We Are Working On A New Website Design

Our new website is coming soon. Bear with us for a little bit as we work out the kinks. Thanks.

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Thomas McKean Collection is coming to Hershey

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer

The [ Free Library of Philadelphia] announced Monday that it is selling the collection to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Southwest Philadelphia and the Antique Automobile Club of America Library in Hershey.

It will be known as the Thomas McKean Collection, named for the collector of auto manuals and ephemera who started what’s now a cache of more than 100,000 items, also including advertising literature, technical bulletins, photographs, books, journals, and historic license plates.

“It’s the single best collection of owners’ manuals in the world. For people who own classic cars, that’s a great resource,” said Steve Moskowitz, who noted that the AACA is building a new library facility to house its portion of the archive, where collectors and restorers can get hyper-accurate information on how to keep their cars in pristine shape.

Read the whole article from the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

Visit Us

Monday through Saturday

8 AM – 4 PM

We are currently closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Please email us if you have any questions. Thank you.

Location

501 W. Governor Rd
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-2082

Research

The AACA Library and Research Center is open free to the public during our regular hours of operation for individual research. There are no fees for on-site research besides copies and digital scans.  

While visiting the library you can view any of our books or look at specific information regarding one of your cars or maybe just an automobile topic that you are interested in. For those of you that can’t make it out to the library in person, we offer off-site research available to anyone who is interested to be completed by library staff by using our contact form

Fees

Hourly Off-Site Research Fees

AACA Members – Free (first 1.5 hours of off-site research
Non-Members – $30/hr chargeable in units of $5 per 10 minutes

Photocopies and Digital Scans

$0.25 a page for B&W
$0.50 a page for Color
$1 per Digital Scan

Shipping and Processing

AACA Members Only Pay for Shipping and Copies/Scans
Non-Members must pay a Processing Fee of $10 to start the research and help cover shipping.

Our New Library and Headquarters
Opening in the Summer of 2020

AACA Library's Bookmobile

During the 1980s and 1990s, AACA Library staff and leadership had dreams of one day owning and operating an antique bookmobile. That dream became a reality in February 2011 when Anderson, SC resident and AACA Life Member Tom Gibson and Dave Bowman donated a custom bodied 1955 Chevrolet 3600 bookmobile that served residents of Anderson County, SC from 1956-1991. From 1991 – 2011 the bookmobile stood motionless in a parking garage until making the trip north to Pennsylvania in April 2011. Once in Pennsylvania the truck went to the restoration shop of Rick Hoover in Middletown, PA where it received a phenomenal off-frame restoration. The AACA Library Bookmobile is a regular fixture at AACA events and also non-AACA car events, including schools, parades, community centers and just about any place it is invited!

Visit the AACA Library’s Automotive Advertisement website. Once there you can browse ads from all eras featuring many different manufacturers and even accessory brands. These ads were one man’s collection that encompassed almost 12,000 ads. In the future we will be scanning ads from the AACA’s main collection to fill the holes that are missing to build up the online collection even more.  If a marque is missing or a little light, don’t fret as it should be filled in future as this will be an evolving process that will be updated frequently throughout the year. Enjoy!

Special Collections

In addition to housing our own collection, the AACA Library & Research Center houses the literature collections of several marque clubs. This is a win-win situation where our on-site holdings increase and marque clubs still maintain ownership of their material. Clubs rest easy by getting their valuable holdings into a facility that is secure, temperature/humidity controlled, and protected by fire suppression.

Philadelphia Library Collection

The AACA Library  has acquired Thomas McKean Collection from the The Free Library of Philadelphia in cooperation with the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Southwest Philadelphia. The collection will be split between the two organizations.

Thomas McKean Collection, named for the collector, consists of auto manuals and ephemera, advertising literature, technical bulletins, photographs, books, journals, and historic license plates. The collection is upwards of 100,000 items.

America’s premiere resource for the collectible vehicle community! Since its inception there has been something about the sight, sound, and feel of the automobile that stirs the imagination and the desire to experience the freedom of the open road. Whether it’s the clatter of the single cylinder brass era car or the heavy thumping of big block Detroit muscle cars that fuels the addiction, we are all kindred spirits. Vintage cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles are our bond.

Since 1935, AACA has had one goal: The preservation and enjoyment of automotive history of all types. From National Meets and Tours to Regional events, AACA is here to bring enthusiasts together through exciting National activities, friendship, and Antique Automobile… an award winning 100-page full color magazine.

We’re glad you found us. Stay and “nose” around our website and forums. We have something for everyone. You don’t have to own a vehicle or know how to turn a wrench. You can be involved at any level you wish. Whether it’s joining our judging teams, doing research in our vast library, or taking the family through the excitement of a National Meet or Tour, the possibilities are endless.

Zenith web

So, spend time with us and others sharing your passion. Join up. Its less than the price of a tank of gas and lasts all year. Then check out our Regions and Chapters to find one near you. Get behind the wheel of AACA. We know you’re going to love the ride.

