Philadelphia Water Department
Historical Collection
Online Catalogue

Since the 1990s, staff and volunteers have been cataloguing the collection of historical material held by the archives of the Philadelphia Water Department, using PastPerfect™ museum cataloguing software. This catalogue, which includes thousands of books, pamphlets, photographs and other material, spans the 200 year history of water supply and drainage in Philadelphia. It can now be searched online, thanks to an excellent web interface developed by PastPerfect and MWeb.

To search the catalogue, click here or on the banner at the top of the page. You'll find many traditional ways to access the collection, using keyword and advanced search techniques. Another way to quickly see the breadth of material is to use the "Click & Search" feature, which provides alphabetical lists of material found under various catalogue headings.

The site also includes an email feature, in which catalogue records can be emailed to friends (or to yourself), and a feedback form. Our hope is that users will give us feedback on how to make the catalogue more complete, and perhaps help us identify some of the photographs for which we currently have scanty information.

Please feel free to contact us, using the feedback form, with any questions about any of the material you find in the catalogue.

You may also be interested in visiting an associated site, PhillyH2O, which contains complete versions of a number of the documents, maps and photographs listed in the catalogue, as well as a wealth of other information on the history of water supply, sewers and watersheds in Philadelphia and vicinity.