Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Archival Record Series

Guardians of the Poor
Alms House

[Record Group 35-3-4]

35-3-4.1 Daily Occurence Docket
November 1787- March 1887; missing August-December 1799; April-October 1847
59 volumes, no index
Journal listing of entries concerning Alms House admissions, discharges, deaths, elopements; admissions entries include pauper's name, description, date, home district.
Volume 1846-1847 adds list of outdoor relief recepients, ca. 1820.
Volume November-December 1847 is a partial volume beginning on page 383.
Series gradually changes in nature. Earlier volumes also contain entries for materials used, items produced, expenses, and inmates work in the manufacture of shoes, spinning and weaving and tailoring, and weekly balances of these items in stock. Other entries record cash receipts and disbursals, bindings out of children, clothing and provisions issues, remarks on the weather. During first decade of the 19th century, series becomes primarily a journal of admissions, discharges, deaths, escapes, and births. Great amount of overlapping owing to many rough volumes of fair copies, with no exact volume to volume correspondence.
See also Guardians of the Poor, Superintendent (Steward) of Alms House, Manufactory Accounts Ledger.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.2 Daily Issues
1805-1832
10 volumes, no index
Under headings of Alms House officers, wards, departments, journal lists of date, item (e.g., food, clothing, supplies, tools) and quantity issued to each.
Volumes 1813-1815, 1823-1836 lists issues of sugar, tea, coffee, chocolate and molasses (the later included in vol. 1813-1815 only);
Volume 1813-1832 issues to physicians and manufacturing departments only;
Volumes 1808-1809, 1809-1810, 1810-1811, 1811-1813, 1813-1832 add, in rear, records of chimneys swept 1807-1809, 1809-1810, 1811, 1812-1814 and 1814-1820 respectively, the entries of each list date, sweep's name, number of chimneys swept, pay received.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.3 Daily Receipts and Issues of Food and Supplies
1801-1803
3 volumes, no index
Separate volume sections for receipts and issues, each contains journal entries listing date, item and quantity, person or ward to whom issued or from whom purchased; some monthly recapitulations.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.4 Weekly Receipts and Issues of Food and Supplies
1793-1808; missing: April 1804-April 1805, June 1806-April 1808
3 volumes, no index
Weekly entries, under item headings, of totals only, of materials and quantities received and issued balanced against each other; only entries for May-December 1808 break dow distributions by wards and staff members.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.5 Daily Receipts
1805-1811; missing: March 1806-June 1808
5 volumes, no index
Journal listing of dates, items and quantities purchased, from whom purchased, costs.
See also Guardians of the Poor, Apothecary, Rx Cost per Inmate.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.6 Baker's Accounts
1810-1818
1 volume, no index
Journal listing of bread receipts, entries show date, amount, type, total weight received.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.7 Clothing Issues Ledger
1805-1871; missing: 1834-1865, 1868-1870
21 volumes, no index
Weekly and monthly lists of inmates' names and clothing issued to each
Volumes for years, January 1832 - April 1833 are for women only and those for year 1866-1867, 1871 are for men only.
Volumes 1805-1814 (two of the same date span - one for males and one for females) and 1829-1831 present the same information in the form of accounts headed with individual inmates' names, listing for each item issued and dates (posted from journal lists) and add occasionally, charges for board, medicines, and physicians' fees.
Volumes of Men's ledgers for the period May 1837-December 1829 and Women's July 1825-January 1832 also include ward accounts.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.8 Issues to Insane Department
1883-1886
1 volume, no index
Lists, at three day periods, of supply items and quantities issued to asylum.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.9 Issues to Children's Asylum
1883-1887
1 volume, no index
Weekly lists of supply items and quantities issued to asylum
For similar items, 1887-1888, see Bureau of Charities, Issues to Children's Asylum.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.10 Food Distribution Accounts
1861-1864
1 volume, no index
Under headings for each food item, lists of weekly quantities distributed and wards to which issued.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.11 Garden Produce Distribution Journal
