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Fondly, Pennsylvania

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!

HSP Blog

Nazi Party Sympathizers in Philadelphia Before the War (Part 1)

The following article was written by HSP volunteer Randi Kamine and is being posted on her behalf. Part two of the article will be posted next Wednesday. Many thanks to Archival Processor Megan Evans for helping prepare these articles for publication.

A slice of Philadelphia history may surprise those of us who live in and love our city. In the late 1930s and the early 1940s, Nazi party affiliates were active in several venues in and around the city. The German-American Bund, in particular, represented those whose sympathies lay with Hitler and Hitler’s Nazi movement.  Formed in 1933, the Bund’s membership consisted of American citizens of German descent. Its main goal was to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany, although documents below show that their mission went beyond propagandizing to enlisting young sympathizers and even preparing for armed conflict. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania archives has photos and documents that trace the appearance and demise of this National Socialist movement throughout the Philadelphia region.

The Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue (Collection V07) that resides at HSP presents a record of how journalists investigated and covered American Nazi activity from before the Second World War to the American Bund’s demise in the early 1940s. Among the photos are images showing items seized in raids by the FBI in homes purported to be local Nazi headquarters.

 One photo, dated October 5, 1942, displays rifles, radios, and photo enlargers, “seized in raids in alien homes” according to contemporaneous notes attached to the photo. 

"Seized in alien raids"

In another photo, dated August 13, 1942, Nazi uniforms, guns, and a Nazi flag are shown after they were “seized in yesterday’s raids.”  

"Item[s] seized by FBI agents early yesterday in a raid on the North Philadelphia home of an enemy (German) alien"

An August 8, 1942 report showing another photo is entitled Symptoms of Fifth Column in Chester.  The author writes,  “The contraband above, including rifles, revolvers, ammunition, cameras, radios and pictures of Hitler, was seized yesterday by FBI agents in extensive raids on the homes of enemy aliens in Chester and Marcus Hook.”  The radios seen in the photos were no doubt used to be in contact with the Transocean News Service which the Commission declared had over 70,000 people on its mailing list. The news service was a wireless German news agency headquartered in Berlin designed by the German Foreign Office and operated by the Propaganda Ministry.

"Seized yesterday [August 7, 1942] by FBI agents"

The photographs in the collection also depict the gatherings and activities of the Bund in and around Philadelphia prior to the war.

Boys at the Deutschorst Country Club, a recreational gathering place of the Bund, outside of Sellersville, Pennsylvania (July 26, 1937)

 Nazi demonstration at Reyburn Plaza, adjacent to City Hall, Philadelphia (1937)

In addition to contemporaneous photographs, HSP has several items that document the tenor of the times, particularly the fear that there existed a “fifth column” ambitiously at work to undermine the United States government. The reports of the famous House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) give the reader an insight into this mindset. In the popular imagination the Dies Commission is associated with the rooting out of Communist sympathizers.  However, the Committee was originally created in 1938 to uncover citizens with Nazi ties within the United States. HSP has a copy of this initial report. Among its claims, the committee states that the official newspapers of the German-American Bund had advance information on what was about to transpire militarily in Germany. Editions of the paper, Weckruf und Beobachter (Wake-up-call and Observer), appeared in Philadelphia.

A commission report dated January 3, 1941 outlined what the committee perceived as National Socialism’s plans for the United States: “Both Stalin and Hitler have made it plain that their strategy in achieving their objectives in the United States includes the use of Trojan Horses or ‘fifth columns.’ ” The report quotes a statement Hitler made in 1934, “[Nazism] is destined to liberate the American people from their ruling clique and give them back the means of becoming a great nation. … I shall undertake this task simultaneously with the restoration of Germany to her leading position.” The report claims that German-American Bunds had 100,000 members.   (This figure is widely believed to be exaggerated. Historians have put membership as low as 25,000. However, mailing lists for newspapers and other propaganda are believed to have been closer to the 100,000 figure.)

Philadelphia figures prominently in the report when discussing the Kyffhauserbund.  The Kyffauserbund was a national veterans’ organization in Germany.  According to the commission report, a branch affiliated with the German organization was formed in the summer of 1937 in Philadelphia.  It appears that its primary function was to promote rifle and pistol practice.  From Philadelphia, the Bund spread to New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan,  and Texas.  A leader of the Texas Kyffhauserbund is quoted in the 1941 Commission Report: “We did not need to unlearn anything when Hitler came to power.  We were already Nazis when he took the reins of the Reich.”

Exterior of a home purported to be the headquarters of the Kyffhauser Bund, 1802 W. Erie Avenue in Philadelphia

 The extent to which the United States government was actually in danger is a subject for scholarly debate.  It is clear, however, that the Dies reports as early as 1938 saw such a danger and that Philadelphia’s German-American Bund and related organizations were objects of investigation.  The reports reflect what was to be written, or had been written, in Philadelphia newspaper reports mentioned above.

Political cartoons from the Philadelphia Record depict the conflict between anti-war groups and those people who had a clear impulse to join in the war on the side of the Allies -- first with financial help, and in the end with military involvement. Among those against the war, it was hard to discern the line between Nazi sympathizers and other anti-war activists.

