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!
President Trump's recent moratorium on the entry of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries belongs to a dubious tradition of restrictive immigration practices stretching through America's past. For some historical perspective, consider the story of the 1917 Immigration Act, which went into effect a century ago today.
As we celebrate Black History Month, consider one of the nation's first cases involving the violation of its incipient slave-trade laws: the "Ganges Incident."
The USS Ganges, originally built for trade in the West Indies, was purchased in 1798 by the federal government to deter French privateers from ransacking U.S. shipping. It left Philadelphia's port that year, the first warship to sail under the American flag since the Continental Navy's last ship, the Alliance, was decommissioned in 1785.
Numerous organizations and individuals supported the Underground Railroad. The daring escape of Henry "Box" Brown relied on the help of an unlikely ally: the mail.
Born in the early 1800s at a plantation near Yanceyville, Va., Brown was sent to Richmond at age 15 to work on a tobacco farm. He married Nancy, a slave owned by a different master. The couple had three children and were expecting their fourth when Nancy was sent to work in North Carolina. Brown stood powerless as his pregnant wife and children shuffled past in a coffle gang. He never saw them again.
President Trump is not the first politician to enthusiastically embrace new communication technologies. Lincoln (telegraphy), FDR (radio), and JFK (television) precede the 45th president on that list.
In the 18th century, however, it was another medium that allowed partisans to (relatively) quickly and cheaply reach their supporters: the pamphlet. A grisly example of this is the 1763 Conestoga Massacre and ensuing "Paxton Pamphlet War."
As thousands gathered for the Women's March on Washington, they were treading in the footsteps of women who, more than a century ago, fought through violent crowds to demand the vote during the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.
That year, the suffragists' struggle was in its sixth decade, and the worse for wear. Since 1869, supporters had hand-delivered signed petitions to the Capitol each year, to little effect.
In a recent entry of the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, historian Daniel Thomas Fleming argues that "Philadelphia has had a greater influence on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday traditions than any city other than King's birthplace, Atlanta."
As Philadelphians prepare to celebrate this year's holiday Monday, consider the region's influence upon King himself through Delaware County's Crozer Theological Seminary.
Perhaps best known today as Broadway's answer to "How can history be made relevant," to contemporaries Alexander Hamilton was notorious for his support of central banking. In the 19th century, however, it was another banker that stole the spotlight: Philadelphian Nicholas Biddle.
As thousands gather on the Delaware's banks to celebrate via historical reenactment George Washington's surprise Christmas Day crossing in 1776, consider how very nearly it wasn't pulled off.
Walloped on the battlefield and with morale sinking in tandem with the temperature, Washington was in a bad way heading into that first Revolutionary Christmas.
On Dec. 17, 113 years ago, two bicycle manufacturers from Dayton, Ohio, solved that which had beguiled humanity's greatest minds for millenia: "The Flying Problem."
Orville and Wilbur Wright's 12-second flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., ushered in a mania for all things airborne. Six years later, Arthur Atherhol assembled a squadron of 14 amateur aviators to form the Aero Club of Pennsylvania, one of the oldest continually operating groups of its kind in the country.
Philadelphians looking to bejewel their Christmas sweethearts at the turn of the 20th century did not go to Jared; they went to Samuel Kind.
A Bohemian immigrant, twenty-year-old Kind reached Philadelphia at the height of the Civil War, perfecting his English while working for an importer of laces and other “white goods.”
In 1872, with a young family to support, Kind set out on his own as a wholesaler of plated and gilt jewelry under the name S. Kind & Co., occupying a small room on 3rd Street above Callowhill.