Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia is the Northeast Regional Archives (Region 7) for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It is a part of a network of nine regional archives programs and a national level (churchwide) archives in the ELCA. Our service area is limited to Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Metropolitan New York City, and New England. We carry on the work of our predecessors in the first Lutheran Church organization in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States, founded on August 15, 1748 by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. The archives was recognized as a part of the church organization in 1792.

The Archives has been housed on the campus of the Philadelphia Seminary since 1889 and is located in the undercroft of the new Brossman Learning Center.The Archives collections are now completely contained in a large vault area with compact shelving, now better organized. A reference library room provides books frequently used, as well as space for researchers to work in comfortable surroundings. The Archives office is across the hall. The seminary has provided the new space for the present and the future.

The Synod Archivist assists in and is responsible for the transfer of archival materials from closed congregations to the Lutheran Archives Center. Consequently, the closing congregation will want to be in close communication with the Synod Archivist in terms of the preparation and packaging of its materials for delivery to the Archives Center, as well the payment of the fees required for the processing and perpetual care of the parish archives at the Center. 

Click here to download a brochure detailing what LACAP does when a congregation closes.

An excerpt from "A Guided Tour through Our History" (Spring 1987):

Although celebration of the 10th anniversary of the formal incorporation of the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadel­phia must await the year 1989, we note with satisfaction that the joint archival work in which the Center is engaged has gone on now for ten years and has grown into one of the most vigorous and successful regional archives programs among the various Lutheran bodies in the United States. 1987 marks a decade of archival cooperation and support on the part of five Synods of the Lutheran Church in America (Southeastern Pennsylvania, Northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Upper New York, Slovak Zion) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. We also note with satisfaction that the Archives Center enters its second decade of service with the New England Synod as one of its members. Transfer of the New England Synod Archives to the Archives Center has now been completed and full participation of the Synod in the work, support and management of the Center has begun.

Click here to read more about the history of LACAP.

Lutheran Archives Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1 to 4 p.m., by appointment. Telephone calls are taken ONLY during these hours. Because of time and financial limitations, we CANNOT respond by telephone to any voice mail telephone messages.

We welcome readers to visit us and conduct their own research. It is best to inform us when you plan to visit so we can provide efficient service. Hours other than the regular schedule can be arranged when necessary if contact is made well in advance.

The fee for on-site genealogical research is $10.00 per day. Photocopies under staff supervision are available at prevailing rates. We are able to offer research services at $35.00 per hour. We generally limit searches to three hours and require that sufficient information be available to create a high probability of a successful search.