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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is your organization the same as the
Media Historical Society?

A: No. The Media Historical Society (MHS), which administers the historic Minshall House in Media Borough, is a different organization which does not collect historic items relating to Media and vicinity. Please contact MHS for house tours and other activities; contact the Media Historic Archives Commission (MHAC) to view or donate historic materials.


Q. How can I do my own research into the history of Media
and other communities in Delaware County, Pennsylvania?

A: In response to inquiries, the Media Historic Archives Commission, composed of five unpaid members, will search our own collection for any relevant information. However, since our Archives is a random collection that does not include every house, family, or event in the borough, we also offer the following list of resources so anyone interested can conduct their own research into Media and Delaware County people and places.

We will update this list from time to time and welcome your suggestions for any additions or corrections.

Google Searches

This is the first place to start with any research. Remember to make your searches as specific as possible. For example, a search for Stephen Appleton got more than 1.2 million results; Stephen H. Appleton got 812,000 results, with the top three results referring to the MHAC collection of Appleton’s photographs. In Google (or almost every search feature on any website) using quotation marks around any search string (such as “Stephen H. Appleton”) limits the results to exactly that phrase, and is often the best way to find what you’re looking for.

Delaware County History.com

This website, compiled by Keith Lockhart, includes thousands of resources, many of which are divided by municipality to help narrow your searches. Of special interest to Media researchers is the Media Borough page, which includes maps, cemetery records, books, and a set of invaluable Media directories (1870-1931), which list residents by name, address, and occupation, and can be searched activating the find feature (CTRL+F) on the directory’s web page.

Friends Historical Library

This library of the Society of Friends (or Quaker) history includes documents and photographs relating to many families in and around Delaware County, and also houses the archives for the Borough of Swarthmore and Swarthmore College. Comprehensive finding aids are available for all the various collections.

Online Maps

Many map collections are now online. For Philadelphia-area history, one of the most useful is the Greater Philadelphia Geohistory Network website created by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The site includes thousands of maps from a variety of collections, all viewable at high resolution. An interactive feature allows users to create map overlays that reveal how places have changed over time.

This site includes a scan of the gem of the Media Historic Archives collection, the 1855 Map of Media, created just five years after the founding of the borough. View this map by clicking here.

The site also includes two useful atlases of Delaware County, from 1892 and 1909: 

  1. Farm Line and borough atlas of Delaware Co., Penna., 1892. Compiled from Dr. Ash’s map of actual surveys, and official records, private plans and actual surveys by Wm. S, Miller, St. J. Ogier, Wm. S. McDonald & Forsey Breou. Published by E. W. Smith and A. H. Mueller, 528 & 530 Locust St., Philadelphia. Plate 20 shows Media Borough. 
  2. Atlas of Delaware County east of Ridley Creek, 1909-1910Plate 27 and Plate 28 show Media Borough.

The Penn State University Libraries Digital Map Drawer includes four Sanborn Fire Insurance atlases that cover most but not all of Media, in 1887, 1894, 1907 and 1912. These detailed plates show the business type, materials used, height, footprint, and many other details of buildings. When you go to the link above, type Media, Pa. in the search box to find the four atlases.  

The Library of Congress also has the following atlases and maps online: 

  1. Map of Delaware County, Pennsylvania,: from original surveys, with the farm limits, 1848. By Joshua W. Ash, M.D. Published by Robert P. Smith, No. 15 Minor St., Philadelphia. This map predates the formation of Media in 1850.  
  2. Map of Delaware Co. and the city of Philadelphia, 1876. Published by G.M. Hopkins & Co.  
  3. Combination atlas map of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 1875. Published by Everts & Stewart, Philadelphia. This atlas includes a map of Media Borough  
  4. A map of the improved part of the province of Pennsilvania in America, 1687. This map by Thomas Holme shows settlers in the original three counties of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester (from which Delaware County was later divided). The Boston Public Library has an original copy of this map online under the title: A mapp of ye improved part of Pensilvania [Pennsylvania] in America, divided into countyes, townships, and lotts. 
  5. Map of the early settlements of Delaware County, Penna., 1862. This map was bound with George Smith’s 1862 History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.


More links to online newspapers, cemetery records, county vital statistics and deed records, and local historical societies will be coming soon.

Last updated Ocober 30, 2018