MG 501 - Egle, William Collection

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of two types of items - those which appear to have been collected by Dr. Egle over the years and those items which Dr. Egle compiled or wrote himself. In addition, an item was added to the collection in recent years which was a memorial to his son, Beverly Waugh Egle. The items collected include early 1800 almanacs; weather diaries from 1877 to 1883; a 1792 map of Pennsylvania with names of property owners; the minute and account book of the Harrisburgh and Presque Isle Company, 1796-1800; booklet on the origin of Freemasonry, 1873; the History of the Presbyterian Church, 1730-1876; correspondence, 1880-1900; and a broadside concerning passenger crowding at rush hour, a notice by A. J. Greenough, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The items compiled or written by him include a volume, "Art Work of Harrisburg - The City of Harrisburg-on-the-Susquehanna," 1892, and fifteen scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, brochures, invitations, biographies, genealogical notes, marriages, births, deaths, local history, Pennsylvania history, and miscellaneous historical and literary writings in the 1800's and early 1900's.

Two volumes of an early edition of "Notes and Queries" Third Series have been added to the collection.


William Henry Egle was born in September, 1830 in Harrisburg. His ancestors settled in Pennsylvania prior to 1740. He was educated in the public and private schools of Harrisburg and at the Harrisburg Military Institute under the famed Capt. Alden Partridge. He spent some time in newspaper publishing, but in 1857 he entered the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1859. He established himself in practice in Harrisburg, but in 1862 went to Washington to assist in the care of the wounded. He was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 96th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Later President Lincoln appointed him surgeon of volunteers and he served in various positions until 1865 when he resigned the service and returned to Harrisburg to resume his practice. In 1887 Governor Beaver appointed him State Librarian and he was reappointed to this position for some years. He served as medical officer of the National Guard of Pennsylvania. He developed an early taste for historical research and when he retired from the Army in 1865 began work on historical publications. Principal among his many histories is "Notes and Queries," four series of historical, biographical and genealogical information relating to Pennsylvania. He was, also, co-editor of the Pennsylvania Archives, second series, volumes I to XII and editor of the same series, volumes XIII to XIX, and editor of the third series as well. Lafayette College conferred upon Dr. Egle a honorary degree for his service in American history in 1878. He held membership in a number of historical societies and literary organizations as well as medical societies and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. He died in 1901.

Date(s): 1792-1900

Extent: 4 boxes, 37 enclosures