"Man the Guns, Here Come the Chutists!," cries William Penn, which sport the labels "Lindy" and "Bundists" among other threats to American solidarity

Charles Lindbergh was often an object of scorn in Jerry Doyle’s repertoire of political cartoons written for the Philadelphia Record.   Lindbergh gave voice to Nazi fellow travelers and anti-Semites within the America First Committee -- where few members denounced him, and which in 1940-41 called for the United States to stay out of the war.  Lindbergh drew overflow crowds, and increased American First chapter membership wherever he spoke.   Several of Doyle’s cartoons lambast Charles Lindberg’s anti-war speech given in Philadelphia on May 29 1941. In one cartoon, a smiling Hitler is sitting on a couch holding hands with a fellow Nazi.  Joeseph Goebbels is standing by a radio.  The words “Lindbergh’s Philadelphia Speech” is coming out the speaker. The cartoon is entitled “An Appreciative Audience.”


This first segment of two of “Nazi Sympathizers in Philadelphia Before the War,” highlighted  photographs and political cartoons that are held at HSP.  This is but a sampling. Those interested in Nazism in America, citizen reactions to this movement, and generally, Philadephia before the war, will find a wealth of information in these collections. The second segment will look at some of the Philadelphia Record newspaper clippings that are in our collection.

Where's Washington?

Where’s Washington? Judging by the number of search results when using the terms “George Washington” in HSP’s online catalog, Discover, the answer is: Everywhere!

For college students such as myself, search “George Washington” and prepare to be overwhelmed by several thousand results. Granted, not all of them refer to the Virginia planter-turned-President, George Washington (1732-1799), son of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. Many mothers and fathers found it fit to name their sons after the former Commander-in-Chief (George Washington Carver, George Washington Bartram, the list goes on.)

Narrowing the search to the Washington in question, however, there are still thousands of results. HSP holds materials ranging from Washington's pocket diary, letters in his own hand, artwork, published materials, accounting records, ephemera, to even a locket of his hair! While the bulk of Washington’s papers and other records are now scattered across several institutions, HSP holds several items offering a unique insight into Washington, the man and his legacy.

Upon performing my own quick search of Washingtoniana, or papers, books, letters, and relics relating to George Washington, I too was overwhelmed. To help other students and those interested in the first POTUS, I’ve compiled a list – by no means comprehensive! – of several materials I’ve found particularly revealing of Washington’s time as a general, president, and private citizen.

HSP collection of Washington family papers (#Am.001) 

  • This is the first place anyone looking to do Washington research at HSP should begin. In this collection you will find a volume of hand-written letters by Washington’s parents, his father’s will, and letters in Washington’s own hand. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery is also a part of this collection, along with Washington’s 1796 diary - which he kept when the family was living in Philadelphia during his presidency.

Tobias Lear diary (#Am.09238)

  • Lear was the personal secretary to the Washington family at Mount Vernon, a position he dutifully served during Washington’s final moments, caring for his every need. Lear recorded these experiences in his diary, the only handwritten account of Washington’s death. In moving passages Lear recounts Washington’s stoic poise until the end, and Martha’s reaction. In later life, Lear – after a political scandal and unrequited love – committed suicide, leaving no note.

Clement Biddle (1810-1879) papers  (#0049)

  • Clement Biddle served as Quartermaster General of the Pennsylvania Militia as well as United States Marshal for Pennsylvania. Biddle frequently corresponded with Washington during and after the Revolution, with letters covering matters from issues related to Biddle’s time as Commissary General of Forage, to business dealings with Washington after the general had retired to Mt. Vernon. General orders and warrants signed by Washington are also included. Miscellaneous letters and documents from other familiar names appear in the collection as well: John Quincy Adams, Aaron Burr, Nathanael Greene, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Timothy Pickering. Colonial paper money and samples of cloth also make cameos in the collection.

Christopher Marshall papers (#0395)

  • Christopher Marshall, a Philadelphia druggist during the Revolution, kept several detailed diaries with observations on the political life of the Early Republic as well as daily life in the bustling then-capital of the country. Marshall’s diaries offer a glimpse into how ordinary folks viewed Washington during the Revolution.

Washingtoniana case (#Am.00151)

  • This is perhaps HSP's most intriguing piece. Assembled by Howard Edwards, it is more of a shrine to George Washington than a simple case. Included are a personal letter signed by Washington written to his brother-in-law, Burwell Bassett,  two images of Washington – one a watercolor – and much more. There is even a locket of Washington’s hair, alleged to have been “Presented by John Perrie, son of Martin Perrie, Washington’s Hair Dresser, in 1781, to my Relative, the late Anthony M. Buckley.” Now, Edwards is someone whose Washington passion might parallel my own!

