Francis "Frank" Blase Jr. (1938-1999) was a Pennsylvania resident was devoted to local and coal mining history. He was a member of the Lansdale Historical Society (Montgomery County, Pa.) and founded the North Penn Historical Library (Montgomery County, Pa.) and the Research Library for Coal Mining (Pottsville, Pa.). The Frank Blase collection on North Penn History, 1884-1997, consists almost entirely of newspaper clippings, with a few original photographs (circa 1900-1915), handwritten notes, and pamphlets. The collection focuses on the North Penn region of Montgomery County (near Lansdale, Pa.); parts of Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania are also covered in the collection.
"Francis "Frank" Blase Jr., 61, of West Rockhill Township, retired owner of a sign company who devoted himself to regional history, died [in 1999] of cancer at the Rockhill Mennonite Community's Skilled Nursing Unit in West Rockhill.
"Following an interest in commercial and industrial arts he had developed in high school, Mr. Blase worked for a local furniture-restoration company and then for a sign-manufacturing firm. In 1957, he founded Blase Sign Co., of which he was owner-operator until retiring in 1991. "As a member and former president of the Lansdale Historical Society, he founded the North Penn Historical Library and was librarian until his death. He also founded the Research Library for Coal Mining, in Pottsville, and wrote a weekly "Coal Company Histories" series for the Pottsville Republican for several years. He also wrote Heebner & Sons, Pioneers of Farm Machinery in America, a book on
the firm and the Lansdale area..."Perhaps because the history of coal country is dominated by struggle and poverty, he found that the people of the region were not big talkers. But an old mining engineer led him to Reading Anthracite Co. in Pottsville, and from boxes tucked away on dusty shelves, and from vaults and warehouses untouched for a half century, he found property deeds dating to the 1740s and employment records for about 100,000
miners, dating to the 1870s. He had, in fact, discovered the resources for the coal-mining museum. "Mr. Blase, a native of Ashland in Schuylkill County, attended Ashland High School through ninth grade and graduated from the former North Wales High School in 1955. He completed a blacksmith course at Philadelphia College of Art, focusing on reproduction of hardware for furniture. He served in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Mr. Blase resided in Hatfield Township and North Wales for many years before moving to West Rockhill in 1970."
Quoted text from: Drill, Herb. "Francis 'Frank' Blase Jr., 61; Devoted To Coal Country's History." Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1999. Accessed March 16, 2012. http://articles.philly.com/1999-08-25/
Scope and Contents
This collection is made up almost entirely of newspaper clippings, with a few original photographs (circa 1900-1915), handwritten notes, and pamphlets included. The collection focuses on the North Penn region of Montgomery County (near Lansdale, Pa.); parts of Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania are also covered in the collection. The clippings are organized into folders by location, and sometimes by subject.
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories.