Fondly, Pennsylvania

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Fondly, Pennsylvania

Fondly, Pennsylvania is a joint blog of HSP's archives, conservation, and digitization departments.  Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well as how we care for, describe, and preserve our collections.  Whether you are doing research or just curious to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at HSP, please read, explore, and join the conversation!

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5/22/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

Every day 95 million new images enter Instagram’s torrent of selfies, camera-friendly cats, and food portraiture. This snapshot surge is not without precedent. Consider the story of the stereograph, America’s earliest mass-produced photograph craze.

First, some background.

Photography is a French invention, developed by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and officially recognized in early 1839.

Newspaper features describing this new technology reached Philadelphia later that year. Many readers disbelieved such a process was possible.

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5/15/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

Philadelphia boasts more residents commuting by bicycle per capita than any of the 10 largest cities in the United States. As you affix your ankle reflectors for this year’s National Bike to Work Week (May 15-19), consider Philadelphia’s connections to the two-wheeler.

Taking a broad definition of the term, the first “bicycle” in Pennsylvania emerged in 1819 from the parts of a threshing machine. A Germantown blacksmith fashioned it at the behest of artist and antiquarian Charles Willson Peale.

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5/8/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

At the corner of 13th and Locust Streets, five sets of locks and keys safeguard two pieces of rag paper. The draconian security — including a 19th-century bank vault door — is justified: Here rest the only handwritten drafts of the U.S. Constitution.

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5/5/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

As part of a new promotional partnership, HSP and Taller Puertorriqueño are hosting two community discussions about Latin@ history in Pennsylvania. On May 6, join Dr. Victor Vazquez-Hernandez as he explores the social history of Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community in the interwar years (1919-1941).

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5/1/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

With the NFL draft and Frank Gehry’s plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s expansion, the Fairmount neighborhood has seen more than its fair share of recent construction and turbulence. But this perhaps pales in comparison with the building of the Art Museum itself. While stuck in traffic on the Parkway, consider the story of Eli Kirk Price II, the man who shepherded the project to completion.

First, some background. The institution now known as the Philadelphia Museum of Art began on the west side of the Schuylkill.

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4/27/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

As centennial commemorations across the country honor American men and women that served in the First World War, put their courage in stark perspective with the seedy story of Grover Bergdoll, a man who fled rather than fight.

First, some background.

Bearing the namesake of the 22nd (and 24th) POTUS, Grover Cleveland Bergdoll was born with a silver spoon. Or perhaps a silver tap is more appropriate.

The scion of a beer baronetcy in Brewerytown, he took readily to the life of the leisure class.

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4/15/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

With spring in full swing, replenished queues of tourists along Independence Mall newly attest to Philadelphia as a city of history.

But Philadelphia stakes an equal claim as a city of fiction. Consider the story of Charles Brockden Brown, arguably America's first professional writer and the man who brought Gothic literature stateside.

Born in 1771 to devout Quakers, the often-sickly Brown "preferred maps to marbles" and penned a poem titled "In Praise of Solitude" in his early teens.

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4/9/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

As commemorations this month mark the centennial of America's involvement in the First World War, we are confronted with images resurrected from a century prior. The square-jawed "doughboys" with cigarettes pressed between their lips seem as foreign to us as lighting up on a plane in 2017. Yet many of the myths animating our forebears 100 years ago continue to confound us today. For some historical perspective, consider the story of pilot Stephen Henley Noyes.

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4/7/17
Author: Vincent Fraley

As commemorations across the country mark the centennial of American involvement in the First World War, consider the story of the Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania (EAP), a women's organization founded to help wounded soldiers and distressed civilians alike.

At the outbreak of the conflict in 1914, a plurality of Philadelphians - like most Americans - favored a policy of neutrality toward the European war.

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