Cadwalader family papers

  • The Cadwalader family, “Old Philadelphians” in the truest sense, is extremely influential in Pennsylvania history. This is a massive collection, with five family members receiving their own series: General John Cadwalader (1742-1786), Thomas Cadwalader (1779-1841), John Cadwalader (1805-1879), George Cadwalader (1806-1879), and Charles E. Cadwalader (1839-1907). Gen. John Cadwalader is our focus in terms of connections to Washington. His papers contain important materials on the Trenton-Princeton campaign and letters of George Washington dated 1776-1778.
  • One item in particular caught my eye, a letter from Washington to Gen. John Cadwalader  dated Christmas Day, 1776. The letter concerns Washington's plans to lead his troops across the Delaware River and commence an attack on Trenton, with the beleaguered Washington asking Cadwalader to create a diversion while the Continentals crossed the river. The Battle of Trenton was the army’s first military victory in the Revolutionary war.

William Spohn Baker collection of Washingtonania (#V67)

  • Baker was another collector of Washingtoniana. Contained in the collection are images of Washington, mostly engravings. There are volumes written and annotated by Baker discussing how Washington was represented in art, handwritten copies of Washington's diaries (now, that’s some dedication!), and a steel engraving of the bust of Washington.

George Washington’s Account book, 1793-1797

  • Select pages from Washington’s account book are published on HSP’s Digital Library. These accounts cover Washington's second presidential term,written by Tobias Lear and Bartholomew Dandridge, another of Washington’s secretaries during his presidency.

George Washington to Thomas Mifflin, October 2nd, 1789

  • You may recognize the name Mifflin from Fort Mifflin on the Delaware River, a Revolutionary battlefield and fort. In the letter, Washington refers to the "amendments proposed to be added to the Constitution of the United States," which were originally enclosed. These amendments would become known as the "Bill of Rights.

George Washington to Christopher Ludwick

  • Here’s a little-known fact I discovered in researching this letter: Christopher Ludwick was Baker-General for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. This German immigrant attempted to persuade Hessians to abandon the British army and join the Continentals. In his role as Baker-General, Congress instructed Ludwick to return one pound of bread for every one pound of flour. He was frequently invited to dine with Washington. After Yorktown, Ludwick promptly baked 6,000 loaves for Cornwallis’s men, as per Washington’s request.

Like most passions, I have trouble explaining exactly where my Washington-mania comes from. It may be as simple as the Liberty’s Kids program I watched every day growing up, featuring three teenage journalists working for Benjamin Franklin. I viewed Washington at a young age as most of his contemporaries seem to have viewed him: as a dashing yet earnest figure. Washington continues to fascinate me, making his way into my college studies as a history major at Temple University. In my courses as well as through my internship at HSP, I’ve had the privilege of learning about the Washington that textbooks minimize, or forget to include altogether: Washington as a man, in all his complexities and contradictions. Through his letters, I’ve been privy to Washington's thoughts and feelings, his anxieties and his principles. HSP puts a world of Washington at the fingertips of researchers and students like me, with this brief survey serving as a helpful port of call as you explore one of the most important figures behind the founding of our country.

If you’ve stumbled upon a piece of Washingtoniana that has impacted you, please feel free to comment below - I'd love to hear about it! 
 

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: November 1865

Hello, everyone! We've reached the penultimate post of transcriptions 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.

*****

George F. Parry spent the first half of November 1865 at home and the second half of the month in the Midwest. On November 14th, he began a grand trip to Illinois to see freinds. He stayed there, visiting locations in the state, including Chicago, until the 22nd. He returned to Newtown at the end of the month and resumed regular life once again.


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.


*****

Saturday November 4
Home all Day – very stormy

Aaron Rose sold his Hotel
Property to Joseph Willard for
$5000.00.

*****

Friday November 10
Wertz (Wirz) of Andersonville Hung
at Washington.
                        Sent a Note
to Nellie Paff.
                        Eve’g at Rose
with Joseph Willard and Roses’
family
            Crowd at Esq. Barnleys
in Eve’g.

*****

Tuesday November 14
Bid good by to Newtown
Arrived in Phila. Called on Paxson
and Bonsall[.]
            Spent the Eve’g at Barley
Sheaf with Tom. Janney [and] Sam. Phillips.

Bought ticket for Rock Island in
Chicago $30.15 – started at 11 P. M.

*****

Friday November 17
Took walk around [Chicago]
Called on Dr. Dodd who took me
around and introduced me to number
of family.

Oscar Thornall of New Jersey[,] a
young man who I got acquainted with
on the Cars – Started his journey
to Belvidere, Ill.

*****

Tuesday November 21
Walked from Bradshaws to
Rock Island and crossed over into
Davenport, Iowa – took a view
of the City and recrossed to
Rock Island.    Very tired – walked
over 30 miles.
                        wroe Letter Home
Davenport and Rock Island both
duck(?) places.

*****

Monday November 27
Rode over back of Addisville to
see a Horse
                        Ordered a new
set f Harnesses to be made by
Harding[,] to be done by Christmas
for $35.50.
                        Received a Letter from
Pay Master at Washington about my
back pay. answered it.
                        Set up all night
with Harry Eyre [and] with Dr. Trego.

*****

Informing Pennsylvania's Energy Future

Guest editors Brian C. Black and Donna J. Rilling introduce "Energy in Pennsylvania History," a special issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
 


"Fracking Means Jobs"; "New Well Severance Tax Would Stifle Job Growth and Economic Benefits of Pennsylvania's Energy Development"; "Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector Found to be Much Greater Than Expected." What newspaper reader in Pennsylvania today hasn't regularly encountered such headlines? From developing new pipelines and cracker plants that break down petrochemical and fracking residue to defining standards for the allowable toxicity of fluids used or created in the conversion of shale into natural gas, Pennsylvania remains one of the nation's hot spots for energy development as it continues its historical practice of extraction and expansion into other forms of energy.

For more than a century, fossil fuels have defined the lives of every American, and few states have contributed more to this bounty than Pennsylvania. The commonwealth’s diverse energy resources have been repeatedly connected to markets and converted into power and commodities. Pennsylvania has been a place where innovators attempted pioneering techniques and developed new technologies. Although its energy history has exerted a significant toll on Pennsylvania’s environment and citizens, it has also enabled the state to lead the nation into and through the industrial age. Today, as yet another energy frontier emerges—natural gas mined from shale—investigating ways that various energy forms were developed in Pennsylvania is especially compelling. Thus, a special issue of Pennsylvnia Magazine of History and Biography on Energy in Pennsylvania is timely.

The special issue offers some historical context for our gas boom as well as for other energy opportunities that will emerge in the 21st century. The flexible nature with which energy winds its way through everyday human life has inspired the editors to choose essays that represent various stops on the lifecycle of energy use. Frederick Quivik examines Philadelphia’s Point Breeze Petroleum Refinery and storage site to reveal the tensions between oil production and hazards to humans and the environment. Louis Carlat and Daniel Weeks show how Thomas Edison and his managers and partners approached technological, structural, financial, and human barriers to bring electrification to residents of towns in middle Pennsylvania in the late 19th century. Joel Tarr and Karen Clay find early natural gas development in Pittsburgh a precursor for much of what we see unfolding today, though the experiences and environmental consequences of 19th- and early 20th-century gas drilling have been largely ignored by today’s producers and regulators.

A review essay by Brian Black, Ann Greene, and Marcy Ladson surveys exciting new literature on energy history while noting opportunities for further investigation. Allen Dietrich-Ward provides a review of recent books in the field. Finally, the “Hidden Gems” spotlight energy sources such as wood, charcoal, water, and coal that were critical to colonial Pennsylvanians and its early industrialists. The gems also point to some of energy’s cultural dimensions, be it in singular creations of models of automobile America or in ideas about abundance that supported profligate use of the region’s vast sylvan lands.

Whether it is gathered from turbines atop our ridges or layers of shale buried deep below, there can be little doubt that energy will continue to play an important role in life in Pennsylvania. While the historical stories are full of personal drama and fascinating technical innovations, the true imperative for historians derives from the need for us to draw from past patterns and practices to inform this current and future development. We hope this special issue contributes to an informed energy future in the commonwealth.

BRIAN C. BLACK is professor of history and environmental studies at Penn State Altoona, where he currently serves as head of arts and humanities. He is the author of several books, including Petrolia: The Landscape of America’s First Oil Boom (Johns Hopkins, 2003) and Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and edited Nature’s Entrepôt: Philadelphia’s Urban Sphere and its Environmental Thresholds (University of Pittsburgh, 2012), and Climate Change, a four-volume encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2012), among other titles. He is the author of the Energy and Society book series with West Virginia University Press.

DONNA J. RILLING is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she focuses on the history of the early American republic. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania and is author of Making Houses, Crafting Capitalism: Builders in Philadelphia, 1790–1850 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). Her current book project examines the metamorphosis of a waterway in 19th-century Philadelphia that was at the heart of political, social, and environmental conflict.

Of Wanamakers and Romanovs: A History Mystery from the Archives

During the course of the Howard Lewis Project in our Archives department, the John Wanamaker collection [2188] received some much-needed attention in order to make the collection more accessible and easier to use for our researchers. As one of our larger collections (approximately 190 feet of material) that documents a very prominent Philadelphia citizen and the store he founded, the collection sees a great deal of use in our research library. It was determined that one of the things we could do to make the collection easier to use would be to take a detailed inventory of all the volumes in the collection and number them consecutively. Previously, the volumes had been numbered rather confusingly and were further obscured by the fact that some were housed in boxes with other materials and not listed separately in the finding aid. All volumes were removed from the boxes (except where they were fragile and in need of extra support) and given labels with their new numbers and titles that accurately reflect their contents.

It was in the course of these tasks that I began to notice that some of these volumes were very poorly or confusingly described. I realized that researchers looking at the finding aid (since the collection is located in our closed stacks and not directly accessible to our patrons) would likely have no idea as to their contents or any indication that they could be potentially useful. One of the most interesting results of this re-labeling of volumes was the discovery (or re-discovery) of material within the collection, especially former volume 20-24. On the shelf, this volume was labeled as “20-24 Mary Brown Wanamaker Europe trip, 1909.” The finding aid description was only slightly more helpful: “Scrapbooks and photo albums: Mary Brown Wanamaker: photo album, European Trip, 1909.” Seems fairly lackluster, right? Based on these titles, one could only surmise that the album contained photographs that maybe depicted members of the Wanamaker family somewhere in Europe. As with the other scrapbooks and albums, I had to open up the volume and sift through its contents to get a more specific and accurate title.

