Alicia Parks

Historical Society of PA

Alicia began as an Education Intern in January 2014. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from UNC Greensboro in 2011 and recently completed a Master of Arts in History from Villanova University. She aims to create interdisciplinary lesson plans which allow teachers to incorporate history into their daily curriculum.

This Author's Posts

Just like the title of this blog is a play-on-words from a historic Broadway musical, the topic of this blog relates to something else historic, the printed map. Remember when you went on a road trip with your parents and one of them would pull out a large map from the glove compartment to figure out where you were headed?


This Thanksgiving, get into the giving spirit by providing your students with more holiday-themed cartoons. The cartoon attached to this post was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on November 26, 1908 shortly after President Taft was elected.


Continuing with a political theme due to our recent elections, the highlight this week is an anti-cartoonist law that was signed in 1903 by Pennsylvania Governor, and former President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Samuel Pennypacker. The law stated that politicians could not be depicted in a non-human form. Naturally, many cartoonists got their revenge through several very un-flattering images of Governor Pennypacker; three are shown below.


While Halloween is known as the holiday where we can shamelessly stuff our faces with candy, it actually has some historic roots. The holiday did not become widespread until later in the 19th century, and it was mostly due to Irish and Scottish immigrants. In order to celebrate the holiday with some historic flair, I wanted to include a political cartoon from 1908 that specifically refers to “Hallowe’en.” In this cartoon William Jennings Bryan is accused on wearing a mask so voters cannot see his true political leanings.


This week I wanted to highlight a source on our digital library that I came across a couple weeks ago and recently used with a field trip here at HSP. It is a small pamphlet called Anti-Semitic Propaganda in America written in 1940 by Richard Gutstadt, director of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League.


This year we are gearing up for National History Day with a plethora of new sources and resources for both teachers and students, including our 5th annual FREE NHD Philly kick-off event for teachers.


The 2015 World Meeting of Families, hosted here in Philadelphia, provides a unique opportunity for teachers to discuss the role of Catholicism in our community and the history of religious toleration here in Pennsylvania. To help foster that classroom discussion, we made our latest issue of Pennsylvania Legacies exclusively devoted to Catholics in Pennsylvania.


I was recently visiting the Hershey Community Archives, in my hometown of Hershey, PA, and it made me think of how we can teach local history, even of small towns, using a wide variety of primary sources. I had never thought of the rich history Hershey held until I had the opportunity to visit the Hershey Community Archives and check out the newspapers and oral history accounts for myself.  


Our programs here at the Historical Society allow students to work directly with primary source documents, and some of the most interesting feedback received has been through documenting students understanding of political cartoons. As a part of the HINT project here at HSP, we polled over 200 students on what they thought of political cartoons and to learn if they were a good teaching tool. The feedback we received was wonderful as many students enjoyed studying the cartoons as a part of their history lesson.


With the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, it is important to look back at the men and women who fought for equality.