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!
Nearly 3½ centuries ago this weekend, a pacifist became the world’s largest crown-less landowner. On March 4, 1681, British monarch Charles II granted William Penn a charter for lands in the New World and “thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power,” quipped the French philosopher Voltaire.
The following article was written by HSP volunteer Randi Kamine and is being posted on her behalf.
"My Dearest X.Y.Z. I want to tell you everything that has occurred lately and I want you to ask me questions which I am bound to answer.” So begins the first entry in the diary written by Selina Richards Schroeder in early 1889."
With the resignation of Michael Flynn and recent uptick in Ukrainian unrest, Russia has infiltrated news feeds across the United States. A hundred years ago, the Eurasian country garnered perhaps as many American headlines. As we approach the centennial of the Russian Revolution's outbreak, consider a mysterious local connection to the upheaval's royal victims, the Romanovs.
First some background. Ravaged by 21/2 years of fighting in the First World War, Tsar Nicholas II's Russia was in a bad way by February 1917. Battlefield disasters mounted as bread queues grew.
Nearly 175 years before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, four Germantown Friends launched the first formal protest against human bondage in North America.
Penned in 1688 by Francis Daniel Pastorius – the founder of Germantown – the protest is peculiar among Quaker texts in its lack of direct references to God. Instead, Pastorius denounces the “traffick of men-body” with practical arguments and appeals to empathy. Unlike Lincoln’s later proclamation, it is simple, human.
History is a mystery, especially for events that occurred more than 100 years ago. With no one around who was a witness, the evidence is often sketchy at best. A newspaper article, a photograph, a letter – each piece only whets the appetite by offering a tantalizing clue.
Historians, like real life Sherlock Holmeses, search out all the evidence they can find and then apply their honed skills of reasoning to create an interpretation of what happened. Even then, they don’t always have all the right information – and they may come to incorrect conclusions.
This post is shared on behalf of Andrea (Ang) Reidell, Educational Specialist, National Archives.
With the frenzied pace of President Trump's first few weeks, many Americans would like nothing more than a respite from all things Oval Office. Strangely, they may get their wish via this year's Presidents' Day. As you block out your Monday plans, spare one final POTUS thought to consider the story of the holiday itself.
During its annual gala last year, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania honored historian Eric Foner with the 2016 Founder’s Award. In his most recent book, Gateway to Freedom, Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad. Excerpts are included below with entries from Journal C of Station No.
Tillman Valentine was twenty-seven years old when he enlisted with the Third US Colored Infantry on June 30, 1863. Standing ﬁve feet four inches tall, with black hair, gray eyes, and a yellow complexion, the mulatto laborer from Chester County, Pennsylvania, bade farewell to his wife of seven years, Annie, and his children, Elijah (born February 13, 1858), Clara (born February 4, 1860), and Ida (born August 11, 1861).