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 the Philadelphia Orchestra tunes up for this week's performances of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, consider the story of the man who introduced the orchestra to the world: Leopold Stokowski.
Born in London to a Polish carpenter father and an Irish mother, Stokowski (1882-1977) studied at Britain's Royal College of Music and Queen's College, Oxford, before working as an organist and choirmaster.
It will perhaps come as no shock that, in terms of website categories, pornography attracts the most traffic. Number two, however, may surprise some: genealogy.
Popularized by shows such as Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots, genealogy - the study of lines of descent - has become one of the most prevalent pastimes in the United States.
Often thought of as the last bastions of hush, libraries are louder than one might have heard. So tune in and listen closely to Philadelphia's 300-plus-year musical legacy.
Forsaking it in their religious services and sneering at it in their private lives, the Quaker founders of Philadelphia were a decidedly unmusical bunch. Fortunately for future ears, other religious and ethnic groups were counted among the city's early settlers, many with active musical traditions - and instruments - in tow.
The term Philadelphia Sound conjures for many the lush arrangements and piercing horns of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff tunes from the 1970s. For fans of classical music, however, the silky strings of the Philadelphia Orchestra define the city's namesake sound. Consider the story of the man who did much to perfect it: Eugene Ormandy.
Born Jeno Blau in Budapest, Ormandy (1899-1985) was given a tiny fiddle at age 3. Two years later, he enrolled as a violinist in the Hungarian capital's Royal State Academy of Music before becoming its youngest graduate, at age 14.
The following article was written by HSP volunteer Randi Kamine and is being posted on her behalf. Many thanks to Archival Processor Megan Evans for helping prepare these articles for publication. To read the first part of this article, please click here or on the article's title in the right sidebar.
Almost two years later, in a letter dated April 11, 1767, Benjamin Franklin was still writing to John Ross about the “Change of Government in the Proprietary Colonies.” Things were not going well. Franklin found sympathy for the cause from men “of Weight,” but with controversies concerning British rule occurring in New York and Boston, “nothing is so little interesting to them as our Application” to go forward. In fact, although by 1763 several colonies surrendered their charters and became royal colonies, Pennsylvania remained a proprietary colony until the American Revolution.
The School District of Philadelphia may lack proper funding, but the United States' eighth-largest public school system has never wanted for dedicated teachers. For many of the city's Cold War kids, Helen Cheyney Bailey stands at the front of the class.
Born in Philadelphia and educated in its public schools, Bailey (1897-1978) initially dreamed of being a writer. A scholarship to Radcliffe College seemed to offer the Philadelphia High School for Girls graduate a chance at a life of letters. Gender conventions got in the way.
The following article was written by HSP volunteer Randi Kamine and is being posted on her behalf. Many thanks to Archival Processor Megan Evans for helping prepare these articles for publication.
One of the interesting things about processing a collection at HSP is that one never knows when a significant document might unexpectedly show up. For instance, four letters in Benjamin Franklin’s hand were brought to light when a finding aid was recently written for the Read family letters (Collection 0537). All four were written to John Ross, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and frequent correspondent of Franklin’s. Ross was half-sister to Gertrude Ross Read, the wife of George Read of this collection who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ross and Franklin had a political relationship as well as a friendship. Both were active in the politics of the time, especially in the rivalry between the Quaker and Proprietary parties that were fighting for control of the Pennsylvania assembly. Both Ross and Franklin were in support of the Quaker party and in opposition to the Proprietary party.
Thick skin may seem to be a requisite for elected officials. At the turn of the 20th century, however, Pennsylvania Gov. Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker found himself nearly crushed by a cartoon.
Born in Phoenixville to Old Philadelphia stock, Pennypacker (1843-1916) taught himself several languages and served as a judge before entering into–and winning–the governor's office in 1903. there
In an era before Instagram fashionistas, where did trendy Americans turn for news on emerging styles? For nearly 50 years in the 19th century, one publication trended above the rest: Godey's Lady's Book.
If virtuous art in government buildings guaranteed good governance, Pennsylvania's state Capitol would produce only first-rate politicians, heroically adorned as it is with the murals of pioneering American artist Violet Oakley.
Oakley (1874-1961) spent her childhood in Bergen Heights, N.J., and Philadelphia filling voluminous sketchbooks. In an unfinished autobiography, Oakley revealed that if she did not have a pencil and paper, she sketched on the roof of her mouth with her tongue.