Whether the several inches’ high pile of papers or the heap of photographs or the assortment of commendations, the William F. Adolph Jr. Collection in possession of the Delaware County Historical Society is testament to a man of much prestige and honor in Delaware County.
Adolph served his community for three decades in elected positions, first as Springfield Township commissioner, then as state representative of the 165th legislative district and finally as one of the most powerful positions in the General Assembly – Majority Chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee.
Adolph began his tenure after as a football coach complaining to township leaders about the conditions of North Avenue Park. It was at that juncture he was asked to join them.
In 1983, he became a township commissioner, eventually rising to president before leaving that position to accept his state representative role in 1988.
Adolph served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly from then until Nov. 30, 2016.
Upon his retirement, he donated a comprehensive amount of his political collection to the Delaware County Historical Society.
The voluminous stack of newspapers span the breadth of the representative’s career from a 1989 article about him petitioning then-state Secretary of Transportation Howard Yerusalim to consider the Adopt-A-Highway program to pictures of him with constituents to a 2009 article focused on a public hearing he co-hosted as part of his service on the House Professional Licensure Committee on Ponzi schemes.
There are a plethora of pictures of Adolph in the midst of his state elected duties, including images of him speaking at public engagements to his attendance at events to pictures of him interacting with constituents.
Various House Bills are among the collection, including the pens the governor used to sign them into law. One such is House Bill 2081 of 2014, introduced by Adolph that made changes to the law involving liability of employers when employees are injured.
A simple black-and-white metal placard affixed with the letters “H of R”, the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms and the words “William Adolph” is the sign used to reserve his parking space in Harrisburg when representatives’ spaces were identified specifically. Following Sept. 11, 2011, that practice was eliminated due to security concerns.
In the ample collection there are also sizable framed photographs taken at the start of each Legislative Session with all of the members present as well as a multitude of commemorative plaques that the revered representative received during his tenure.
The William F. Adolph Jr. Collection is in the ownership of the Delaware County Historical Society. Come see parts of the society’s collection on display at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The museum’s telephone number is 610-872-0502. Parking is free on the society lot behind the building or across the street in the municipal lot.
Membership in the Delaware County Historical Society ranges from $10 for students, $27 for individuals to $250 at the patron level. It includes free admission to the society’s Chester museum and library at 408 Avenue of the States, the society newsletter and preferred reservations and discounts for lectures and events. To join, please visit www.padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832.
The William F. Adolph Jr. Collection features many items from bills he penned that became law to his parking placard.