Fondly, Pennsylvania is HSP's main blog. Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well articles on interesting bits of local history reflected in our collection. 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!
Stamps, photographed in situ, page 86.
Two-dollar revenue stamp (Mortgage), page 118.
Revenue stamps: Certificate, Protest, and Express; page 88.
Revenue stamps: Certificate, Bill of Lading, Express, and U.S. Inter. Rev.; page 92.
Revenue stamps: stamped cancelations; page 121.
Revenue stamps, hand-canceled: 'Northern Bank of Kentucky 9/11/66;' page 99.
Revenue stamps, Bank Check: both hand-canceled by patrons; page 85.
As you can see from the U.S. Food administration poster from World War I above, the idea of restricting sugar is far from being a new phenomenon. From wartime rationing campaigns, to anti-slavery economic movements, to modern health anxiety, sugar has been the target of political and social concern throughout U.S. history. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization generated international buzz on the subject with a draft of new sugar consumption guidelines recommending that the average adult limit their daily sugar consumption to 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) while mentioning the average can of soda contains nearly twice that amount. In America, where health statistics typically place average sugar consumption at 22 teaspoons a day for adults and a whopping 32 teaspoons for the children, there’s good cause to be concerned about eating too much sugar given its links to health issues like diabetes and obesity. To be frank though, the dangers of the sweet substance have been covered so extensively by the news that you’re left thinking: “Sugar? Save it... I’ve heard it all.” Traveling back to Philadelphia at the turn of the 18th Century through the eyes of Edward Pennington in "Observations on Making Sugar," my exploration of sugar through a historical lense, will highlight how the economic and cultural impacts of sugar are importantly missing from our conversation today.
Given that sugar is so easily available today in its white, purified form, it may surprise you that Philadelphia was a lucrative early American hub of the sugar refining industry. Just as geography was responsible for the growth of the city in the first place, the accessibility of Philadelphia by water is largely responsible for attracting international sugar trade. Due to a high likelihood of goods coming into contact with sea water during the trip overseas in wooden ships, sugar producers did not sell a finished, refined product internationally. The scene below would have been familiar to locals as barrels of unprocessed sugarcane arrived in the port from abroad:
Click on the image above from the Pennsylvania Sugar Refining Company above for a closer view in our Digital Library.
“Observations on Making Sugar” is a collection of notes and business letters written by Edward Pennington from roughly 1760-1825 on the best methods of boiling sugar to remove its impurities and in preparation for sale. Since sugar was arriving in Philadelphia in raw form, there opened up opportunity for businessmen like Pennington to step in as a middleman and add real value to the product by refining it. Boiling sugar removed sediment which would drop to the bottom of the pan as mud, leaving the sugar whiter and more pure then before. Pennington has all kinds of notes on the boiling process that emphasize what quality and quantity of water produces the whitest, finest sugar:
Above, Pennington is explaining the advantage of using more rather the less water to boil sugar: “the loaf sugar will be a great deal whiter for it-- This will please the customers...” (Pennington, 4).
Above, he describes how the finished product sugar should look: “It should be free and strong, the grain sharp as to hurt a little when rub’d hard between the thumb and sugar such as is of a grayish color will make a whiter loaf than that which is of a yellow cast” (Pennington, 4).
The cover of "Observations on Making Sugar"
The finished product that Pennington sold merchants and customers would have been a loaf or lump of sugar rather then the granulated form of the substance that we are familar with today. A number of early American cooking records at the Historical Socety of Pennsylvania, such as the cookbook of William Penn’s first wife Gulielma Penn, contain instructions on how to smash and sift sugar for recipes. Since all the labor of granulating sugar used to be done in the home, it’s no wonder that Americans ate less sugar in the past. Imagine having to break down sugar every time you wanted to bake with it at home!
Above are a pair of antique sugar nips that were used to cut lumps of sugar off the loaf that would be smashed and seived for use as needed.
The raw sugar being processed by Philadelphia during Pennington’s lifetime, would have overwhelmingly been produced by slaves in sugar plantations in the Caribbean and West Indies. Pennington’s ledger for 1799 shows $83,935.20 in purchases of raw sugar from the "Indies," making it unclear where the sugar came from. Although this phrasing reads as a casual choice of words, there would have been significance to whether the sugar was from the East or West Indies and the choice to not specify where Pennington sourced his sugar might reflect tension over slavery at the time. In addition to being the home of the “Observations on Making Sugar,” the Historical Society of Pennsylvania also is home to records of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which was based out of Philadelphia during Pennington’s time. As the anti-slavery movement gained momentum, institutions like the Pennsylvania Abolition Society economically attacked slavery by refusing to purchase products made by slave labor. Abolitionists who adopted this economic tactic of opposing slavery would have promoted the use of East India sugar over West India sugar because it was produced by free rather then slave labor. While the Pennington family was Quaker and many Quakers opposed slavery from a religious viewpoint, a perusal of Edward Pennington’s account does not turn up any explicit discussion of slave labor. This is curious and raises the question, why does Pennington not overtly address slavery in “Observations on Making Sugar?”
Click on the image above to view this abolitionist booklet "Reasons for Using East India Sugar"in our Digital Library.
After spending just a brief time with Edward Pennington’s 18th Century “Observations on Making Sugar,” you can see that there are plenty of economic, social, and political issues that lie outside the media’s current health-centered conversation about sugar. While this blog could not possibly address all the complex historical issues that sugar is connected to-- slavery, colonialism, and industrialization are just a few examples-- this piece of food history should inspire us to broaden our view of sugar today. Though the health anxiety about eating too much sugar is valid, why isn’t there more focus on other important aspects of the sugar industry? Why don’t we talk about the labor that goes into sugar or how an industrial food system supports excess sugar consumption? I challenge you to steer conversation about sugar towards economic, social, and political questions the same way you would if you were exploring it like a historical topic!
Are you sick of “Sugar is Killing You!” headlines? How would you rather talk about sugar? Tell me what you think!
Learn more about this series "A Philly Foodie Explores Local History" here.
Work on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project continues to progress. After surveying nearly 1,700 political cartoons in HSP's collections (there are still thousands more!), we have selected the 500 or so that will be featured in an online exhibit demonstrating some of the cool new image viewer and annotation tools we're developing as part of this project, and now we're digging into the preliminary research—finding out who the artists were and where and when these cartoons were published. As exciting as this work is, as the summer months stretch on, it can be hard to concentrate—I can't help but daydream about running off to the shore.
Maybe the cartoons are partly to blame. It's clear from some of these cartoons that even distinguished presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, and Grover Cleveland had to take a break from politicking at times to work on their beach bods. As this Currier & Ives lithograph documents, Honest Abe was a regular at his local gym, the Political Gymnasium(TM). Lincoln may have won the presidential election of 1860, but he lost the lesser-known Beefiest Biceps competition of that year to vice presidential candidate (for the Constitutional Union Party) Edward Everett, seen here single-arm-shoulder-pressing his running mate, John Bell, above his head.
The Political Gymnasium, 1860 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
You don't have to go to the gym to get in a good workout, however. Presidential candidate James A. Garfield took the occasional break from the 1880 campaign trail to clear his thoughts, commune with nature, and tone his upper body by engaging in his favorite pastime: gardening. Programming note: when wielding sharp objects, such as the scythe of Honesty, Ability, and Patriotism, always exercise caution. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly, and watch out for venomous snakes!
Farmer Garfield, 1880 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
But when it comes to impressive physiques, there is simply no competing with Grover Cleveland. "Grover Cleveland?" you may ask. "I mean, the man was no Taft, but wasn't he a little...paunchy?" (For context, here are a few of the first Google Image search results for "Grover Cleveland.")
It's like an all-you-can-eat jowl buffet.
Look, Grover Cleveland does not have time to correct your misperceptions about his level of physical fitness. That's because when he's not swinging the Sword of Sound Policy at the Great War Tariff Dragon in the Political Dismal Swamp, he's fighting in the 1880s equivalent of the WWE under the stage name "Siegfried the Fearless." Grover Cleveland is intense. Don't believe me? Let this Joseph Keppler cartoon from Puck magazine speak for itself:
Siegfried the Fearless in the Political "Dismal Swamp," December 28, 1887 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
If there's a lesson we can learn from these cartoons, it's that exercise is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it's also possible to overdo it. If you're putting yourself in mortal danger just so you can look buffer than your political rivals, you might want to rethink your priorities. After all, you don't need to be skinny, or muscle-y, or young, or conform to any culturally-constructed aesthetic ideals in order to go to the beach and have the time of your life. Take it from these anthropomorphic representations of late-19th-century European political movements: everybody else is too busy playing in the sand and the surf to judge you on your looks.
