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!
For my third and final blog post, I had originally planned to profile several individuals living in Philadelphia’s Chinatown at different points in its history. As I sifted through boxes of documents and folders of photos, however, I found this task nearly impossible.
Despite having gone through stacks of Christmas cards and business letters, newspaper clippings and various personal collections, I felt as if I barely understood these individuals better than those anonymous faces featured in black and white photographs published in period newspapers.
Every Sunday, my parents bring home a copy of The World Journal Weekly (Shi Jie Zhou Kan), the Sunday edition of a newspaper circulated in the Chinatowns of the United States documenting everything from world events and economic news to articles addressing issues pertinent to the Chinese American community. I remember that these pages of colorful newsprint would litter the house, and for the longest time, I paid little attention to them.
As many Philadelphians plan their Labor Day weekend trips down the Shore, consider the story of the John Wanamaker Commercial Institute, a school and New Jersey-based summer camp for its namesake's employees.
The postmaster general and retail magnate started the "store school" in 1897 for young workers in his department emporiums.
Ranging in age from 12 to early 20s, student-employees were provided with "daily opportunities to obtain a working education in the arts and sciences of commerce and trade," Wanamaker wrote in 1909.
Following independence from Great Britain, it became especially important for America to create ties to the rest of the world that had previously not been necessary under British rule. Demand for commodities like tea, porcelain, and silk meant that American merchants had to quickly find a way to establish trade routes with China directly. Along with New York and Boston, Philadelphia became a key city from which vessels like the one shown below departed for Canton (now Guangzhou).
This has been my summer for first encounters.
For this year's World Photo Day, consider the 1843 daguerreotype of Copenhagen-born scientist Martin Hans Boyè, claimed by its creator, Robert Cornelius, to be the “first posed photograph for a book illustration."
Exposed in Philadelphia only four years after the process of daguerreotypy debuted in France, opportunities for "firsts" still remained plentiful.
Upon the 19th Amendment's ratification on this day in 1920, Philadelphia was the largest city – and Pennsylvania the largest state – in which women had not previously had the right to vote.
This was not for want of trying.
As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' new temple in Logan Circle opens for public viewing, consider Philadelphia's ties to early Mormon history.
Though the church was founded in New York and associated with Illinois and Utah, Philadelphia played a significant role in its early history.
Missionaries had reached Chester County and parts of central New Jersey by the 1830s. In 1839, the Philadelphia branch of the church was organized by Joseph Smith Jr. while returning from Washington, D.C.
On the 234th anniversary of the creation of the Badge of Military Merit - later renamed the Purple Heart, a medal much in the news lately - consider the history 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 First World War in 1914, a plurality of Philadelphians - like most Americans - favored a policy of neutrality toward the European war.
As thousands of folks fly out of town after the Democratic National Convention, consider the ground upon which Philadelphia International Airport sits: Hog Island, once the world's largest shipyard.
Long before William Penn arrived aboard the Welcome in 1681, Swedish settlers controlled the island, at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill. The Lenape called the island Quistconck, or "place for hogs."