It is not a unique inspiration which results in this Guide to the Published Archives of Pennsylvania. As early as 1893 and as late as 1929, Pennsylvania legislatures have provided for such a publication; at least two of Pennsylvania's librarians, in desperation, have compiled rudimentary indexes for their own reference desks; and several years since, while serving as State Archivist at Harrisburg, Dr. Curtis W. Garrison initiated the preparation of just such a guide. This booklet is designed to meet a need which has long been obvious.
Of necessity limitations have been placed upon the contents, and this Guide will not answer every question. Excepting for governors, generals, and the authors of journals and diaries, few names of individuals will be found listed. Such omission is deliberate, made in consideration of the fact that the twenty-five hundred pages of Volume XV of Pennsylvania Archives, Sixth Series, and the five volumes of the Seventh Series together index well over a million names of early Pennsylvanians; sufficient unto the names contained in the Pennsylvania Archives are these indexes in the Sixth and Seventh Series thereof. Persons searching for the name of an individual, for other specific but minute items, or for mere passing references, will find that this volume will serve as a starting point only. From its more general entries, notably from "Indexes," they can go on to the sometimes obscure but always more detailed listings which are to be found within the respective series. Unless an item totals several pages it is unlikely to appear in this Guide, for the inclusion of less bulky items would have required editorial exertion and printing expense beyond reason. The aim has been to provide handy but general reference, condensing for the sake of brevity and simplicity but making readily available the great number of important blocks of material which have too long remained obscure among the relatively uncharted reaches of the ten series.
Neïther is the historical section of this Guide exhaustive in its treatment. The aim here has been to orient the investigator and to provide those significant facts which will enable him to evaluate properly such materials as he may select from one or another of the published series. To attain brevity and clarity in presenting this factual data, very little stress has been placed upon related archival developments at Washington and in other states. The result may be a certain lack of balance, for historical scholarship has never operated in a tower of ivory and no series of Pennsylvania Archives was in its origin a completely detached and unique phenomenon. Without doubt DuPonceau and Hazard were aware of the archival series which were being issued by their European contemporaries and of Peter Force's American Archives which began to appear in 1837. They could scarcely have remained ignorant of the work of Brodhead and of O'Callaghan in neighboring New York or of similar publication projects in other states of the union. During the . . .