Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes - Archived Historical Editions


One of our most popular questions at the Reference Desk at Jenkins involves finding old versions of the Pennsylvania Statutes. The people we help often need to know how a section of Purdon's read in a specific year, since a case may hinge upon the language of the statute at a particular time. In other instances, researchers are working on a project where they need to see how the law changed over a certain period. 

In our Rare Book Room we have the print versions of the statutes going back to 1930 (when the statutes were codified) and the pocket parts from 1969 forward.  This means that if you need to see, for example, how 42 PACSA 5521 looked in 1981 or how 18 PS 4836 read in 1971, we can help. Usually you will need to use an older main volume + the appropriate pocket part.

Starting in 1988 for Westlaw and 1991 for Lexis, older versions of the statutes are also available electronically.  When looking at an entire chapter, though, it is still sometimes helpful to use the print.

For assistance using historical versions of Pennsylvania Statutes, call the research department at 215.474.1505 or email us at For information on how to access older versions of the statutes on Westlaw and Lexis, see our research guide, Pennsylvania Statutes.