PHILADELPHIA

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS). To celebrate, PHS is sharing seasonal images from Pearl, its online archives, over social media.

During the 12 Days of Christmas, from December 14 to December 25, PHS will post one digitized image per day. PHS made 4,500 collection items available in 2017 through Pearl, which researchers around the world can explore using desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. PHS recently introduced 30 new subject-themed collections to Pearl, including “Christmas in the Archives.”

The 12 Days images will include photographs from the Sheldon Jackson collection, a project made possible through a partnership with the Alaska Library Network, and from the recently processed Margaret Purchase Papers.

Sheldon Jackson (1834-1909) founded churches and missions throughout the American West and Alaska. The Sheldon Jackson collection includes journals, correspondence, and photographs relating to Jackson’s work for the Board of National Missions and his efforts to raise awareness about Alaska among Presbyterians and the U.S. government. In February, PC(USA) leaders apologized to Alaska’s native communities for the Church’s past affiliation with the “civilization” school settlement philosophy.

Jackson is credited with introducing reindeer to Alaska, a feat represented by the many photographs of Rangifer tarandus in Pearl.

Margaret Purchase (1926-2009) served as a missionary in Iraq from 1956 to 1969. She taught English, Bible, and physical education at the American School for Girls in Baghdad (later renamed Baghdad High School in Mansour), where she also served as principal. The Margaret Purchase Papers document her missionary service in Iraq and Lebanon, as well as her post-retirement activism that increased understanding of Islam and the Middle East in the United States.

This year’s PHS Christmas Card include five images from the Margaret Purchase papers, along with scripture from the Book of Luke.

The 12 Days of Christmas images can be viewed on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, where visitors are encouraged to share their own Christmas season images and messages of hope for the New Year.