Research guides

Pennsylvania Statutes

Historical Statutes

Occasionally there is a need to see what a statute section looked like in a prior year. Lexis (beginning with 1991) and Westlaw (beginning with 1988) both provide access to older versions of the Pennsylvania statutes. The library also has print volumes of Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes going back to 1930. Older statutes may also be available in our Rare Book Room or in HeinOnline's State Statutes: A Historical Archive. See the list below for more details.

Contact the Jenkins' Reference Librarians at 215.574.1505 or research@jenkinslaw.org for additional assistance on finding historical versions of the Pennsylvania Statutes.

Lexis

Archived Codes
Available on the library's Lexis computers. Begins with 1991.

From the Lexis Advance home page, under Explore Content, select Statutes & Legislation or Administrative Codes & Regs. The Archived Code Search is found in the Related Resources box on the right. Lexis requires a search string in order to conduct the search. If you have the citation, use cite() and include the title and section numbers, connected with an ampersand, in between the parenthesis. Select "Codes", the desired year(s), and the desired jurisdiction(s). Then click "Search".

For example, if you wanted to see how 3 Pa.C.S. § 2305 looked in 2002, use the search string cite(3 & 2305), select "Codes", enter 2002 in the date field, select Pennsylvania, then click "Search".

Lexis also allows you to find archived versions of the statutes when in the current statute section. When looking at a current statute section, the "About" box on the right includes a link to archived versions, when available.

Westlaw

Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated - Historical
Available on the library's Westlaw computers. Begins with 1988.

From the All Content tab, select Statutes & Court Rules > Pennsylvania > Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated - Historical (located in the Tips & Resources box on the right). Click on the desired year. Westlaw requires a search string in order to conduct the search. Use the fields listed in the Advanced Search option to help generate the search. If you have the citation, enter the title and section numbers, connected with an ampersand, in the "Citation" field.

For example, if you wanted to see how 3 Pa.C.S. § 2305 looked in 2002, once on the Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated - Historical page, click "2002", enter 3 & 2305 in the "Citation" field, and click the search icon.

Print

Purdon’s Pennsylvania Statutes West/Thomson Reuters
Library has main volumes from 1930-present, select pocket parts from 1930-1969, and all pocket parts from 1970-present.

Jenkins' Rare Book Room
The Jenkins' Rare Book Room contains select historical statutes, statute digests, and statute indexes. Contact Research Services at 215.574.1505 or research@jenkinslaw.org for more information.

HeinOnline

Pennsylvania State Statutes: A Historical Archive
Available on HeinOnline. Includes over 25 historical statute and digest publications for Pennsylvania, beginning with the 1700s through the 1800s.
Once in HeinOnline, select State Statutes: A Historical Archive > State > Pennsylvania.