PastPerfect Online Catalog

The catalog currently contains information about manuscript collections, books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, institutions, associations, parish history materials, and graphic materials. A few of the manuscript collection records have links to full finding aids.

Please note that our Photograph collection is currently not available online. If there is something that you would like to have researched, please contact us at, or call 215 904-8149.

HOW TO SEARCH THE CATALOG: The online catalog includes keyword and advanced search options. The latter allows the user to search multiple fields simultaneously so he or she can enter title and author information, for example. PastPerfect Online also provides users the option to browse CHRC’s materials by using “Click and search.” Each of these features is described more fully in the Help section of the catalog.

Keyword Search

Users can enter one or more keywords or phrases. Use quotes to search phrases. The search engine automatically adds “or” between search terms. So, the search “African American Catholics”  newspapers, finds all records containing either the exact phrase “African American Catholics” or newspapers. To find only records with both terms add an “and” between them, i.e. “African American Catholics”  and newspapers. 

Users can use PastPerfect Online’s browse feature (see below) to see how terms or phrases should be entered.

Browse feature

Advanced search option

To search within a specific collection of published materials (i.e. non-manuscript collections), such as newspapers and periodicals, users should use the Advanced Search option. Once you’re on the Advanced search page, check Library under Content to search and enter the exact collection name in the Collection field.

To do a more specific search, for example, if you want to see what newspapers CHRC has between the years 1830 to 1880, enter “Newspapers” in the Collection field, and enter “1830” in the Start date field and “1880” in the End date field.

As another example, if you’d like to see what Catholic institutions in New York CHRC has materials for, enter “Institutions” in the Collection field and “New York” in the Subjects field.

Users can search within the following collections:

Parish History
Parish Calendar

Users can also browse one of the above mentioned collections by using the “Click and search” option.

Catholic Historical Research Center | 6740 Roosevelt Blvd | Philadelphia, PA 19149