Philadelphia City Archives – We’re Moving!

The Philadelphia City Archives is relocating to 456 N. 5th Street! As of December 15, 2017, our site will temporarily close to the public to facilitate our relocation. We will continue to fulfill requests for copies of deeds, except for requests that are for historical research and/or academic research purposes. This temporary service disruption will extend through August 2018 to allow our staff adequate time to prepare for and execute the relocation. We expect to reopen at our new home on September 1, 2018.

Please mail deed requests and payment to: City Hall, Room 156, Department of Records, Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you would like to contact our main office please email: or call (215) 686-2261. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We look forward to serving you at our new location.


Events and People

PhillyHistory Turns 10!

Celebrate ten years of at a birthday event Wednesday, October 21, at City Hall!

City Hall Tower-Statue Penn's Head (
City Hall Tower-Statue Penn’s Head (

Back in 2005, the City of Philadelphia Department of Records launched the Photo Archives Website to provide access to historic photographs from the Philadelphia City Archives. A few months afterward, that site became and we launched the Blog to help tell the stories behind the photos. Ten years later, we’re excited to have over 130,000 historic photographs and maps from five organizations available that are viewed and searched by thousands of visitors each month.

We hope you’ll join us for a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 21, at 5pm at City Hall to celebrate ten years of We’ll explore PhillyHistory’s creation and development, lessons learned from ten years of maintaining a digital history project, and plans for future digitization initiatives. Please follow the RSVP directions at the event announcement if you’re interested in attending.

The “Celebrating PhillyHistory’s 10th Birthday” event is part of Archives Month Philly. Visit their website for a full list of events throughout the month of October!

New Features

PhillyHistory Now Available on Field Trip

2014_05_16_FieldTripApp_PhillyHistoryWe’re excited to announce that select materials from PhillyHistory will now be accessible from your smartphone through the Field Trip app developed by NianticLabs at Google. Field Trip is designed to help you find and explore interesting locations in the world. With information on historical places and events, architecture, art and museums, and much more, Field Trip serves as a guide to the hidden history and culture all around us.

Want to learn more about the many historical events that have occurred in Philadelphia?  Curious about the history of the buildings and places that you walk by every day? The tens of thousands of images on have long provided a view into the city’s past with the stories behind the images told through posts on the PhillyHistory Blog. The Field Trip app includes selected images and articles from the PhillyHistory Blog that are connected to specific locations throughout the city. If you have the Field Trip app on your phone, you can read content from the PhillyHistory Blog about the history of locations near you. If you have notifications and location services turned on, you’ll even receive alerts when you pass a building or intersection connected to a story on PhillyHistory.

The Field Trip app is available for both iPhones and Android devices at no cost. After downloading the app, users can select from several fields of interest and view stories and images connected to that topic by clicking on the markers on the map. PhillyHistory falls under the “Historic Places & Events” category which are shown as pale orange square markers on the map. Click on a marker to see an overview of the story of that location and then click the top bar to view the full article and images. If you’d like to read more from the PhillyHistory Blog, click the “Full Article” button at the bottom of the page to view more info on the blog or click “PhillyHistory” to visit the website.

We hope you’ll explore PhillyHistory on the Field Trip app and discover the amazing history surrounding us here in Philadelphia!



National History Day Philly Coming Soon!

National History Day is a year-long program that enables students to investigate and explore historical events while building critical thinking, research, analysis, and presentation skills. Here in Philadelphia, the competition begins with National History Day Philadelphia in March, when hundreds of middle and high school students in Philadelphia present their research in the form of essays, presentations, websites, documentaries, and more. Winners progress to the state and perhaps even national level competition.

The theme for the 2014 National History Day is “Rights and Responsibilities,” and local cultural institutions like the National Archives at Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and many more have supported Philadelphia student researchers by compiling lists of resources, providing mentoring and research assistance, and creating professional development materials for teachers.

For many local students, however, finding the resources and supplies to be able to participate in National History Day can be a challenge. To help raise funds for presentation boards, paper, markers, glue, photocopies, CDs, DVDs, and more basic supplies, the National History Day Philly group has set up a fundraiser at Individuals interested in supporting students in gaining a love of history are encouraged to donate before February 2.

To learn more about National History Day in Philadelphia, check out the video below or follow NHD Philly on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.


PhillyHistory Photos at Commerce Square

If you’re in Center City on Wednesday, June 12, at lunch time, you may want to stop by the office buildings at Commerce Square to catch a glimpse of images from in an unexpected place. Located on Market Street between 20th and 21st Streets, the two office towers that make up Commerce Square are separated by an open courtyard that includes a 16×22 foot media wall featuring a rotating display of artwork and images.

Thanks to a kind invite from Thomas Realty Partners at Commerce Square, the media wall will be showcasing historic images from the collection of the Philadelphia City Archives this Wednesday from 12-2pm, including this great photo of a pier on the Delaware River in 1931. From images of  City Hall to the Parkway to former theaters, the images highlight the rich history of Philadelphia. If you have the time, stop by and check out some photos on the big screen. And, as always, visit our full collection of over 100,000 historic photographs and maps at

Busy on Wednesday? Images from PhillyHistory will be popping up on the media wall a couple more times this summer. Follow us on Twitter and we’ll let you know when they will be visible next.


Philadelphia Department of Records Wins 2011 Award of Merit!

We’re excited to announce that the Philadelphia Department of Records has been awarded a 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for the work on!

Now in its 66th year, the Leadership in History Awards from AASLH are awarded annually for projects that demonstrate excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history. The awards will be presented at a banquet held on September 16 as part of the 2011 AASLH Annual Meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

We are delighted to receive this award and appreciative of the recognition from AASLH. The photographs and maps on enable users to discover more about the history of Philadelphia and its many neighborhoods and communities. We hope that it provides people with an opportunity to remember and explore our city’s past in a fun and innovative way.

Thank you to all the users for supporting the project, and thank you to the American Association for State and Local History for the wonderful award!