January 1875-December 1882
6 volumes, no index
Lists fo types and quantities of vegetables received from Alms House garden and wards to which distributed.
Entries in volumes January 1875-December 1876, November 1879-August 1881, and January 1880-July 1882 are in three day periods.
Entries of dates, January 1877-October 1879
Volumes January - November 1880, January - December 1882 are in the form of accounts listing unit price and total price of each commodity, and total value of produce issued to each ward.
See also Guardians of the Poor, Superintendent (Steward) of Alms House, Manufactory Inventories.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.12 Liquor Book
1808-1817, 1859-1864
5 volumes, no index
Journal entries of porter, wine, beer, brandy, whiskey distributed to individual inmates, wards or departments; totals entered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
For similar entries, 1890-1916, see Bureau of Charities, Liquor Book.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.13 Requisition Ledger
1887
2 volumes, no index
Under account headings for each supply item, journal lists of quantities and dates acquired, source (supplier or department in which made) and similar lists of dates, quantities and department in which made) and similar lists of dates, quantities and departments to which distributed.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.14 Admission Book
1785-1827, 1863-1868
14 volumes, no index
Entries list inmate's name, and date of admission. Volumes before 1827 also often add short physical descriptions, persons on whose order admitted, remarks concerning death, discharge, escape, binding out, and date.
Volume 1811-1814 names of paupers in Alms House on 23 July 1811, names of paupers eloped, date of elopement, and date of return, and names of outdoor paupers and districts in which living.
Volumes 1863-1864, 1866-1868 add inmate's name, occupation, number of times admitted, Hospital ward referred to.
Owing to extensive overlapping, exact date span of volumes 1785-1827 is difficult to ascertain.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.15 Weekly Admissions and Census
1812-1835, 1865
7 volumes, 1 cu.ft., no index
Weekly admissions summaries list in order of date of admission, inmate's name, place of residence, number of former admissions, complaint, apartment or ward to which assigned, remarks (usually date of discharge, escape, or death); weekly censuses list numbers only of admissions and departures broken down by sex and adults and minors, the numbers of each in Alms House as of date, notices of deaths, bindings out, escapes and discharges; also included are lists of cash receipts for sale of manufactured goods or surplus materials, indenture fees, etc., totalled weekly.
Volume 1827-1835 omits cash receipts and admissions summaries.
Boxed material, for 1865, contains weekly lists of numbers only of inmates, broken down by wards and sexes, under each such heading are listed numbers of admissions, births, deaths, indentures, discharges, and escapes.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.16 Male Register
1828-1887
16 volumes, no index
Entries list inmate's name, age, race, date of admission, district from which admitted, number of times admitted, birthplace, place of legal settlement, marital status, occupation, cause of admission, ward to which assigned, date and manner of leaving (discharged, died, bound out, eloped); varied remarks, normally concerning person in whose care discharged.
Vols. 1852-1887 add dates of former admissions, discharges and escapes.
For similar records, 1887-1946, see Bureau of Charities, Men's Register and Department of Public Health, Philadelphia General Hospital, Men's Register.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.17 Male Vagrant Register
November 1879-July 1880
1 volume, no index
Entries list admission number and date, vagrant's name, race, age, birthplace, and clothing, cash, or other items in his possession at entrance.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.18 Female Register
1803-1887
13 volumes, no index
Entries list inmate's name, age, race, birthplace, place of residence, admission date, number of previous admissions, marital status, occupation, reason for admission, ward to which assigned, dates of doctor's discharge and actual departure, or death, remarks, often concerning person in whose care discharged.
For similar records, 1887-1946, see Bureau of Charities, Female Register, and Department of Public Health, Philadelphia General Hospital, Female Register.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.19 Female Vagrant Register
1874-1877
1 volume, no index
