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Reference Inquiries

Our reference staff will work with you to identify materials that may be relevant to your research. Please feel free to use our Reference Inquiry Form to contact us with your question. You may also send an email to our general reference account,, which is checked daily. To contact us by phone, please call (215) 627-1852.

submit a reference inquiry

Please be aware that the Presbyterian Historical Society is the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Because we have responsibilities to fulfill for the church, our staff provides only limited research services. We will provide catalog or collection information about material in our holdings to assist you in conducting your own research. Please note that our holdings do not circulate, with the exception of select microfilm available through Interlibrary Loan. Research may be done on-site only.
We will often direct patrons to CALVIN, Sheppard, Pearl, and our guides to archival collections, where you can research a topic prior to visiting. Patrons should keep in mind that a small portion of our holdings is not described in our online catalogs and databases. Should you visit the society in person, we will be happy to orient you to our card catalog, which may contain additional relevant materials. If you have a complex topic, we suggest that you contact us prior to visiting.

For inquiries about family history research, our Genealogy FAQ may be helpful.

A note on access: It is the policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to restrict access to all official records at the mid council and congregation level on deposit at the Presbyterian Historical Society that are less than 50 years old, and all official records at the national level on deposit at the Presbyterian Historical Society that are less than 20 years old. If researchers wish to access these records, we require that they secure written permission from the records’ owners. If you believe this restriction will affect your research, please contact us for further instructions prior to visiting. Please click here to view the complete access policy. 
The Society invites applications for our Research Fellowships, a program designed to encourage faculty, independent researchers, and students to use and publish from the society's rich holdings by awarding research and travel grants.