Cover of the Mary Brown (Wanamaker) Warburton photo album

 

It became obvious fairly quickly, thanks to the captions under the photographs, that this album was not assembled by John Wanamaker’s wife, Mary Brown Wanamaker, but rather by his daughter, also named Mary Brown but known as “Minnie” and who had married Major Barclay Warburton in 1895. The album features Minnie, her husband, and her three children, as well as her mother and other unidentified family members and travelling companions. As I reached the end of the album however, I surprisingly began to see some very familiar faces:

(left to right) Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, Tsar Nicholas II, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, and Grand Duchesses Xenia Alexandrovna, Tatiana Nikolaevna, and Olga Nikolaevna

and:


(left to right) unkown Russian officer, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and unknown Russian cavlaryman

and:

Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich and Tsar Nicholas II

For students of history, those faces should be quite familiar since they often appear in textbooks and scholarly works around the world.

My initial reaction was to assume that these images were clipped from newspapers or magazines. But closer inspection revealed that they were authentic.  First, many of the photographs are quite informal and are not of the sort that would have been published in the media at that time due to strict rules of etiquette. Second, Minnie Wanamaker Warburton and her husband Barclay appear in several photographs with members of the tsar’s extended family. And third, one of the photographs of Grand Duchess Xenia and her daughter, Princess Irina appear to be authentically autographed.

Assuming all of the above to be true, the only question remaining was: why in the world would the daughter of a Philadelphia department store magnate have such photographs in her possession?

It is known that both the Wanamakers and members of the Romanov family owned property in the south of France at Biarritz however, the true answer may lie in the relationship with one member of the imperial family in particular.

Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich at Biarritz

It is Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, brother-in-law and second cousin to Tsar Nicholas, who appears over and over again in the album. Alexander was married to the tsar’s sister, Grand Duchess Xenia, and served as an admiral in the Imperial Navy as well as an advisor to the throne.

Sometime before 1913, the Grand Duke appears to have made the acquaintance of Major Warburton, either through military circles or through close proximity while vacationing in Biarritz. An article from the New York Tribune dated September 4, 1914 discloses the following:

“Of late years Mr. Warburton has interested himself in the sale of the Lewis automatic gun, the invention of an American officer. This gun and other war material he has sold to the Russian government. He is well known in Russia, and is the personal friend of Grand Duke Alexander, who, on his visit to America last summer, was Mr. Warburton’s guest.”

There are very few materials relating to Minnie and Barclay Warburton in our Wanamaker collection, none of which seem to provide any additional information about their international connections or activities while abroad.

(left to right) Grand Duchess Xenia, Barclay Warburton, and Minnie Wanamaker Warburton

The last dated photograph in the album depicting Grand Duke Alexander and members of the imperial family is from 1914, an ominous date for those who know that World War I began in that year and would bring with it the eventual bloody overthrow of the tsarist regime. Alexander, his wife, and seven children were some of the lucky few members of the Tsar’s inner circle to escape Russia with their lives. They were placed under house arrest at their estate in Crimea by the Bolsheviks for over a year until the German occupation of Yalta freed them (Alexander’s niece was married to Kaiser Wilhelm’s son and heir, the Crown Prince). Several months later, after the armistice was declared and the Germans were forced to evacuate Russian territory, the family was rescued by the British Navy (thanks again to their extended family connections since Alexander’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Tsarina, was the aunt of King George V) and escaped the Bolsheviks for good.

Grand Duke Alexander made his way to the peace talks then taking place at Versailles, in the hopes of gaining support for the anti-communist forces in Russia as well as initiating the rescue of members of the imperial family still threatened by the communist regime. While his pleas ultimately fell on deaf ears, he may have had the chance to be reunited with Barclay Warburton who was serving as a military attaché with the American delegation.

Afterwards, the family split up with Alexander settling in the south of France while Xenia and most of their children settled in England (living on the charity of George V) or immigrated to America. With the loss of his social and political stationnot to mention most of his money, the former grand duke took up amateur archaeology and became a prolific author in his later years. I was unable to find any evidence that he maintained his relationship with the Warburtons of Philadelphia after the end of the war, although it is certainly possible that they stayed in touch.

Grand Duchess Xenia, Tsar Nicholas II, and Grand Duke Alexander posing for the camera with friends in better times

And so this tantalizing piece of evidence from the Wanamaker collection remains shrouded in mystery, for now. There is still a great wealth of material within the collection to comb through that perhaps may shed some light on the rest of the story. But without the benefits of archival processing, arrangement, and description this obscure connection might have remained hidden for many more years. Additional processing of the collection, accompanied by use from researchers, may very well one day uncover more information.

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: October 1865

Hello everyone! We are happy to present another post of transcriptions 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.

