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Throughout its history, CCHS’s library has collected materials documenting the diversity of the county from the 1680s to the present. The library houses collections of printed volumes (25,000), and manuscripts (500,000) including letters, diaries and other personal papers, business and organizational records, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, audio-visual material and genealogical material related to the history of the county and surrounding area.

What We Have 
The library contains a wealth of information for the researcher – whether your interests are genealogy or local history, property research or antiques. Beginning with the first donation to CCHS back in 1893, our manuscripts have now grown to number over 500,000 items and include both personal and family papers, as well as the records of businesses, organizations, churches and schools throughout Chester County. Over 25,000 published volumes fill our Library. We have an extensive collection of genealogies, plus many books and periodicals covering state and local history (including works on neighboring states and counties). The Library's large collection of published works on decorative arts is a resource for both our museum and the public. Chester County newspapers are available on microfilm, CD and in our renowned newspaper clippings file. A collection of local historic maps will aid both the property and family researcher. Federal and state census records, in house databases, and a new and growing collection of online history articles as well as many additional resources are available for use by researchers.

Use Our Collection from a Distance

Visit our pages on Online or Postal Research Services to learn more about ordering copies of documents from our collection or initiating a genealogical research inquiry.

Property Research

Chester County has an enormous range of historic properties that make it a unique and vibrant place.  These properties not only have visual appeal and broad historical context about the people who lived here, they are also an interesting focal point for current research by local property owners and researchers who are working from afar.  However, doing property research is complex and time consuming.  CCHS does not currently provide a regular service of doing property research.  We are happy to provide access to records and manuscripts that will help to simplify your own research. 

Here is the link to help you start your research.

Note: The Research Library is closed to researchers for the month of January.

Archival Collection Guides