Posted on behalf of Shaun Kirkpatrick
On Oct. 20, the Presbyterian Historical Society opened their doors for their annual Archives Month Philly open house. The busy evening included chances to tour underground archival storage; review staff-selected gems and oddities from their collections; see the current public exhibit on Presbyterians in the American Revolution; and enjoy food, drink, and conversation.
Among the memorable objects on display were a silver ore-embedded gavel of mysterious origin that surfaced in Chicago in 1915 with (spurious?) claims that it dated to 16th-century reformer Jan Hus; a “ballot potty”–a 1792 ballot box from a New Jersey congregation that resembles a portable commode; and rare books including an Erasmus Bible from 1516, impressively predating Martin Luther’s launch of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago this month.
Tales of patriot Presbyterians, Luther-inspired beer, tasty brownies, and a chance to learn about missionary records while strolling through compact shelving under a basketball court were among the many attractions of the evening, a fitting addition to this enduring Archives Month tradition.