*****

By the time October 1865 hit, George F. Parry was back into the swing of regular life. He visited friends and family and traveled around the area being generally social. However, he also complained about the dullness of his hometown. No doubt, after being at war for nearly two years, civilian life probably would have seemed very boring at times. But Parry appeared to make the best of things.


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, October 4
Cold – Many Attending
Doylestown Exhibition

            Sick at 12PM

Excessive tired of Newtown
Dull – nothing doing

*****

Tuesday, October 10
Election Day passed
off very quietly
                        Voted
Union ---

*****

Monday, October 16
In Philadelphia[,] saw
the Fireman’s Parade
Attended Theatre [and] Saw
Kate Fisher play
Mazeppa and French
Spy.

*****

Monday, October 23
At Jacob Cadwallader’s with
Anna after dinner[,] rode up to
Doylestown after her Piano[.] Called
on Houghs and came back
by Unckle[sic] Georges – stayed(?) the
Evening[,] called over at Aunt
and had a very good time.

*****

Friday, October 27
Ben Hough in Newtown
Dr. Trego fixed up my Teath.
Bid good by to Benj. Hough
At Grooms Hotel.

*****

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: September 1865

Welcome back, dear readers, for more transcriptions 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.

*****

September 1865 was all about home for Parry. At the beginning of the month, he was on his way to Harrisburg. By the 10th Parry was back with friends and family. After two years of service and traveling across the southeastern United States, it was time for Parry to return to a normal life. He got sick during the month, but that didn’t seem to deter his social activities.


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.


*****

Friday, September 1
Spent the night and dined at
the Chrsitian St. Hospital.  then
Called at the Barley Sheaf Hotel
saw J. W. Coverdale[,] John Hay [PARRY?}
and others of Bucks County[.]
Dined at Marion House with
Paxon.
                                Started for Harrisburg
8:30 PM[.] arrived at 1 O’clock
at night.   Stayed at National.

*****

Thursday, September 7
Settled up with the United
States Pay Master and with the
Seventh Penn’a Cavalry --- bid
adieu to Harrisburg, Pa at [5??] O’clock
and arrived in Phila at 8:30 PM
accompanied by Colonel C. L. [illegible??]
after a tramp around City stayed
at the Barley Sheaf Hotel.

*****

Sunday, September 10
At Home in Newtown
Spent the Evening at
Esq. Barnsleys. Quite
a number them.  Long time

*****

Sunday, September 17
Attended Quaker Meeting
Called on Eliza
Buckman
                        Very unwell.

*****

Saturday, September 23
With Joseph S. Ely attended
Albert Phillips funeral in Doylestown

Called on Houghs[.]   dined at
Cowells.  Called on Gen. B. Wallis???

*****

Thursday, September 28
To Fallinsgton with
Davis??? Roberts
                                Sent a Letter
to E. B. French 2d {illegible???]
Washington D. C.

Eve at Kinsey Tomlinson

*****

Closing the Loop: Creative Reuse in the Bindings of the Bank of North America Collection

In the age of e-readers and mass paperbacks, it is easy to forget that books were once a very scarce and expensive commodity made by hand from materials equally costly and difficult to acquire.  In the distant past, before the prevalence of paper, book pages were most often cut from vellum, a parchment made from calfskin; depending on the size of the book and number of pages, a single volume could require the laboriously prepared skins of several, even dozens, of animals.  It was therefore not unheard of for such pages and books to be scraped down and reused, the new words written over the place of the old, and the contents of one book being obscured by another. 

Twice-written manuscripts of this kind are known as palimpsests, and hold a special fascination for historians and archivists.  The inks and pigments of the original text leave their trace deep in the parchment, and while often invisible to the naked eye, can now be revealed through multispectral imaging.  In this way many texts that were previously lost might be recovered, but even if the original text is known and has survived in other manuscripts, the existence of a palimpsest tells a story of its own and points to the circumstances of its making: perhaps the original text was commonplace, perhaps it was deemed heretical, or perhaps the scribe was simply desperate for a clean page on which to work.

 

Fragments of a vellum manuscript repurposed as support tapes
in the binding of volume 39 of the BNA collection (#1543).

 

Whatever the circumstances, the practices of recycling and creative reuse in the making of books continue to this day.  In our world of mechanized production, we most commonly see this in the form of recycled paper, in which case any trace of the previous life of a material is all but completely obliterated – but if we travel back two hundred years or so, to the time when many of the ledgers and account books of the Bank of North America Collection (#1543) were being made, we find many charming and illuminating instances of salvaged and repurposed materials.  Some, like the ones pictured directly above and below, are hidden, and only come to light when we take these books apart in order to mend them.  Others are self-evident, and remain visible to be enjoyed by conservators and researchers alike.

 

Fragment of an engraving repurposed in the spine
of a springback binding the BNA collection (#1543, vol. 187).

 

Often these glimpses are fragmentary, and inspire a certain curiosity and desire to identify the original source of the repurposed material.  It presents a challenge to research and see what information can be gleaned, what minor and possibly untold story might be revealed, and a wondering whether the search will culminate in historical fact or conjecture.

