Online Catalog

Welcome to the online catalog for the J. Welles Henderson Research Center at Independence Seaport Museum.

Click Here to Begin a Catalog Search 

Our catalog is an online resource for visitors to explore the Museum's rich collections and to gain a better understanding of the Delaware River watershed.  Our collections are organized under ten general categories, under which are more specific subcategories.  For instance, one will be able to find an individual shipyard such as the New York Shipbuilding Corp. under the Maritime Industries Category.

On the catalog search page, subjects can be searched by:

  • Ten General Categories
  • Keyword
  • Material Type
  • Creators
  • Individual Collections

Catalog Search 

Catalog entries provide detailed descriptions of a collection's parts, provide an overall scope of the content, convey details about the individuals or organizations involved, and list the location of an item.  special service conditions are noted, including terms under which the collection may be accessed or copied.  Links are provided to digitized content, when available.  To begin a category search, please use the links below.

Collections Categories

Additional resources 

This category comprises of material from local historians and chroniclers as well as folios of modelers.  Our collection of dissertation material is also located here.  




This category contains the collections that relate to business operations of the ports of the Delaware River Region.  Within this category are the business transactions of local companies, individuals and trade families, ship owners, and operators.  Also within this category are collections material on Philadelphia's role inn trade with China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Trade Associations such as the Philadelphia merchant Exchange and Commercial Museum can be found within this category.  Also included are collections on operations of steamship companies.    



This category contains collections that relate to the natural cycle of local waterways and the impact that human development has had on the Delaware River.  Contained within this category are subcategories that have material on landmarks such as the city's water resource Fairmount Waterworks, the Philadelphia watershed, exploration, geographical documentation, underwater surveys, and documentation of the rivers and creeks leading out to the Delaware Bay. 



This category contains government and private organizations that developed and expanded commercial potential of the Port of Philadelphia and the waterfront and waterways.  Charts and maps of the region also comprise a large section of this category.

Other subcategories also contain collections that focus on immigration to Philadelphia and settlement in the area.  Collections on regional labor are also included here. 


maritime industries

This category contains the industrial production that supported the region's maritime operations.  Subcategories that contain material on the local shipbuilders ranging from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries can be found here.  Also found within this category are builders and suppliers of smaller work/commercial boats and watercraft of the region.  Maritime industries that manufactured equipment or parts for vessels are also contained within this category. 



Collections contained within this category focus on military operations of sea services and diplomatic relationships from the Barbary Wars to World War II.  Material on the operations of the United States Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and non-United States navies (British pre-Civil War) are also contained within this category.  Collection material on the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard can be found within this category.  Collection material on leading Naval figures, such as John Barry or Stephan Decatur, are also included here.  Similarly, material on officers are located here as well. 



This category contains all materials relating to Cruiser Olympia.  Material contained here include plans and drawings, professional and amateur photographs, performance data, and construction documents.  Crew information, logbooks, personnel records for both officers and enlisted sailors aboard, memorabilia, ephemera, and scrapbooks of individuals are also here.  Additional category highlights include materials related to Olympia's history during the Spanish-American War, Olympia in World War I, the Unknown Soldier, and also images and ephemera of contemporary vessels  Non-archival material such as ship fittings, furniture, uniforms, and flags are also included in this category.