A tasty testament to Philadelphia’s past helps mark archives month

 Springerle cookies (image via <a href-German Society of Pennsylvania) " title="springerle-copy" width="640" height="360"/>

Springerle cookies (image via German Society of Pennsylvania)

All over the country, libraries, museums, colleges and other repositories are showing off their collections to mark American Archives Month.

Philadelphia, of course, has a long history and a wide range of archives, and Archives Month Philly has dozens of events planned all over the region.

But don’t think it’s just old books and dusty documents. 

When you say “archive,” it might conjure an image of a quiet library or endless file cabinets in the basement. Hillary Kativa said the Delaware Valley Archivists Group is out to change that, with Archives Month Philly.

“It’s a time for us to celebrate the work that archivists do and to show off some really cool stuff from our collections,” she said.

While many presenters are historians and librarians, one event highlights a private collection.

“I’ve been collecting cookie molds for about 10 years,” said Ryan Berley, co-owner of Shane’s Confectionery in Philadelphia.

His collection focuses on springerle, a tradition that German immigrants brought to Philadelphia beginning in the 18th century.

“It’s a biscuitlike cake that has a pictorial image on it,” Berley said. “Most of them have flora and fauna, a couple show different styles of buildings.”

The collection, Berley said, preserves a slice of Philadelphia history.

“Absolutely. Telling the stories of industry in our city, telling the stories of the bakers, the confectioners that made these things,” he said.

Berley will be talking about the history of cookie molds and showing off his collection at the German Society of Pennsylvania on Monday evening. 

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