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New Exhibit:
Behind Halvey's Lens

A Photographic History of Catholic Philadelphia

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Newspaper Collection

CHRC holds one of the largest collections of
Catholic newspapers in the United States.

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Photograph Collection

CHRC has numerous images of churches, religious persons, events, and places relating to the history of the Archdiocese.

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Manuscript Collection

The Manuscript Collection includes records of all of the bishops and archbishops of Philadelphia up to the present. The Manuscript Collection of the American Catholic Historical Society (ACHS) includes the papers of prominent Catholic clergy, laity, and institutions.

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Blog Posts

Stay connected as we highlight and explore
a different piece of our collection in each post.

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Welcome to the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The purpose of the Catholic Historical Research Center (CHRC) is to collect, preserve, and make available for research the official records of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and those ancillary records and items that reflect the growth and development of Catholicism within the Archdiocese in accordance with the approved Collection Access Policy.


Parish Mapping Project

Explore our maps of the parish boundaries from different points over the history of the Archdiocese:

View the 1971 parish boundary map here:

View the 1921 parish boundary map here:

View the 1891 parish boundary map here:


The Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia receives grant in the amount of $20,720 from The Ambassador's Fund for Catholic Education!

The Ambassador's Fund for Catholic Education awarded the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia​ a grant in the amount of $20,720 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The funded program will digitize, identify, arrange, and preserve the photographs of noted Philadelphia photographer, Robert Halvey, under the grant titled Philly in Focus: Digitizing Robert Halvey’s Photographic History of Catholic Philadelphia. From 1935 to 1999, Robert Halvey served as a freelance photographer for the Catholic Standard and Times, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which began publishing in 1895 and ended its run in 2012.​ The Robert and Theresa Halvey Photograph Collection is comprised of approximately 16,000 records, also known as events, that contain an estimated 350,000 negatives total documenting Catholic life in Philadelphia between 1935 and 1999. ​
Michael H. McCloskey, Jr. (1893-1973), building contractor and U.S. Ambassador to Ireleand (1962-1964), created and funded The Archdiocesan Educational Fund in 1967 to advance Catholic education and evangelization throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This charitable organization changed its name to the Ambassador's Fund for Catholic Education in February 2020.



Catholic Heritage Archive


Check out this great new resource powered by FindMyPast! The Catholic Heritage Archive is a digital archives containing thousands of parish records! You can flip through the marriage and baptismal records for each of the Archdiocese's parishes and best of all its FREE to use!



New Digital Resources Available!

Catholic Standard Front Page

CHRC joined with FindMyPast to make historical parish baptismal and marriage records available to the public. Pre-1919 records are on-line and can be searched and downloaded.  Also available are the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocesan Newspapers, from 1833-Sept. 28, 1951 with some gaps when either issues were missing or a newspaper was not published. Click here for information about Catholic newspapers in Philadelphia. 

All the records are indexed and keyword searchable. The search is free; however, to view the records a subscription to Findmypast is required.



Catholic Historical Research Center | 6719 Calvert Street | Philadelphia, PA 19149