Coney Island and the Crowned Heads, July 18, 1882 (Balch Broadsides: Satirical Cartoons, PG278)
Just wear sunscreen!
Always looking for relevant and interesting ways to connect with the items in our collections, staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania recently cooked our way into the historic kitchen of America's inaugural First Lady. While few people are able to say that they’ve met the First Lady and even fewer can boast of sampling her cooking first-hand, HSP has unique access to a presidential pantry through Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, which has been in our collections since 1892.
For Tara O’Brien, who has revived dozens of dishes from historic cookbooks as Director of Conservation and Preservation, organizing a potluck from Martha Washington’s Cookbook seemed like a fun way to take advantage of this hidden gem by trying and sharing a bunch of historic recipes at once. Her idea took off and staff began to peruse Mrs. Washington’s recipes, deciphering 17th century cooking instructions, considering ingredients, claiming which dish they would cook, and eventually testing out the first First Lady’s cooking in their own kitchens. In a refreshing break from the normal Monday grind, co-workers shared their creations in a potluck lunch open to all HSP staff on July 21st.
Below you will find all the dishes from Monday’s potluck. While there were a couple delicious deviations from the historic recipes-- ahem, I’m looking at you Ron’s Ribs and Not-so-Washington Beer & Cheddar Bread-- the rest of the recipes came straight from Martha Washington’s Cookbook. The book itself is split into two sections, A Booke of Cookery and A Booke of Sweetmeats (desserts), and the recipes below are listed in their respective categories.
Though it might strike you as merely a novel experiment in the kitchen, the experience of engaging with history through food is of immense value. Just as your own family recipes allow you to reconnect with your heritage or treasure the memory of loved ones, cooking historic recipes allowed us to form a connection to Martha Washington-- imagining the different cookware, ingredients, surroundings, and company in which the cookbook originated. As you can see from the potluck photoalbum above, this study of history was far from dull and rather an adventure that produced tangible results. We came away from the potluck nourished, not only from the historic dishes that literally fed us, but also from the act of eating and sharing our cooking as a community. After all, half the enjoyment of food is that it brings people together and this is ultimately why cooking historic recipes is such a fulfilling way to engage with history.
Martha Washington’s recipes are outstanding by-the-way; the potluck was a sweet and savory success!
What do you think of cooking historic recipes? Is it possible to relive history through food and the act of cooking or do you think this is a novel waste of time? Do you consider family recipes to be historic? Should teachers use food to teach history?
Find more about Martha Washington’s original family cookbook and steal a recipe directly from it here.
Learn more about this blog series, A Philly Foodie Explores Local History.
Welcome back once again for another round of transcripts from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.
To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page. Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.
In July 1864 the Atlanta Campaign continued to ravage both Union and Confederate armies. It was also a big month for Parry as he and his regiment faced Confederate forces in several skirmishes in various spots in Georgia. He noted the takeover of Marietta by the Union army at the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, Parry was in Lawrenceville still in the thick of it as his commanding officer had just refused a Confederate order to surrender.
Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.
Sunday, July 3
In a woods between Big Shandy and
the mountains now occupied by
the Rebels own
Troops. Moved out at 10 A. M.
marched to the Left of Lost Mt.
by a great number of Rebel works
on into Marietta[,] a quite a place
mosly deserted. Captured a number
of Prisoners[.] Rebels in full retreat
went into camp at ten O'clock after
a Hard days[sic] and a exciting one.
Saturday, July 9
the men then moved on the
Rebels across the River. dis-
Mounted. Reinforced by
G Division of Infantry.
Rossville Groville[?] a very fine|
place but all taken up
by our army. one of the finest
Thursday, July 14
Marched about four miles South
Hilbury and [I?] rode out[,] got
out side of Pickets and then
went in[.] found a Seceshs
Plantation[,] got Potatoes[,] Apples[,]
Chickens[,] tin ware[,] Books & [got?]
Back to Camp by dark.
Monday, July 18
Moved out on Raid with three
Days Rations[.] Marched south
East[,] drove the Rebels fifteen
miles and destroyed five
miles of Atlanta + Macon Rail
Road[.] a very nice day and
Quite an exciting one
Five miles and encamped
Friday, July 22
Marched all night some 30 miles[.]
Halted in the morning one hours for
rest and then proceeded one towards and
arrived at Covenington [Covington, GA][,] captured two
trains of cars[,] Burnt them[,] also des-
troyed one million dolls. worth of cotton[.]
