Building a more complete local archive

Posted 2/8/24

The Chestnut Hill Conservancy continues to build archival material and is asking residents for help.

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Building a more complete local archive


The Chestnut Hill Conservancy continues to build archival material about the wide range of people who have lived in Northwest Philadelphia and is now asking residents for help finding records and information about the many Black Philadelphians who made this neighborhood their home. 

"One of the wonderfully unique things about the Conservancy's Archive is just how locally full its history is, from a house call in 1910 to the triumphs of a local legend like Grace Kelly," said Tatiana Paden, executive office and archives coordinator. "We aim to capture the subtle narratives of as many individuals as possible, encompassing the experiences of the local Black community. Every person deserves to have their life properly immortalized for future generations.”

The conservancy is asking that anyone in the Chestnut Hill community who has any old photographs, newspapers, letters, and ephemera associated with the Black community consider adding them to the Chestnut Hill Conservancy's archives, Paden said.

The existing archive, however, does contain a surprising amount of information. 

And this week, in celebration of Black History Month, the Conservancy introduces a part of that archive with local basketball legend Vincene “Vinnie” Morris, a 1994 Philadelphia University Athletic Hall of Fame inductee who was a three-time All-America selection while playing for Philadelphia "Textile" University's women's basketball team, now the Jefferson University Rams.

Morris, named All-American from 1984-1986, holds the single-season rebound record with 374 in 1983-84. She scored a total of 2,180 points, making her the second-highest scorer in the school's history and fourth all-time with 148 blocked shots and 209 steals. 

After she graduated, Morris became a Philadelphia Police officer, made a career on the force and eventually retired with the rank of sergeant. As a certified field training officer, she taught and supervised police personnel on community policing and conflict resolution. 

Morris concluded her policing career as a supervisor of the 23 Police Athletic League (PAL) centers throughout Philadelphia, which provided a safe haven for children in high-crime areas with structured programming, educational assistance, and athletic experiences.

Later, Morris relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she became a successful real estate broker.  Her focus is on helping people from underrepresented communities to buy, sell and rent properties throughout North and South Carolina. 

Although she is no longer a Philadelphia resident, Morris remains a devoted Eagles fan and proudly represents her Philly pride to this day.

For further information on donating objects to our collections, please contact Liz Jarvis at or Alex Bartlett at