AACA badge web
Sixth Annual Antique Automobile Derby- Reyburn Plaza, Philadelphia, PA November 12, 1926

Our Volunteers

There are always projects and tasks here at the library that we would love to receive help on.  Whether it be cross referencing donated materials, dating photos, or assisting in re-arranging materials there is always something to do around here and any help we can get is greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact our Head Librarian Chris Ritter.

Email   –   Chris Ritter
Phone  –   (717) 534-2082
Mail     –   501 W. Governor Rd. Hershey, PA 17033.

Some recently completed volunteer projects:

  • Sorting & dating literature donations
  • Digitizing magazine index sheets
  • Relocating collections within the library
  • Correcting online catalog entries
  • Contributing to AACA publications
  • Inventorying special collections
  • Organizing flat file cabinets
  • Display case development
  • General research assistance
  • Analyzing our 16mm film collection

Donations

As a 501 (c)(3) charitable nonprofit corporation, the AACA Library & Research Center appreciates your donations whether in the form of a bequest, gift of cash, collectibles or literature.  Gifts of vehicles and automotive collectibles are welcome. All contributions are deductible from state and federal income tax to the extent allowed by law.

View our Past Donors here.

Make a donation to the library here or contact us by phone – 717-534-2082

Endowment and Estate Planning

Literature and Other Material Donations

The AACA Library will accept donated material in the form of literature, books, artwork, manuals, periodicals, and even cars.  If we are unable to add donated material to our collection, due to duplication or if it is simply something that doesn’t fit our collection, the item will sell it to raise money for the library. At this time we are not accepting magazines published after 1955. After materials are received, the library will provide the donor with a letter acknowledging the donation.  This donation will recognize the number of items donated but will not provide an appraisal or estimate of the value of the donated material.

 

Fisher Body Craftsman Guild

The featured item is a part of the AACA Library & Research Center’s collection of hand made Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild model cars. The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild was a contest sponsored by General Motors from 1931-1968.  The program encouraged school-aged boys to build a Napoleanic Coach from plans (1931-1948) or design their own car concept (1937-1968) that adhered to program specifications.  Contest winners earned scholarships for college and the program was an important recruiting tool for the General Motors Styling Department.

View videos of our collection here.

Multimedia - Films, VHS, and More

View a list of our 16mm Films
35mm Film Image Reels
View a list of our VHS Tape Collection

We have a vast collection of multimedia items in our collection ranging from DVD’s, Marque Films, Training Film Strips, 16 mm Films, and more.

Mike's Movie Machine - 16mm Film Scanner

The AACA Library has built and modified a DIY film scanner. It was originally built to the specs of the Kinograph. Since the original build many improvements and modifications have been put in place including adding a step motor, new backlight, film gates, shutter delays, and other items to help get a more stable and clear image. We are currently digitizing our 16mm film collection and examples of these can be found on our youtube page and in the Video Playlist below.

3D Printers

The library currently has three 3D Printers on site including one UV resin printer. We are currently developing educational programming to implement our 3D printers.

Anycubic Photon - SLA Resin
Qidi X-Plus
Anycubic - I3 Mega

Interactive Automotive Models

The library has a growing collection of interactive 3D models showcasing how various cars and their components work. 

Build-A-Bookmobile

The Build-A-Bookmobile is a custom model using genuine LEGO® pieces. Model includes functional book box doors, a removable top for the cab to seat a driver, and optional build mods with included parts. It measures 6″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ when completed. This was a signed and numbered limited release of 55 units, 20 of which were bundled with minifigures of the AACA Librarian’s likenesses.. All of our sets were sold out within the first few days. This product came complete with professionally printed and designed building instructions, box art, and decals. We have digital instructions available if you have enough of your own LEGO bricks at home and if that isn’t an option you can order bricks through a LEGO resale site, Bricklink.com.

This model represents a homegrown effort. The finished build was designed by our Assistant Librarian and lifetime LEGO® fan, Matthew Hocker. Catalog Librarian, Mike Reilly, designed the box art and instruction booklet. Library Director, Chris Ritter, said “make it happen” and here we are today! We sincerely thank you for purchasing the AACA Library’s “Build-a-Bookmobile” custom LEGO® kit. This custom LEGO® kit consists of 100% genuine new and/or used LEGO® elements. It is neither produced by nor associated with the LEGO® Group.

Download Digital Instructions Here. 

Vehicles Owned by The AACA Library

The library has many cars in its collection including the following:

1955 Chevrolet Bookmobile
1914 Metz
1910 Brush
1940 Ford Deluxe
1955 Dodge
1931 Plymouth
1930 Graham
1926 Dodge Bros.
1936 Buick Roadmaster
1965 Lincoln Continental
1941 Dodge
1913 Ford Model T
1929 Ford Model A
1924 Overland
1929 Harley Davidson
1930 Lincoln
1921 Ford Model T