Independence Seaport Museum

J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library

211 South Columbus Blvd. and Walnut Street
Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-413-8640 voice
Hours: The Library welcomes visitors Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment only.
Staff: To schedule an appointment please contact the library staff at, or call 215.413.8640.

Library, Archives and Museum. The J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library at Independence Seaport Museum is a regional maritime research center, offering resources that document Philadelphia's relationship with its rivers and the greater Delaware River Valley. 

Independence Seaport Museum’s Archives and Library is one of the nation’s finest regional maritime research facilities, offering an impressive range of materials widely used by historians, authors, genealogists, teachers, students, sailors, filmmakers, boat and model builders, and the merely curious from all over the world.

The Library houses more than 15,000 volumes, 9,000 ship plans and a significant collection of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps and charts.  Collection strengths include naval science and architecture, area shipyards, nautical instrument manufacture, early U.S. Navy, port development, seamen's welfare and education. The collection spans from the late eighteenth century to the present.  

Our holdings are cataloged on OCLC's WorldCat, available via FirstSearch or  More detailed information on some archival collections, such as manuscripts and photographs, are available on our website.