhill, and Stony Hill one-room schools. There is also information on Solebury Elementary after consolidation in 1937-38 through 1969. Collection details.
In 1937 the Solebury Township School Board decided to build a new multi-room elementary school for $30,000, and closed the one-room school houses that had served the township’s students for many years. These would be sold to the highest bidder. The secretary of the school board ( and founder of Solebury School), Robert Shaw, oversaw the many phases of the consolidation. Letters, documents, and deeds covering the hiring, resignations, property sales, student issues (“Johnny has a cold and cannot attend this week”), bus routes, cost of items like coal from the Tinsman Company, and construction bidding are in the Shaw collection and included as a part of the Solebury Township School Records Collection. Collection details.
View an interactive map showing the locations of the schools before consolidation.
Miscellaneous School and School Board Records
These records include New Hope Borough and Solebury Township consolidated school board minutes from 1929 to 1942, New Hope Borough real estate and occupation taxes for residents, non-residents, and single men from 1916 to 1930, and financial account books with school expenses from 1920 to 1947. Also included are books with enrollment and enumeration of children, which is an annual list of all children living in New Hope Borough, their birth dates, ages, parents, and addresses for the years 1913 to 1943. Collection details.
Solebury Farmers Club and the Solebury Dairyman’s Association
Hand written minutes of every Solebury Farmers Club’s monthly meeting held for more than 145 years testify to Solebury’s vital farming community. The club was a vehicle for the exchange of information on crops, livestock, and other farming concerns; political issues of Pennsylvania and Bucks County; fundraising for charity; and, of course, renewing and extending friendships. These are invaluable records of Solebury’s families as well as a window into their social lives from 1871 to date. Collection details.
Solebury dairy farmers, “realizing the benefits arising from a co-operative endeavor,” formed the Solebury Dairyman’s Association in 1878. Their hand written book of minutes covers the co-op’s activities in great detail. There were several meetings each month and topics covered the value of each participant’s contribution; for exampls, fencing, salt, and butter box discussions were all recorded. The retail prices each month of milk, cream, and butter and the co-op’s sales strategies were also important topics. These records are included in the Solebury Farmers Club Collection. Collection details.
The Society has a large collection of files on many of the original and long-term Solebury families. Each file contains different items that were collected over the years by the archivists. These could include genealogies, photos, news articles, obituaries, and much more. Please visit the schoolhouse to see these files. Collection details.
Cuttalossa Temple #5
This local temple was organized under the “Order of United Americans” whose motto was “Liberty, Independence, Purity.” The Temple refers to the organization, not to a physical building. Meetings were held each Sunday so it appears to be a semi-religious social organization that was dedicated to gathering and helping members in their times of need. Meetings were opened with a hymn and a reading of a Biblical passage.
Considerable space in the minutes was given over to the election and the hierarchy of the organization’s leaders. Dues were collected each week and committee reports were shared. Collection details.
Bucks County Federation of Women’s Clubs
The collection includes minutes of meetings of the President’s Council of the Bucks County Federation, which included all the presidents of clubs in Bucks County, and minutes of the New Hpe area club. The President’s Council oversaw the local clubs, which is reflected in their minutes. The New Hope Area club met on a rotating basis in various homes, primarily in Solebury Township, until the club was disbanded in the mid 1990s. The minutes record local fund raising and social events and all of the members’ and visitors’ names. Collection details.
Edwin Harrington Collection
Ned Harrington was a local historian who was responsible for much of the research done for the Society. Ned wrote many books on Solebury Township. The Society no longer sells copies of the books, but they may be read at the schoolhouse on Wednesday afternoon. The files on the historic houses can also be viewed at the schoolhouse.
Historic Houses by Address
Willis Rivinus Collection
Will is a local historian who donated his extensive collection of books and other materials about Solebury Township to the Society in 2014. Most of his books are available to be read on line.
Alston and Beulah (Hurley) Waring were prominent citizens in Solebury Township from the late 1920s, when they purchased the farm that was later to become part of the Honey Hollow Watershed, through the 1970s. Before that, they had traveled extensively in Europe and Asia with Quaker service committees, often with the goal of improving agricultural practices in rural areas.. The archive was donated in 2014 by their granddaughter, Priscilla Waring, and includes family memorabilia and several publications by and about the Warings. Collection details.
Solebury Township Property Tax Annual Transcript
The data are arranged alphabetically by name for each year from 1920 to 1946 and include each person’s post office, number of acres owned, value per acre or, if the property was located in town, the value of the lot or tract, the number and value of horses and cows, and taxes owed. Books are in poor condition, housed in two boxes. Collection details.
Limeport was originally a dock along the berm bank of the Delaware Canal just north of Phillips Mill. It was built to allow the delivery of coal to fire the limekilns in the vicinity and gave its name to the area. This collection includes the pamphlet In the Vicinity of Limeport on the history of Limeport by George S. Havens, which tells of the establishment and operation of the lime kilns and quarries from the mid-19th century until the mid-20th century. Most of the file is devoted to the Tuscarora Oil Company’s pumping station, built by Standard Oil in 1905, and its liquidation in the mid 1980s. Because of a large, undetected leak, Tuscarora was responsible for wide-spread water pollution between Center Bridge and Phillips Mill. Even though the company has been liquidated, there is a continuing responsibility to provide clean water for the residents of the area. In December2016, Bridget Wingert wrote an article in the Bucks County Herald about Limeport and the Tuscarora Oil Company, and Michael McCann added his memories in a letter to the editor. Collection details.
STHS has received some miscellaneous items from the late 1800s and the early 1900s including some funeral records. Collection details.
Artifacts and Paintings
The following are on display in the schoolhouse:
Historic Revolutionary Soldier’s Wooden Bowl
George Bramhall oil Old Schoolhouse
Dorothy Young watercolor of schoolhouse
Solebury Farmers Club photo circa 1896
Stock Certificate from Solebury Hall Association
John Folinsbee oil of Beulah Waring
The Society has an extensive library of books on topics of local interest. Details. Please visit the schoolhouse to use these books; they are not loaned.
Besides the maps that are shown under On-line Exhibits, the Society has a collection of paper maps. The collection consists (as of 12/2015) of 91 original and reproduction maps. The earliest items are reproductions of maps from the late 17th century. The maps are fragile and can only be seen in the schoolhouse with supervision. The list includes the collection of maps donated by Willis Rivinus, also shown above under Local History Collections. Details.
Archive Policy and Reports
Collections Archive Policy
From its creation in 1981 through 2014, the Solebury Township Historical Society (STHS) had no formal collections policy. For the most part, the policies were subject to the personal judgments and de facto practices of the Society’s officers. In 2014, new purpose statements and collections policies were formulated for the Society. Such a policy is the fundamental framework upon which good collections’ stewardship begins. Details.
In addition, to enable the Society to have more information about donated items, we are now asking those who wish to give their collections to the Society to fill out a form. Details.
Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories Reports
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania conducted a survey of archival collection held by small, primarily volunteer-run historical organizations in the Philadelphia area, including STHS. The goal was to these collections more accessible. Details.