Entries list inmate's name, age, birthplace, date of admission, number of previous admissions as vagrant, number of previous admissions as other than vagrant.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.20 Register and Accounts of Inmates' Property Deposited
October 1844-March 1887; missing: February 1849-April 1853, January 1854-June 1856
9 volumes, no index
This series consists of seven registers of property deposited with Alms House officials, and 2 account books. Entries in the registers list inmate's name, date of admission, articles and cash deposited for safekeeping, and, often, date returned and recipient's signature. Account Books, January 1884-March 1887, include patient's name, date of admission, amount of cash deposited, and amounts paid out at patient's request or for funeral expenses, and monthly balances.
For similar records, 1887-1893, see Bureau of Charities, Inmates' Property Deposited, Ledgers and Accounts.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.21 Inmates' Property at Death
1811-1818
1 volume, no index
Entries list inmate's name, date of death, list of articles left; occasionally, name of person to whom property delivered.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.22 Examination of Paupers
1822-1844; missing: February 1825-July 1826
4 volumes, no index
Interviews to determine paupers' places of legal residence, which were responsible for their maintenance in Alms House; entries list inmate's name, date of examination, birthplace, occupations, occupations of their parents, summary of places of residence and length of time at each, determination of place to which he is adjudged to belong.
Volumes 1826-1844 are in form of a statement given by inmate and signed by him and witnessed.
For similar records, 1893-1919, see Bureau of Charities, Examination of Paupers.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.23 Accounts of Charges to Other Counties for Maintenance of their Residents
October 1811-March 1887
8 volumes, no index
This record series is composed of three account books, January 1815-December 1864, and five "blotters" or day books, October 1811-March 1887. Under account headings for township and/or county responsible for inmates are listed charges incurred for their support (each entry showing date, inmate's name, board and clothing supplied and costs) balanced against notations of payment received from those other jurisdictions. They include a journal listing of expenses incurred from which entries posted to the accounts.
The earliest blotters, October 1811-January 1824, include other debts owned to the Alms House and credits which presumably were posted to other accounts. Blotter for the years, May 1881 - March 1887, also included personal data such as age, place of birth, previous employment, and circumstances which led to becoming inmate in Alms House.
Missing: Account Books for June 1832 - January 1837 and October 1848 - February 1849, and Blotters for December 1873 - April 1887.
For similar records, April 1887 - June 1913, see Bureau of Charities, Alms House, County Case Book and Pay Patients.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.24 Non-Resident Register
1834-1873
3 volumes, no index
Entries list pauper's name, date of admission, ward to which assigned, place of determinined official residence, not as to whether or not "examined", date of leaving House.
Volumes 1849-1873 add pauper's race, dates of examination, date place of residence notified and when, and if, acknowledged.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.25 Department and Ward Census
1807(?)-1887
4 volumes, no index
First volume contains census of House taken 1807(?), 1810(?), which lists, under department headings, paupers' names, age, birthplace, residence, length of time in Alms House, occupation, type of work done in House.
A partial volume of October 1812 presents, under individual department headings, a rough pencilled list of names only, a few entries of which add race.
Volume 1864-1874 contains reports compiled at two to five week intervals which present, under individual ward headings, totals only of admissions, birthds, deaths, discharges, escapes, bindings out, total number in entire House at noon of day of report and for same day of previous year.
Volume 1887-1904 lists daily totals only in each ward.
For similar records, 1887 - 1913, see Bureau of Charities, Hospital Department and Ward Census.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.26 Daily Census
1861-1887
3 volumes, no index
Entries list totals only of numbers of admissions, discharges, escapes, deaths, births, bindings out and number in House each day.
For similar records, 1887-1920, see Bureau of Charities, Daily Census.
For similar records, 1920-1922, see Department of Public Health, Philadelphia General Hospital, Daily Census.

