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!
As this blog series, A Philly Foodie Explores Local History, approaches the halfway point in its two-month journey in food history, I think it's about time that we visit one of Philadelphia’s best-known historic food landmarks-- the 9th Street Italian Market! With early beginnings in the 1880s when Italian immigrants began to settle in a neighborhood South of the original city center, the Philadelphia Italian Market is a collection of specialty food shops and outdoor vendors concentrated around 9th and Christian Streets. Inspired by historic photographs and local family recipes in our archives here at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, I decided to connect with this historic Philly foodie neighborhood by shopping for fresh ingredients at the Italian Market and cooking a dish from Celeste Morello’s The Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook: The Tastes of South 9th Street. Experience the market with me as you read about my multi-layered culinary adventure below and view additional pictures in the photo album to the right!
My task as a volunteer in digital collections is to add metadata to images posted in “Questions of the Week.” As a historian by training, my metadata interests lean toward the descriptive. What was the purpose of this photograph showing the Honorable Raymond Pace Alexander (1898-1974) and his wife Dr. Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander (1898-1989), flanking business and civic leader Albert M. Greenfield (1887-1967)? While I could not identify the event, I did uncover what was probably one of the earliest associations of Alexander and Greenfield.
As we were preparing for the HSP Martha Washington Potluck a few weeks ago, Director of Conservation Tara O’Brien and I were brainstorming about what cookware items would have commonly existed in early American kitchens. When one of our reference librarians, Ron Medford, overheard our conversation, he mentioned that he knew of some old cookware catalogs... in box TQ.40. Intrigued by Ron’s coincidental knowledge of some forgotten material that might answer our questions, Tara and I immediately went on a hunt for it in our archives. What we found in mysterious box TQ.40 was a collection hardware, home furnishing, and cookware catalogs and magazines that would make any historian smile because some bit of social and cultural history is waiting to be unpacked on nearly every page. I am extremely excited to share three items with you: an 1882 merchant catalog from the Lancaster homegoods company Steinman & Co as well as an 1882 magazine and 1977 catalog from the Philadelphia department store Strawbridge & Clothier. While these catalogs and magazines don't exactly lay out an entire history of American cookware in their pages, an examination of their representations of cookware and cooking reveal historic differences in advertising that stand in stark contrast to modern ads today. Please reference the photo album in the top right hand corner of this blog post as you read!
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.
Work on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project continues to progress.
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.
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.
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
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.