In a previous blog post, on the subject of marbled endpapers in the Bank of North America Collection, conservation technician Alina Josan briefly mentioned a special case where the marbled paper had previously been printed with pages from a book.  Since 2013 when Alina wrote this post, we have encountered several other instances within the BNA Collection of marbling over pages printed with text.  Many are marbled pages from the same book identified by Alina, but there is one volume that is especially curious, featuring marbled text papers from two distinctly different books – one apparently on Poland, the other on feminine health.

 

BNA vol. 14: front endpapers featuring repurposed
text pages from the American Quarterly Review.  

 

The searchable text features on Google Books and Archive.org made it possible for me to identify the sources for each of these printed pages, and soon after to discover that editions of both - contemporary to this specific BNA ledger (vol. 14) - could be found in the collections at HSP and next door, at the Library Company of Philadelphia. 

 

Original sources for the marbled texts of BNA volume 14 (col. #1543): Page 472 from an AQR article on Poland, and Page 590 from Dewees' Treatise on the Diseases of Females.

 

A detail of the marbled pattern applied over page 472
from the AQR article on Poland (June 1831: vol. IX, no. XVIII).

 

The marbled endpapers at the front of this ledger, with the text about Poland, contained portions of pages 471 through 475 of the 18th issue of the 9th volume of the American Quarterly Review, dating from June of 1831. The AQR at this time was printed and published in Philadelphia, by Carey & Lea.

 

The marbled text endpapers at the back of BNA volume 14.  
The text is barely visible along the edge of the page.

 

The endpapers at the back of the ledger were marbled over fragments of what appeared to be an index or table of contents. It took some digging, but I eventually matched it to a book printed in 1831: A treatise on the diseases of females, by William Potts Dewees (1768-1841).  This book was also published in Philadelphia, by Carey & Lea – as it happens, the very same year and publisher as the article on Poland from the American Quarterly Review.

 

A detail of the marbled pattern applied over a fragment of text
from page 590 of Dewees' Treatise on the Diseases of Females (1831).

 

Given that both books were published in 1831, it is a safe assumption that the BNA ledger was bound sometime thereafter.  While the ledger itself did not have a binders' ticket, indicating when or where it had been made, browsing through the BNA Collection as a whole, I was able to find at least five other ledgers of a nearly identical style and proportion; four of which had binder’s tickets for Hogan & Thompson, of no. 108 Chestnut Street, and no. 50 North Fourth Street, Philadelphia.  Looking at the titles and contents of each ledger, it was interesting to see that they are all minute books, and that the dates of their contents line up nearly perfectly, spanning from July 1st of 1837 to August 28th of 1879 – over 40 years!  Gauging by the uniform appearance and signs of age, it would seem that these ledgers were all made and purchased around the same time, the blank ones stowed away for later use; a minor but interesting glimpse into the more practical operations of the bank. 

 

The binders' ticket of Philadelphia's Hogan & Thompson,
as can be seen in BNA volume 228 (col. #1543).

 

The exact story of how the printed pages came to be repurposed and eventually used in the binding of a bank ledger remains a mystery for another day.  Given that the pages were likely printed in 1831 and that the ledger was not put to use until 1837, there is a five to six-year gap in which the extra pages were marbled and found their way to the Hogan and Thompson Stationers – or perhaps were marbled at/by Hogan and Thompson.  HSP actually holds the Lea and Febiger records (Collection 227B) - which spans over 200 years of publishing, including the Carey & Lea period -and might possibly shed some light on the question of how the marbled texts came to be.  It is easy to imagine the existence of an accounts page or letter in the Lea & Febiger collection that gives evidence of a relationship between the two binderies – a holy grail of little consequence, but one that nevertheless inspires further questing.  Perhaps there will someday be a part two to this entry; for now please enjoy the related links and resources given below. 

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: August 1865

Hello all! We're closing in on the final months of posts of transcribed entries 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.

*****

At the end of July 1865, Parry was recuperating at Cumberland Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.  He spent most of August in the hospital dealing with bouts of rheumatism and fever (as well as trying to avoid smallpox patients!). Though the month was mostly uneventful, things picked up by the the end of it, which saw Parry on his way back to Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, he was happy to be home.


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.


*****

Thursday, August 3

Not so well to Day[.]  received fourteen
sick men in the ward.

                                                Drs. held
a consultation over sick man in
this ward and diagnosed his case
to be small pox.  he was with
affects removed at once to Small
Pox Hospital[,]   After giving us all
a splendid chance to take the
Disorder.

*****

Monday, August 7
Very sick all night with rheumatism
and Fever.   Slept none of account[,]
some better during the day>

Cool and nice.  Sent a Louisville

Journal home.
                     About as leave be dead
as suffer as I have and live like
I have for over two years.

*****

Sunday, August 13
All day in quarters[,]  nothing
new. Regiment still at Marion[.]

Write a Letter Home.
                                     no news and
very dull.

