Established in 1968, the Pennsylvania Collection began as an outgrowth of a plan to have an oildom memorial for the late John F. and Margaret H. Budke, longtime supporters of the library who had an interest in the history of this region. Funds contributed as memorials to the Budkes were used to expand the library’s existing oil book collection. These books combined with Pennsylvania sources from the library formed the Pennsylvania Collection.
Much of the collection was assembled through the efforts of Helen Ray, historian at the library until 1991. In 1976, a little-used room on the second floor of the library was designated to be the location of this special collection, and named “The Pennsylvania Room. The collection quickly grew beyond the walls of the Room, and some materials were relocated into the reference section of the library. The Pennsylvania Room remained upstairs until 1993 when it was moved to its present location in the basement of the library.
The Pennsylvania Collection is not just for the historian or genealogist. It contains many unique items that have a broad range of appeal, from wildlife to folklore to cookbooks, but all with a Pennsylvania theme.