Pennsylvania Senate: The Early Years

Pennsylvania Senate: The Early Years

Did you know that the first Legislative Journals of the Senate were printed in both the English and German languages?

This practice ensured all citizens of the Commonwealth had comprehensive access to the valuable legislative record. Indeed, detailed accounts of the Senate's inaugural Session and early proceedings would be lost if not for being preserved in the legislative record.

This case celebrates the early years of the Senate of Pennsylvania as seen in the Senate's valuable legislative record, giving visitors the chance to step back in time over two hundred years and experience the creation of the Pennsylvania Senate for themselves.

  • A map of Philadelphia and parts adjacent, with a perspective view of the State House, Nicholas Schull and G. Heap. ca. 1752. Reproduced from an original held in the collections of the Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress, #G3824.P5 1752.S3.
  • Legislative Journal of the Pennsylvania Senate, 1798-1799. German language print. On loan from State Library of Pennsylvania, Rare Books Collection.
  • Legislative Journal of the Pennsylvania Senate, Session of 1790. English language print. On loan from State Library of Pennsylvania, Rare Books Collection.


The Senate Library's goal for this exhibition is to have all visitors experience a journey – from the Senate of the past to the Senate of today – learning the following along the way:

  • Since its creation in 1790, the Senate of Pennsylvania has strived to meet the legislative needs of the Commonwealth’s citizens.
  • The Institutional work completed by the Pennsylvania Senate is historically valuable and currently relevant, and supports past and current legislatures.
  • Historically, the Senate Library has been indispensably involved with the Institutional legislative operations of the Senate.
  • Currently, the Senate Library serves the legislature and the public as a reference library and gatekeeper of the Senate’s Institutional and legislative past.
  • The leadership of the Senate has evolved over time to reflect the needs of an ever-changing Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania Academic Standards (met in whole or in part by the Senate Library's exhibitions)

Note: *The text for the standards are written (with the occasional exception of field-specific language) at the sixth grade level, hence the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Grade 6 are used to support the exhibitions.

Exhibition Team

  • Megan Martin, Secretary and Parliamentarian of the Senate
  • Evelyn Andrews, Librarian of the Senate
  • Jess Rodic, Assistant Secretary of the Senate
  • Sarah Greenwald, Curator and Project Manager, Office of the Secretary of the Senate
  • Donna Wheeler, Administrative Assistant, Senate Library
  • George Soule, Administrative Assistant, Senate Library
  • Amy Gregory, Legal Intern, Office of the Secretary of the Senate

Other Organizations and Individuals: Kathy Hale, Government Documents Librarian, Pennsylvania State Library; Iren Snavely, Rare Books Librarian, Pennsylvania State Library; Kevin Spangenberg, Librarian, Pennsylvania State Library.