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Online Library Collections & Databases

Please enjoy these photographs from the York County History Center collection.  This is just a sampling over the over 100,000 photographs in the Library & Archives collection.  Please visit the Library & Archives to view additional York County photographs.

The photographs below are available for purchase.  Fees start at $15 for personal use.  Additional fees apply for publication or exhibition.  For more information, please contact Adam Bentz, Assistant Director of Library & Archives, at 717-848-1587 x 223 or abentz@yorkhistorycenter.org.

Bible Collection

The York County History Center accepted Bibles until the 1970s. This collection shares the Bible’s title page as well as the pages that contain family data: birth and baptismal records, marriages and deaths. In many instances, a family Bible may provide the only recording of such information. In some cases, only a person’s name without any vital information appears in the Bible.

This index is only for original Bible records in The History Center’s collection. There are photocopies of many Bible records in our Family Files. South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society has published seven volumes of Bible records, primarily from Center’s Family Files.

York City Streets and Alleys

The York City Streets and Alleys illustrate the city beginning in the 1870s. Varying in size and condition these photographs highlight individual buildings as well as city events.

York County Postcards

This online library of York County Postcards captures a specific moment in time of York County’s communities.

Grant Voaden York County Mill Collection

The Grant Voaden Mill Collection focuses on over 270 York County mills. Grant Voaden, an engineer with S. Morgan Smith, became interested in York County mills. Each file contains an information sheet that he created to organize his research, miscellaneous documents and photographs. Typical data included in each mill file is the type of mill, date of construction, owners, and other miscellaneous data. Voider’s research files can be accessed during normal library hours.

A selection of these photographs compiled by Voaden are featured in The History Center’s publication Miller’s Tales — The Mills of York County, written by Lila Fourhman-Shaull, former Director of Library & Archives.

Scott W. Knaub School House Collection

Scott W. Knaub took photographs in the 1940s of one-room schools and other school houses in York County while he served as Assistant Superintendent of York County Schools from 1938-1950.  In his 47-year career, Mr. Knaub also served as a teacher, principal of Manchester and Dover High Schools, and supervising principal of several York County school districts.  He died at the age of 75 in 1957.  This collection of photographs helps to document the history of one-room schools in the county, many of which are no longer standing.

Charles Ness Service Station Collection

Charles E. Ness owned Ness Oil Company and delivered fuel to service stations. Along the way he photographed them, mostly in the 1950s.  This 1,000 plus collection of images document early gas stations across York County and was donated to the History Center in 2014.

Dempwolf Architectural Drawings

John Augustus (J.A.) Dempwolf and his brother Reinhardt Dempwolf ran one of the most successful architectural practices ever located in South Central Pennsylvania. J.A. Dempwolf established the firm in 1874 in York, Pennsylvania and was later joined by Reinhardt Dempwolf in 1884. J.A.’s son, Frederick, eventually joined the firm as well. The firm designed residential, commercial and public buildings, most of them located in southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, although they did many projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Many of the Victorian and Edwardian buildings of York were designed by the Dempwolfs, most notably the Central Market House, which still serves as a farmers’ market and eatery today. They had a great influence on York’s architecture from the 1880s through the 1930s, which was spread by seven of their students. all of whom went on to become architects in or near York, PA.

The Dempwolf Architectural Drawings were photographed through a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The Library & Archives arranged for the photographing of nearly 2,000 original architectural drawings from the 1880s through the 1930s from two York County architectural firms, J.A. Dempwolf and Charles A. Williams. Johnson Imaging Systems, Inc. of Camp Hill, PA used an Opti-Copy camera system to photograph the collection, and a macromaster negative was created from which a print was made. In addition to the original drawings, the Library & Archives has a set of negatives and a set of prints of these photographs, which have also been digitized. The photographs increase public accessibility to the drawings, while preserving the original drawings.

The initial launch of PastPerfect Online was made possible by the Anne M. and Philip H. Glatfelter, III Foundation.