Due to health and safety precautions, we are not accepting research requests or appointments until further notice.

Conducting Onsite Research

J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library supports public users by appointment, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As with most special collections, the materials require careful handling and an advance appointment is required. Please call 215-413-8640 or email to arrange a scheduled time. 

On your arrival at Independence Seaport Museum, check-in at the front desk. You will be directed to the J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library, which is located on the second floor of the Museum. If you arrive late to your appointment, by an hour or more, you may be asked to reschedule. 

Genealogist: Our collections generally do not support genealogical research. Please visit the National Archives Genealogy Page before contacting us. For passenger arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, please get in touch with the National Archives Mid-Atlantic branch

Offsite Research

Offsite research is now available through our online catalog. Additions to the catalog are made regularly. If you are unable to find specific information, please let us know and a staff member can assist you. 

Larger digital collections are available through collaborations with the Falvey Digital Archive at Villanova University and OPenn, the Digital Library of the University of Pennsylvania. Digital material locations are noted in the catalog entry. 

Research Fees

Our staff can complete research projects for anyone unable to visit. When requesting reference assistance via email or phone, please specially state your request and provide complete contact information. 

Research Fees: 

Quick Search  Free  
                Hourly Fee $35.00
Member Hourly Fee $30.00

Reproduction Fees

A copier is available for researchers in the reading room at a cost of $0.25 cents per page. Copying fragile or light sensitive materials is at the staff's discretion. 

Reproduction Fees: 

Preservation Fee $15.00 per order (all orders)   
                Existing Digital Files $5.00 per image
      New Scan from document $20.00 for the first scan 

$5.00 for each additional scan
New Photography Quote by request

Digital reproductions are available in .jpg format, 300 dpi and 16-bit RGB color depth. In most cases, larger digital files or higher resolution can be provided for an increased fee. Special requests are quoted individually

The commercial use of images is quoted on an individual basis. Please contact a staff member about commercial use of images. 

For more information, to schedule an appointment or to submit a research request, please call 215-413-8646 or email We are a small institution with limited staff. Please be patient when waiting for a response. 

If you are interested in submitting a request by mail, please send a brief description to: 

J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
Independence Seaport Museum
211 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106