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!
As a conservation technician on the Bank of North America project, I am constantly amazed and inspired by the collection. Indeed, it is inevitable that as I clean and mend pages in the manuscripts, my interest is piqued by what I find within – whether it be ink blots, insects, doodles, or in this case, certain recurring names. The names I find particularly eye-catching are those that speak of bygone eras, names that I have not previously encountered in contemporary society, names that inspire narrative imaginings like fictional characters in a favorite novel.
One such name went a step above casual pondering to elicit genuine curiosity. That name was Isaac Hazlehurst. I began to find his name so often in the ledgers on which I was working, that I felt sure he must have been a prominent Philadelphian of his age… and yet his was not a name with which I was familiar, like George Latimer, Stephen Girard, or Henry Drinker. I knew that I must pose this question: who was this Isaac Hazlehurst, exactly, and what was he doing in Philadelphia at the end of the 18th century?
The Bank of North America Collection, Volume 358: Cash book 1790 January 13 - April 15
The Bank of North America Collection, Vol. 664: Rowlett's Tables, 1802.
Surprisingly enough, this was my first foray into research of a genealogical nature at the Historical Society. I knew that I should begin with a conversation with our resident historian, Dr. Dan Rolph, as he could most assuredly direct me on my way. I was simply unprepared for the amazing wealth of information we amassed about Isaac in the span of one hour – details about his birth, death, marriage, and children, which began to paint a picture of this man, the life that he led, and the lives of his family. When we found a record of a letter from Alexander Hamilton to Isaac Hazlehurst on Founder's Online (part of the National Archives), I knew that my hunch that Isaac was a prominent figure in Philadelphia was correct. As I continued my research on my own in the weeks following, I was stunned that the investigation into a name with which I felt an affinity could reveal such a gold mine of Philadelphia and mid-Atlantic history.
Isaac Hazlehurst, Jr. (it turns out!) was born on November 22, 1742 in Manchester, England, the son of Isaac Hazlehurst and Mary Gryme. He was a prominent lawyer and merchant, establishing the Hazlehurst mercantile firm in Philadelphia in 1768. He wed Julianna Purviance on April 25, 1769 here in Philadelphia, and together they had seven children: Mary Elizabeth, Andrew, Samuel, Robert, John, Richard Hunter, and Isaac III. The following images show records for two locations for the Hazlehurst mercantile firm. The first was located at the now non-existent corner of Water St. and Tun Alley, approximately where Columbus Blvd now stands, parallel to I-95. The second Hazlehurst house and store was located on Drinker’s Alley, parallel to and in the same city block as our beautiful Elfreth’s Alley. In my optimistic imaginings I pictured myself visiting this house, but sadly, the entirety of Drinker’s Alley has also vanished. Instead of the history of these streets being preserved and cherished, they were leveled in the name of progress.
Philadelphia and her merchants by Abraham Ritter
Philadelphia and her merchants by Abraham Ritter
Philadelphia Directory, 1795, 1796 by George Alberti, M.D.
After this disappointment, I was thrilled to stumble upon the name Isaac Hazlehurst in a list of portraits by famous American portraitist Thomas Sully. Even more amazing to learn was that this painting is actually contained in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts here in Philadelphia! However, the date on the painting indicates that it must be Isaac Jr.’s son, Isaac III, who is immortalized in the painting. There is also one of Mary Elizabeth, our Isaac’s eldest child.
Thomas Sully, Isaac Hazlehurst, 1838. Oil on canvas.
Thomas Sully, Mary Hazlehurst, 1831. Oil on canvas.
Isaac’s daughter Mary ended up marrying Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who has been called “The Father of American Architecture”. Latrobe is noteworthy for his designs of the sadly now demolished Bank of Pennsylvania and the Center Square Water Works, once found at the location of Philadelphia’s City Hall. Latrobe also contributed designs for our Capital in D.C. As if this is not incredible enough, it is Mary Hazlehurst and Latrobe’s grandson (and Isaac Jr.’s great grandson), who was Mayor of Baltimore seven times over: Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe.
The Bank of Pennsylvania. Architect: Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Artist: Benjamin Ridgway Evans, 1855.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, United States Capitol, Rendered Elevation for West Front with Propylaeum, 1811.
Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe Monument in Baltimore, designed by Edward Berge and J. Maxwell Miller.
In addition, we in the conservation department made another exciting connection, one that is close to our hearts here at HSP. In 2011, HSP produced and published a facsimile of Ellen Emlen’s Cookbook written in her own hand. On page 124 of this cookbook can be found a recipe for Mrs. Hazlehurst’s Brandied Peaches! With no first name mentioned, the recipe could be sourced from any number of Mrs. Hazlehursts, but it is Samuel, Isaac’s third child, who married Elizabeth Baynton Markoe. This Elizabeth may have been a relation of Ellen Emlen, who was also a Markoe; because of this connection, it is our working theory that Elizabeth Hazlehurst, Samuel’s wife, may well be the Mrs. Hazlehurst responsible for these brandied peaches.
As I continue my research, it is my hope to visit some of the locations I have learned about with which Isaac held a connection. If you know anything about the Hazlehurst or Latrobe families, or have advice on how I may continue my research, please feel free to share!
