“The Bible” of the Philly Fire Department

Fireman’s Hall Museum houses one of the most precious artifacts of the Philadelphia Fire Department. The PFD “Bible” records the careers of every single person employed by the department from 1871 to 1955. The book itself measures 23 inches wide by 18 inches tall and about 2 inches thick.

The Philadelphia Fire Department 'Bible'

The Philadelphia Fire Department ‘Bible’

‘The Bible” of the PFD is the original personnel journal from the very first day of the paid fire department in Philly, March 15, 1871, up until 1955. The book is organized alphabetically so the two highlighted names in the photo below are among the first to be registered as part of the paid PFD (click the photo for a better look!)

First two men in the paid PFD

Page 1 of the ‘Bible’ with 2 of the first members of the paid department. These 2 men joined on March 15, 1871.

In 1955, the recording system changed to index cards and today there is a digital system used to record the careers of every person ever hired by the paid PFD.

A sample [page of the PFD 'Bible'

A sample page of the bible showing name, age, residence, occupation, position, station, date appointed and any notes about the person’s career.

The “Bible” records include everyone from  mechanics to matrons to secretaries. The records indicate every company served by any paid employee including dates of transfers, promotions and retirement.

It is an invaluable research tool for our genealogical research branch. If you are interested in tracing anyone who worked for or served the paid Philadelphia Fire Department visit our store site to place a research request!