Burnt Depots of cars and tore up
the Rail Road – fells back ten
miles and encamped for a few
hours in a woods - then
4 mich Cavalry
placed under arrest for capturing Horses
Saturday, July 23
Marched on in a north east
Direction – capturing a great amo-
unt of Horses[,] destroying much
cotton[.] arrived at La[w]renceville at
4 P. M. and encamped for the night[.]
The roads strewed with all kinds of
plunder. Living on the best of the
Land. La[w]renceville quite a place
captured a great many horses
Thursday, July 28
Up at 1 O'clock and at Day
light moves on the Rebels on
foot[.] fought them some time
Lieut. Brant wounded[,] also 2
Others. at one time entirely
surrounded. fell back to
the [illegible] roads and camped[.]
Flag of [illegible] sent in by the Rebels dem-
anding our surrender – Gen'l. [Ganard?]
could not see the point to surrender[.]
The City of the Cheesesteak, Philly history is found in the kitchen. Visitors Services Manager Sarah Duda gets to the meat of the matter, serving up stories from the hidden larder of Philly's unsung hash slingers. Food-related treasures in HSP's library and archive are cooked regularly on the Fondly, PA blog.
If I were to ask you to think about Philadelphia history, I suspect that thoughts of Benjamin Franklin, Valley Forge, and the Liberty Bell would start to fill your head as you search for memorable names related to Philadelphia. While all of these topics are worthy of attention, my historical gaze is rather different and-- dare I say it-- more hungry then most when looking back on the decades that built the city of brotherly love into what it is today. Since food is such an integral part of life, food history is not merely limited to food products and can also give insight into community, labor, politics, philosophy, and technology surrounding food. If you are a foodie, a history enthusiast, or interested in hot topics related to food-- sugar, fast food, dieting, organic farming, global-warming, vegetarianism, GMOs, cooking, and food scarcity are just a few that come to mind-- then this is a blog for you. Over the next two months, I will be exploring local history from a new angle as I uncover some of the hidden food-related treasures within our archives here at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and connect them to food today.
Stop by this Thursday to see history brought to life in food form...
My colleague Rachel Moloshok and I recently finished selecting 512 historic political cartoons from HSP's collection to be part of our new digital exhibit for the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project.
Soon, we'll begin diving into more focused research about these cartoons, and the people, events and symbols depicted in them.
As we've described before, the HINT project is developing new tools for managing and describing visual materials in archives. We're using political cartoons to demonstrate how these new tools will work, allowing us to not only transcribe captions or other text but also describe what apppears in the image itself. We plan to debut this new political cartoons digital exhibit in 2015, and plan to include other contextual content to help users better understand what they're seeing and to help educators incorporate these materials into the classroom. You can read more details about the project here.
That kind of historical background and context will be crucial for viewers who are unfamiliar with the cartoon icons and symbols that are no longer common, like John Bull, Brother Jonathan, Columbia, Salt River, and much more.
For instance, John Bull serves as a symbol for Great Britain. He typically appears as a stout man, often with a waistcoat (i.e. a vest) and frock coat. Brother Jonathan, in contrast, pre-dates Uncle Sam as a symbol for the United States, while Columbia is a female representation of America and liberty.
Here are just a few of the cartoons in HSP's collections that depict these icons:
Brother John Administering a Salutory Cordial to John Bull, circa 1813. (call # Bb 612 B795.1)
Columbia Teaching John Bull His New Lesson, 1813. (call # Bb 612 C723)
John Bull and the Baltimoreans, 1813. (call # Bb 612 Jb217)
A Kean* Shave Between "John Bull and Brother Jonathan," circa 1835-1836. (call # Bb 612 K193)
Little Mac Trying to Dig His Way to the White House But Is Frightened by Spiritual Manifestations, 1864. (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
Happy summer folks! We're back again with another group of transcripts from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.
To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page. Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Librarywhere you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.
For Parry, June 1864 was a month of heat and fighting. He and his regiment were in northwestern Georgia, and they met the Confederate forces in a number of skirmishes throughout the month. Parry participated in the battles, and things didn't always go so well as he noted several times when his comrades were wounded, killed, or captured. There wasn;t much change during the month -- Parry trudged through the Southern heat same in the beginning of the June as at the end of it.
Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.
Wednesday, June 1
Order to be ready to move
at Light. Moved to the rear
towards Kingston eight miles[.]
very warm Dusty day[.] Horses starving
to death by Hundreds.