In conclusion, I am truly awe-inspired by the revelations that have occurred simply through my curiosity of a name found within our collections. I cannot help but wonder about the other names I have glimpsed, the wealth of historic narrative attributed to each, and the connections waiting to be discovered.
Author's note: For further information, follow the links buried throughout this post, both in the text and in the images.
Low blood pressure kept Francis Bosworth (1904-1983) from serving in the military during the Second World War. In response, Bosworth, a seasoned writer, turned to social service. It was this second calling that brought Bosworth, an Episcopalian, to Philadelphia, where he was employed by the Quakers for nearly a quarter of a century to oversee a settlement house. Oversight led to activism, and in recognition of his efforts on behalf of urban development, Bosworth was awarded one of the city’s most prestigious honors in 1952, the Philadelphia Award. In this photograph, Bosworth, at right, receives the award from Judge Curtis Bok.
Born September 6, 1904, in Minnesota, Francis Bosworth began his writing career in the newsroom, working as an editor of the Minnesota Daily and as a reporter for the Minneapolis Journal. He moved to New York and continued writing for the New York Evening World. He taught journalism and drama at Columbia University, wrote a play, The Fields Beyond, which had a short Broadway run, and directed the Federal Theater Project, which was established under the Works Progress Administration in 1935. According to a 1967 article published in the Friends Journal, which was a modified reprint of an article that appeared earlier in the Sunday Bulletin Magazine (Philadelphia), Bosworth also filled his time in New York as an editor of a confession magazine, a music critic, and a public relations adviser to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and to the legendary screen and stage actress Tallulah Bankhead.
Bosworth was working for Newsweek when the United States entered the war in 1941. He hoped to join the military, but a classification of 4F kept him out of the service. Wanting to make his contribution to the war effort, he volunteered with the Quakers to teach English to refugees. His work was so impressive that he was invited in 1943 to become executive director for the Friends Neighborhood Guild, a Quaker settlement house in Philadelphia. At that time the Guild was located in an area considered the worst housing section of the city. Supporting 32,000 residents, two-thirds of the homes lacked toilets, electricity, and/or water. Finding the task “not his cup of tea,” Bosworth was told, “…it is awful. Your job is to make it better.” To do so, Bosworth refocused the mission of the Guild. Rather than passive assistance and handouts, the Guild encouraged tenants to become activists, taking charge and taking to task landlords negligent in keeping their buildings to code. According to the Journal, neighborhood constituents testified at legislative hearings in support of public aid to the run-down areas. By the late 1940s, the Guild, along with the American Friends Service Committee, devised a four-part housing program that was considered radical for its time. First, the project was to be cooperatively owned by its tenants; secondly, the project was to be interracial. Parts three and four required each tenant do some type of home improvement labor as part of their down payment; and lastly, the buildings were to be renovated rather than razed since they were structurally sound. After four years of fighting for approval, the Friends Housing Cooperative became a reality, sporting gardens, a courtyard, playground and communal facilities, such as a woodworking shop open to all tenants. As Bosworth recalled when he retired in 1967, along with the interracial stipulation, the “cooperative angle” was also innovative. “Now you see FHA-backed co-ops everywhere.” Bosworth later focused on programs for the young residents, establishing summer education projects.
In championing community relations, Bosworth worked closely with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Health and Welfare Council, and the Division for the Aged. He also used his writing skills to continue the cause, with articles such as “The neighborhood is our client,” (1949), “The story of Friends’ Neighborhood Guild” (1950) and “The cost of poverty" (1968). Francis Bosworth died May 1, 1983, at the age of 78.
[Editor's note: the following blog post was written a few weeks prior to publication. The cigarette tax legislation mentioned in the first paragraph was just signed into law.]
September 8, 2014, was the first day of public school here in Philadelphia. The dire state of the city’s schools is well-known to many Americans by now; in the face of an approximately $81 million budget gap, schools have closed, thousands of teachers and support staffers—including nurses, janitors, counselors, and bus drivers—have been laid off, class sizes have swelled, and educators and administrators have been reduced to begging for basic materials such as paper and pencils on internet crowdsourcing platforms. Over a thousand more layoffs are in store if state legislators do not pass legislation in the next few weeks that will allow Philadelphia’s City Council to levy a controversial $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes that, it is hoped, will raise approximately $49 million for the city schools during the 2014–15 academic year.
Above: John L. De Mar, "Stop!" Philadelphia Record, October 9, 1907 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
As we’ve worked to select and research approximately 500 political cartoons for inclusion in a digital history exhibit as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve come across several cartoons that comment on Philadelphia’s public schools in the early 1900s. A handful of cartoons from October 1907, clipped from the Philadelphia Record, focus on a challenge faced by the city's schools. In the cartoon below, as in the cartoon above, the Record’s cartoonist, John De Mar, contrasts images of innocent children and indignant citizens against caricatures of corrupt members of Philadelphia's political "machine."
