There are a surprising number of books with information about Eastern State and its inhabitants.

  • Bibliography
    This is a list of several books regarding Eastern State and penology created by our supporters. Click here to see the books available through our online store.
  • Google Books
    In addition to searching on your own, be sure to check out The Annual Reports of the Inspectors (1830-1917). These books often give information about inmates by their number and you can access them for free. At Google Books, type in "annual report of the inspectors," (use quotation marks) and the first link will be an edition of the report. Click “more editions” for the full run of what’s available. You may be able to determine the inmate’s number by looking at these reports. The University of Pennsylvania has additional years and hard copies of many of these books. Click here for UPenn’s library catalog. Search for “Annual report of the Eastern State Penitentiary” (use quotation marks) to see the record. Also at Google Books, type in “a concise history of the eastern penitentiary,” (use quotation marks) and you’ll see the minority report of an investigation of the penitentiary published in 1835 by Thomas McElwee (ESP staff often refers to this document at “The McElwee Report”). This book provides an in-depth look into the general conditions of the penitentiary in its early years. At Google Books, type in "warden cassidy on prisons," (use quotation marks) and you’ll see a book written by Warden Michael Cassidy in 1897. This document contains a lot of information about the penitentiary in general in 1897 as well as some photographs.
  • Library Company of Philadelphia
    The Library Company houses a collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art.
  • Your Local Library
    Click the link above to find the library nearest to you. Make sure you let the librarian know what you’re looking for: he or she might have more helpful tips!