Monday, June 6
Rode out[,] visited Cartersville[.] crossed
the river on a Pontoon Bridge. men
very busy building the rail road
Bridge across river[.] a very
Hot day. Cartersville quite a
Place[.] much out up now.
Hair Cut to Day
Saturday, June 11
Up a[t] three O'Clock and moved
out on the Rebels at five. Move[d]
them back Eight miles. had a hard
fight with them[.] one man in our
Reg't Killed and many wounded
this was a very exciting day
I took a fine coffee pot
Thursday, June 16
Rec'd a Letter from Home. Moved
on the Rebels at 12 [M?]. attacked
them on the West while Infantry
did on the north. a very exciting
day – our forces very successful
Slept most all day[.] moved out
At 5 P.M. to the Right
Monday, June 20
Rec'd a Letter from Home –
Moved on the
Rebels and marched cautiously[.] a
very exciting day.
us in the afternoon and drove us
back – very severe fighting – num-
ber in our Reg't Killed + wounded
Capt Newton taken prisoner
Rainy in the Afternoon
Saturday, June 25
A very warm Day[.] lying Still
All Day in Camp[.] I wrote
A Letter to Miss Lukens +
Julia V. Taylor. Rec'd a mail
[one?] letter from Sue[,] a news-
Paper. Drew rations till
Mail went out at [illegible]
Thursday, June 30
Rode out in the morning and
Took a view of the Rebel works[.]
Regiment went out on a scout
Mail[,] came back with no Letters for me
Hard rain in afternoon – very
Hot – flies [blow?] every thing –
Blankets[,] Coat &c.
Although you wouldn't know from our presence on "Fondly, Pennsylvania," the team of HSP staffers working on the "Historic Images, New Technologies" (HINT) project has been diligently making progress since our last update in December. You may recall from that introductory blog post, we are working to enhance our current image viewer as it appears on our Digital Library and functions in our Digital History Projects.
During the intervening months, a previous project associate, Sarah Newhouse, departed HSP. We were sad to see her go, but we are excited to welcome Dana Dorman to the team. Dana has worked on several of HSP's Digital History Projects and joins Rachel Moloshok to complete our dynamic duo of project associates.
Dana and Rachel have been undertaking the task of whittling down the list of more than 2,000 possible cartoons into a selection of approximately 500 that will be researched and receive the annotations that will form the core of the digital exhibit. Additionally, they have been updating the in-house TEI guidelines and procedures that will be used to display image annotations and enhance graphics discoverability. We'll be using TEI, or Text Encoding Initiative, a form of XML, to encode and describe the political cartoon images as well as relate them to people, events, and places.
We are very excited about the possibilities and enhanced functionality of our new image viewer. The viewer will allow for greater image manipulation, including image rotation as well as smoother zooming and panning. These features will be in addition to the presence of clickable zones. These zones will feature our pop-up annotations which will describe the topic, characters, and places depicted in a given cartoon. The viewer will allow for these annotations to be turned on and off as the user chooses.
As the project progresses, we will be sharing much of the data that results from our encoding, as well as coding for the changes to the image viewer and Drupal, our digital history website platform. We hope that a wide array of users will find this coding useful. We also hope that archives and other repositories will utilize the improved image viewer in digital history projects of their own.
Additionally, the digital exhibit will feature several educational components. We will create unit and lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students. These plans will have the annotated cartoons at their center. Some plans have already been created and can be browsed by clicking here (lesson plan for elementary students), here (unit plan for elementary students), here (unit plan for middle school students), and here (lesson plan for middle school students). We plan to create several more lesson and unit plans, so keep watching for those.
We have plenty more work ahead of us as the project develops over the next year before coming to an end in August of 2015. As we continue our efforts, we intend to write several more blog posts on HINT. You can follow our progress here on "Fondly, Pennsylvania" and on our project page, accessible by clicking here. Please check back often!
Archivists, historians, artists, and other political cartoon enthusiasts may be interested in a recent blog post on the Educators Blog regarding the project we're working on called "Historic Images, New Technologies" (HINT). In the post, education intern Alicia Parks writes about "Incorporating Political Cartoons into Classrooms."
Alicia's blog is primarily aimed at teachers, but other audiences may also be interested. Alicia provides insights into the project, reasons why political cartoons are an important educational tool, and criteria for selecting the most useful cartoons for teachers, as well as archivists hoping to undertake an endeavor similar to HINT.
Click here to read Alicia's full post about the utility of political cartoons in the classroom.