The National Archives at Philadelphia

Notice to Researchers:

Important information regarding availability of records at the National Archives at Philadelphia.
More. . .

Historical Research

Original Records

The National Archives at Philadelphia has more than 65,000 cubic feet of archival records, including paper documents, photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, dating from 1789 to 1980s. These court, civilian, and military archival records were created or received by nearly 80 Federal agencies and the Federal courts in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Federal law requires agencies to transfer historic archival records to NARA.

Subjects covered include, but are not limited to, the region's lighthouses, landmark Federal court cases, railroads, school desegregation, Chinese exclusion acts, fugitive slave laws, national parks and historic sites, merchant marines, violations of Federal laws such as tax evasion and smuggling, and the work of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Selected finding aids, including a comprehensive guide to archival records, are available by mail and the NARA web site. The public may visit the archives facility in person, or contact us by telephone, mail, or e-mail. Visitors who wish to use archival records should call in advance.

NARA Researcher ID Cards

To use archival records, visitors must present a NARA researcher identification card. Applicants must show official identification with a photograph, such as a driver's license, passport, school, or business ID. Applicants must complete a form providing their name, address, telephone number, and a brief description of their research. NARA researcher ID cards are valid for 1 year. They may be renewed.

Top of Page

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.


In addition to unique archival records, the archives facility has a large collection of NARA microfilm publications. The microfilm reproduces records for the study of history, economics, public administration, political science, law, ethnology, genealogy, and other subjects. Subjects include relating to U.S. diplomacy, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Native American-Government relations, westward expansion, and World War II.

Our self-service microfilm readers and microfilm printers are available without an appointment. We may impose time limits if a waiting list develops. Researchers using microfilm do not need a NARA researcher ID card.


The Archives facility has self-service paper copiers and microfilm copiers.

Fees for photocopying:

  • Self-service paper copies, $0.25 per page
  • Self-service microfilm copies, $0.60 per page
  • Staff-made copies, $0.80 per page with $20.00 minimum
  • Certification of copies, $15.00
  • Naturalization records, $10.00
The National Archives at Philadelphia >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272