Naaman H. Keyser History of Old Germantown. Manuscript notes for v. 2 (unpublished typewritten text).
Germantown Historical Society

"A Belated Book-Review"
Germantown Crier, p. 61

"In 1907, Naaman H. Keyser published History of Old Germantown, Volume I (Germantown, Horace F. McCann; p.) with the apparent expectation of shortly following it with Volume II. Volume I consists of a number of essays, written by various authors, and a survey of historic structures on - and sometimes off - Germantown Avenue, from Negley's (or Nagley's) Hill as far as Chelten Avenue. Keyser's survey includes the 'old' house numbers (i.e., before citywide renumbering in 1894 on the 'decimal' plan of 100 numbers per block), and the 'new,' notes on early owners of the properties, recollections of aged inhabitants, and Keyser's own acquaintance with the occupants. Volume I is one of the half-dozen printed textbooks of Germantown history. While not infallible, it is an invaluable storehouse of local lore.

"On Keyser's death in 1922, much of his antiquarian and family material came to this Society, including two or three typewritten drafts of Volume II. Over the years, Volume II was cannibalized into various other scrapbooks, and otherwise distributed according to topic. The remainder - some 160 pages more or less - were stuffed into a carton with unrelated material. We owe their discovery to the unflagging curiosity of James M. Duffin.

"Considerable effort has gone into sorting, assembling, and photocopying the carbon flimsies onto acid-free paper, and compiling a computer index. The result is repetitious, confusing, and thoroughly exasperating - until the reader stumbles over a long-sought fact or an anachronistic anecdote...

"Volume II ends at Carpenter Lane, with a notice of 'Phil- Ellena,' George W. Carpenter's palatial residence. As far as we know, Keyser had not assembled the illustrations for Volume II - he notes somewhere that the cost of illustration would have been 'prohibitive.' However, most of the structures mentioned are represented in the photograph and sketch collections of the Society Archives.

"We hope that researchers will make use of this newly rediscovered reference tool."


Note that Keyser resided at 33 High Street.

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