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!
Philadelphia's first free library was not the Free Library of Philadelphia. Bookworms without means in the mid-19th century turned to the Philadelphia City Institute.
Founded in 1852, PCI originated from the Young Man's Institute, an organization striving to provide Philadelphia's youths with positive alternatives to the "perils to which they are exposed in a large city."
“What is the birth of a movement? What is the movement before we know what it is?”
Playwright Ain Gordon began HSP's program, Before Stonewall: The Gay Pride Movement in Philadelphia, by posing this question to the audience.
A part of HSP's An Artist Embedded project, the program turned out to be an intimate evening wherein the audience felt free to interject and share their own experiences. Many in the audience were individuals active in LGBTQ advocacy in Philadelphia in the 1960s and 1970s.
Part I. Dr. John Gibbon
In my work as an archival processor at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, nothing brings history to life quite like a family collection. The majority of collections that I have worked on in the past have consisted of institutional or organizational records: a mind-numbing mountain of board minutes, receipts, form letters, invoices, etc. that comprise most such 20th century collections and have contributed considerably to HSP’s own processing backlog. While these collections certainly have their research value, they don’t necessarily inspire one’s imagination. By comparison, processing and arranging the Gibbon family correspondence (Collection 3272) was a breath of fresh air. In fact, I felt a little sheepish throughout the whole thing because for a history lover like me, working on this collection felt like the thrill of discovery that accompanies digging through my own grandparent’s attic and people aren’t supposed to have that much fun at work.
June 1 marks the beginning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, celebrated since 1995 in commemoration of the June 1969 Stonewall riot in Manhattan - a turning point in the struggle for gay rights.
Celebrations of the hard work and sacrifice of emergency medical services personnel have marked this year's National EMS Week. For a historical perspective, consider another "first responder" of sorts, Edith Madeira - one of the first Red Cross nurses to treat the sick and starving of what was then known as Palestine during the World War I.
Greetings, everyone! We're happy to be back with 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.
For HSP's June 3 event, “Their Story, Our Story: African American Women and the Fight for Freedom”, we invited historians, dramatists, and the public to discuss African-American female abolitionists and their place in history.
Reading from his play If She Stood..., playwright Ain Gordon described the experience of an abolitionist woman in the late nineteenth-century fighting for her social and political beliefs.
The artistry on display in the political cartoons of the HINT project is breathtaking at times. Now that we HINT project associates are up to our elbows in encoding—carefully considering the details of each cartoon, transcribing every word, trying to identify every important person, organization, or symbol in the image, and doing our best to explain its message—the hard work the artists put into composing these often very complicated images is more and more apparent. How did they do it?
My past two blog entries chronicled the history behind the enchanting name of Isaac Hazlehurst, and hinted that there must be countless other histories awaiting discovery within the Bank of North America collection. With that said, I never expected to begin treatment on a bank-related volume and find a dramatic story lying within, its details already thoroughly chronicled, merely awaiting a reader to appreciate the rhetoric of the author.
A few weeks back, we shared in the blog post Hail Columbia some political cartoons we've been researching for HSP's Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project that feature Columbia and other female personifications of the United States. We’ve also found several cartoons that use male figures as our national symbol.