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.27 Male Escapes and Deaths
1857-1877
5 volumes, no index
Monthly listings of escapes and deaths. Entries include name and date only.
For similar records of escapes 1878-1918, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Male Elopements and Bureau of Charities, Alms House, Male Elopements.
For similar records of death 1897-1909, see Bureau of Charities, Alms House, Record of Deaths, Male.

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.28 Male Elopements
1878-1887
2 volumes, no index
Entries include name and race of person eloping Alms House ward eloped from, dates of elopement and admission, and indication whether the person was an adult or child.
For similar records, 1857-1877, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Male Escapes and Deaths.
For similar records 1887-1918, see Bureau of Charities, Alms House, Male Elopements.

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.29 Female Elopements and Deaths
1861-1877
3 volumes, no index
Monthly listings, entries include name and date only.
For similar records of elopements 1878-1885, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Female Elopements. For similar records of deaths 1878-1901, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Female Deaths, and Bureau of Charities, Alms House, Female Deaths.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.30 Female Elopements
1878-1885
1 volume, no index
Entries include name and race, dates of elopement and admission, Alms House ward eloped from, and indication whether person eloping was an adult or child.
For similar records 1861-1877, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Female Elopements and Deaths.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.31 Female Deaths
1878-1887
2 volumes, no index
Entries include name and race of deceased, an indication whether she was an adult or child, dates of admission and of death, and Alms House Ward where deceased was resident at time of death.
For similar records, 1861-1877 and 1878-1901, see Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Female Elopements and Deaths, and Bureau of Charities, Alms House, Female Deaths.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.32 Black Book
July 1810-March 1887; missing: January 1821-August 1823, July 1834-December 1879
11 volumes, no index
Entries vary in form but list, essentially, inmate's name, offense for which punished and date.
Volume 1810-1811 indicates punishment by detention in cells.
Volumes 1814-1820 and 1880-1887 describe offense but give no indication of method of punishment.
Volumes 1823-1834 indicate punishment by stoppage of liberty from House grounds.
Volumes 1883-1887, 1882-1887 indicate disbarrment from House.
Volumes 1883-1887show stoppage of liberty retained as a lesser form of punishment.
Volumes 1882-1887 add inmate's race, age, birthplace, and, occasionally, number of times admitted to House. Volumes 1830-1834 includes male misdemeanants only.
For similar records 1887-1912, see Bureau of Charities, Black Book.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.33 Cell Docket
June 1, 1829 - May 18, 1846
2 volumes, no index
For each inmate in punishment cells entries list name, race, offense, person or department responsible for commitment to cells, and dates of confinement and discharge.
Volume October 1834-May 1846 includes only male inmates.
Entries September 1833-March 1834 add totals of inmates admitted to cells and totals remaining, deceased or discharged. (Between December 1833 and September 1834 totals also include number of inmates suffering from mania a potu.)
Entries September 1833-October 1834 add inmate's age, name of physicians in attendance, and occasional entries of cell keeper's name.
Entries November 1833-January 1834 indicate time of day admitted.
For the years 1832-1833 the Docket includes inventories of articles received and for 1832 there is included a list of articles sent to "almshouse over Schuylkill" (Blockley Almshouse).
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.34 Register, Applicants for Employment
1885
1 volume, no index
For each applicant, entry lists his name, date registered, occupation, person by whom recommended, dates appointed and discharged; "remarks" include position appointed to, reason for discharge.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.35 Register of Employees
ca. 1883-1887
1 volume, no index
Entries list employee's name (some are House inmates), position assigned and salary; date, if discharge.
For similar records, 1887-1895, see Bureau of Charities, Employee Register.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.36 Library Register
January 1817-April 1887; missing: January 1876-May 1879
3 volumes, no index
Entries list book's title, catalogue number, dates borrowed and returned.
Vols. January 1817-December 1876, for medical books only, adds borrower's signature and a note of deposit left for books, and also includes a printed list of rules and regulations of the Library, issued by the Hospital's library committee, 1836.
Vol. June 1879-April 1887, for general reading only, adds borrower's ward or position.
for similar records, April 1887-November 1887, see Bureau of Charities, Library Register.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.37 Register of "Liberty of the Gate" and Passes from Ground
April 1823-March 1887; missing: January 1832-October 1841, September 1844-October 1872
15 volumes, no index
Entries vary in form but list, essentially, pauper's name, and date of liberty, or date on which put on list for regular monthly or weekly pass. Violations during liberty are also noted.
Vol. February 1884-June 1886 adds notes of items taken from House by pauper on pass.
for similar records, April 1887-October 1905, see Bureau of Charities, Register of "Liberty of the Gate" and Passes from Ground.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.38 Visitors Register
1884-1887
1 volume, no index
Entries list date, visitor's name, residence (usually only city or town, although street addresses are entered occasionally), name of Board member by whom pass issued.
For similar records 1887-1895, see Bureau of Charities, Visitors' Register, Alms House and Hospital.
For entries 1921-1923 see Department of Public Health, Philadelphia General Hospital, Visitors Register.

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.39 Daily Discharge Record
1885-1887
1 volume, no index
Total numbers only of discharges, broken down by men, women, boys, girls, and each group by race; all groups totalled monthly (Bound with volume 1887-1901 of Record Series 65.51).
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.40 Elopements, Blockley Almshouse
February 1876-February 1882
1 volume, no index
Entries include inmate's name, date of elopement, ward eloped from, date of readmission, ward sent to and remarks.
For similar records, 1888-1913, see Bureau of Charities, Elopements, Blockley Almshouse.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
35-3-4.41 Inmates, Black Women's Cellar
May 16, 1826 - June 22, 1832
1 volume, no index
Entries list date of admission, name of inmate, name of nurse in charge of ward, and remarks such as indications of death, discharge, transfer or elopement with occasional entry of date when these actions took place.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Last updated on November 9, 2000