*****

Monday, August 14

Sent a Louisville Journal home[.]
all quiet in Hospital[,]  very warm[.]
Waiting for a transfer.
                                       Received
by Dr. a Telegraph Dispatch from
Phila. asking if I had Typhoid
Fever or was bad.
                                 Sent a Letter
home.

*****

Wednesday, August 23
Bid adieu to Nashville at Seven
O clock by Hospital[.]  Train run
very fast till one o'clock when
an axel tree broke under the engine[.]
[illegible] bringing train to a stop by
throwing the front cars of[f] the track.
Delayed six hours when a Freight
train came along that pulled us
though to Louisville, KY[.]  reached
their[sic] two O clock night.  Ambulance
Train conveyed us to Hospital.

*****

Saturday, August 26
All North Eastern troops
Transferred from the Crittenden
Hospital to a steam boat on
the Ohio river.
                          Some fever to
day – and Heachak[headache]

*****

Thursday, August 31
On Cars all night on Penna.
Central R. R.[,] arrived at Harrisburg
10 O clock P. M. and at Philadelphia
at 12 A. M.
                        In evening Lt.
Sommers and I called on Paxson
and number of Others[,] had a
good time.  Spent some time
with Col. Sibert and Major
Davis.

******

Goodbye HINT, Hello "Politics in Graphic Detail"

After two long years of poring through HSP's graphics collections, digitizing countless images, researching the history of political cartoons, playing around with high-tech image viewers, painstakingly encoding TEI, creating lesson plans and resources for educators, learning about RDF and metadata standards, and blogging, blogging, blogging, it is time for Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) staff to sign off on this digital history project.

The adventure isn't over, however. Although the HINT project ends on September 1, the digital history exhibit we developed for the project, Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons, will debut on September 16.

Here's what you can expect to see:

  • Over 125 political cartoons, keyword searchable, transcribed, and annotated
  • An interactive image viewer that allows you to zoom, pan, rotate, download, and explore transcriptions and annotations for the images in our exhibit
  • More than 200 biographies and descriptions of the people, organizations, and symbols associated with our cartoons
  • An educators' portal with links to cartoons-based curricula
  • Essays by experts in political cartoon history
  • Video and details on how to use the site and learn more about the HSP Image Viewer and our TEI encoding

Thank you for following our progress on this exciting project over the past two years. We hope you enjoy the exhibit!

12/2/15
Author: Megan Evans

The following article was written by HSP volunteer Randi Kamine and is being posted on her behalf. Part two of the article will be posted next Wednesday. Many thanks to Archival Processor Megan Evans for helping prepare these articles for publication.

Comments: 2

11/25/15
Author: Olivia D'Aiutolo

Where’s Washington? Judging by the number of search results when using the terms “George Washington” in HSP’s online catalog, Discover, the answer is: Everywhere!

Comments: 0

11/25/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Hello, everyone! We've reached the penultimate post of transcriptions 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.

Topics : Civil War
Comments: 0

11/16/15
Author: Rachel Moloshok

Every type of American prime mover—the power to do work—has been harvested and used in Pennsylvania and, in the process of its use and management, has defined entire regions of the state. Exciting new scholarship is teaching us much about this important history while also pointing us to promising areas for future inquiry.

Comments: 0

11/11/15
Author: Megan Evans

During the course of the Howard Lewis Project in our Archives department, the John Wanamaker collection [2188] received some much-needed attention in order to make the collection more accessible and easier to use for our researchers. As one of our larger collections (approximately 190 feet of material) that documents a very prominent Philadelphia citizen and the store he founded, the collection sees a great deal of use in our research library. It was determined that one of the things we could do to make the collection easier to use would be to take a detailed inventory of all the volumes in the collection and number them consecutively. Previously, the volumes had been numbered rather confusingly and were further obscured by the fact that some were housed in boxes with other materials and not listed separately in the finding aid. All volumes were removed from the boxes (except where they were fragile and in need of extra support) and given labels with their new numbers and titles that accurately reflect their contents.

Comments: 0

10/28/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Hello everyone! We are happy to present another post of transcriptions 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.

Comments: 0

9/30/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Welcome back, dear readers, for more transcriptions 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.

Comments: 0

9/8/15
Author: Charissa Schulze

In the age of e-readers and mass paperbacks, it is easy to forget that books were once a very scarce and expensive commodity made by hand from materials equally costly and difficult to acquire.  In the distant past, before the prevalence of paper, book pages were most often cut from vellum, a parchment made from calfskin; depending on the size of the book and number of pages, a single volume could require the laboriously prepared skins of several, even dozens, of animals.  It was therefore not unheard of for such pages and books to be scraped down and reused, t

Comments: 0

8/26/15
Author: Cary Hutto

Hello all! We're closing in on the final months of posts of transcribed entries 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.

Comments: 0

8/19/15
Author: Rachel Moloshok

After two long years of poring through HSP's graphics collections, digitizing countless images, researching the history of political cartoons, playing around with high-tech image viewers, painstakingly encoding TEI, creating lesson plans and resources for educators, learning about RDF and metadata standards, and blogging, blogging, blogging, it is time for Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) staff to sign off on this digital history project.

Comments: 0