The Centre County Historical Society has, over the years, acquired archival collections which provide primary source materials for those interested in researching or writing about the history of the county. The online collections list includes brief entries about the various collections and links to more in-depth finding aids for selected collections.

Of special note to researchers:
Researchers wishing to use archival records or the library at the Centre Furnace Mansion for their research work, please make an appointment at 814-234-4779 or email us at to set up an appointment – even one day advance notice is very helpful. Better yet, email ahead with detailed information about what you are looking for so a volunteer or staff member can have needed time to prepare materials for your visit. We have a small staff and this helps us to help you.
The Centre County Historical Society has limited genealogical records in its archives and library. Though genealogy is not a primary focus for our collecting, we do have records and information that may be useful. Please check the genealogy resources page for additional information.
Research Requests:
Volunteers and staff can help with limited research.  Please submit your requests by email, if possible, to: and provide us with as much detail as possible about your request. Currently, CCHS does not charge for limited research [up to an hour], but we do suggest a donation to the Centre County Historical Society.  For research that will require additional time, there is a $25.00 per hour fee.
Scans and copies are for personal and/or educational use only at a suggested donation of $.50 per page.

Research articles available on our website include:

  • Architecture
    Centre County architecture & research bibliography
  • Centre County History
    Centre County Townships & Boroughs, ABC’s of Centre County’s Places and Spaces
  • Links
    Links to Centre County and PA history, arts, culture & heritage conservation resources, local directories and events, libraries and more
  • Her Stories
    This project began in 2000 when the State College Branch of AAUW provided funding for research to learn more about the role of women in the development of Centre County.
  • Iron History
    The Manufacture of Charcoal Iron at Centre Furnace, Glossary of terms and a look at the iron workers
  • Centre Furnace Mansion History
    Centre Furnace Mansion residents and restoration
  • Maps
    Centre County’s Townships and Boroughs
  • Penn State History
    James Irvin Letter and Brief PSU History
  • Thompson Family History
    Thompson family and Centre Furnace residents
  • Benner Commerce Park, Phase III Final Report – Valentine Iron Ore Washing Plant
    View the historical background and archaeological findings prepared by Heberling Associates, Inc.  Methodology, setting, ironmaking process, Valentine & Thomas family ironworks, Valentine iron ore washing plant, plus appendices with additional data, diagrams, images, maps, references.
  • Mansion Notes
    A collection of CCHS published newsletters containing CCHS event information, photos, collections and archives research


The archives and library of the Centre County Historical Society are not the only resources one should consult for historical primary source materials about Centre County.

Centre County Library & Historical Museum
Pennsylvania Room

203 N. Allegheny Street
Bellefonte, PA 16823
(814) 355-1516 x214

The collections include a wide variety of primary source materials, although much of the use of the collection is oriented towards genealogical research. Collections of value in family history original marriage, death, and tax records; local newspapers, censuses, county histories, family histories, the Spangler Genealogical Papers, and the J. Marvin Lee Genealogical Collection.

Penn State University Libraries

  • Digital Collections Library
    Many resources related to Centre County are available for viewing online, including Penn State’s student newspaper The Daily Collegian, John Blair Linn’s History of Centre and Clinton Counties, and more.
  • Arts & Humanities Library
    2nd floor Pattee Library | (814) 865-6481
    The general stacks of the main library at the University Park campus provides many resources for historical research including reference books, scholarly journals, and monographs. Some historical documents have been reprinted in scholarly editions and are also cataloged in the stacks. The Pennsylvania History website is a useful resource for all researchers.
  • Special Collections Library
    1st floor Paterno Library | (814) 865-7931
    The Special Collections Library includes a wide variety of Centre County-related publications and primary source materials. There are reference books, printed histories, maps and other published resources, as well as a wide variety of archival materials including correspondence, diaries, business and industrial records, photographs, and institutional records of various types. The University Archives is part of Special Collections and has a very large collection of materials documenting the history of the University. Most of these materials can be found in The Cat, the Libraries’ on-line catalog and many have more extensive descriptions available through the Special Collections website.