John L. De Mar, "No Money for Schools—But We Can Take Care of You," Philadelphia Record, October 12, 1907 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
I would love to see the Record's print commentary on this issue (sadly, full issues of the Record for this period are hard to come by). Combing through back issues of the Philadelphia Inquirer in online databases, however, helps to fill in the details behind the drawings. In October 1907, Philadelphians were preparing to vote on a $10 million loan bill. If passed, it would provide $2.5 million to the Board of Education for the annual budget for 1908—not an insignificant sum, but only half of the $5 million the board needed to maintain school sites and build new school buildings.
John L. De Mar, "The Last Appropriation Was Delivered at the Wrong Address," Philadelphia Record, October 8, 1907 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)
If the bill failed, no school loan could legally be made until the following November. Philadelphians thus faced an unpleasant choice: vote yes to the hefty loan bill, accept the limited funds for schools, and try to struggle on, or reject the bill entirely and allow the schools to languish for another year. The bill ultimately passed by a large majority.
John L. De Mar, "A Machine Melodrama," Philadelphia Record, October 7, 1907 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133). Caption: "Vote for the loan or I'll drop the che-ild"
Sadly, it’s all too easy to draw direct parallels between the challenges facing the schools then and now. Researching political cartoons is a fun job, but it's depressing to realize that while we’ve made progress in many areas of American life between 1907 and 2014, the magnitude of the challenges facing Philadelphia’s schools has only gotten worse.
Greetings readers, and happy autumn to you all! We're back again with more 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.
September 1864 was bookended by two major events: the takeovers of Atlanta, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia, by the Union Army, both of which Parry noted in his diary. As he also noted, his regiment was among the first to step into the newly-captured Atlanta. Besides that excitement, this was a routine month that Parry spent mostly in Georgia. He put in a lot of quality time with his horse, Rosencrans, who was featured in several entries. By the end of the month, Parry was once again on the march.
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 2
Scouting Party went out and James
Collins was Killed by Rebel Shot[.]
Our forces this morning too posses-
sion of Atlanta, Our Regt. some
of the first in the place. rode
out to Pike Mountain in the afternoon
and wrote a Letter to Albert [illegible]
Thursday, September 8
Wrote a Letter to Sallie Lukens
Rode into the City[,] saw the Guns
And ruins of five ammunition
Trains burnt by the Rebels[.]
Army Cummberland moved into
and around the City. Saw Wm. Fetter
Fred Davis got
Drunk and very abusive[.]
Monday, September 12
Moved out at Light[,] marched
to few miles N. E. of Decatur
and camped after a hard Days
march in a Pine woods.
nice but Dusty Day – orders
so reported to dismount the
7th Penna Cavalry[.]
Wednesday, September 21
Fixed up our Quarters [in Roseville, GA][,] Rosen-
crans went out in country and
got a fine lot of Potatoes and
Got some medicine of
4th Mich. Cavalry
twenty Rebels came in Deserters
Rainy and Disagreeable
Tuesday, September 27
Moved camp and put up tent
Some words with Jobson and
A few words about Rowling
Mules with Lt. Rank
Got a Hog and about one bushel
Of Potatoes[.] a splendid Day.
This is the eighth and final blog in A Philly Foodie Explores Local History-- a journey in food history that has led me to cook from Martha Washington’s original cookbook, connect with Philadelphia’s historic Italian Market, and dedicate an entire blog to Pennsylvania peaches. It only seems fitting to end this blog series by visiting Reading Terminal Market, a popular foodie destination in the city today whose history reflects massive changes in American food production and distribution throughout the 20th century. At the 1931 formal opening of The Food Show and Home Progress Exposition at Reading Terminal, president of Reading Company Agnew T. Dice spoke about the role railroads and modern technology played in reshaping the American dinner table at the time. A copy of this speech along with an incredible collection of 1940s photographs have made their way into archives at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and provide a lively view of the market’s past. After peering into the history of Reading Terminal Market below and in the photo album to the right, you might be inspired to visit the market in person! If that is the case, you will be happy to find two end-of-summer dishes at the end of this blog whose ingredients can be found entirely at Reading Terminal!
Then: Transforming American Foodways
Reading Terminal Market’s roots go all the way back to the end of the 17th century when farmers from across the Delaware began selling produce in Philadelphia as outdoor street vendors along High Street. The informal marketplace that developed was commonly known as the “Jersey Market,” since most of the vendors came from Jersey and eventually the name of the street would better reflect the scene by changing to Market. The market that exists in Philadelphia today along 12th Street between Market and Arch was established in 1891 when the Reading Terminal Railroad Company purchased property containing an established indoor 30-year-old marketplace owned by the Twelfth Street Market Company.
A partnership between railroad and market was a smart business move in 1891, though the early days of the Reading Terminal Railroad and Market relationship was fraught with tension since the market had previously existed independently from the railroad. As railroads developed across America throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, transporting goods across the country became drastically easier and more affordable. The close proximity of a railroad station to a market would bring fresh produce and customers to the market and the demand for produce at the market would guarantee business for the railroad.
Outside Reading Terminal Market in 1946. You can see that the market was a very busy place from this photograph as well as the first pitcture at the top of this article that reads "No Turkeys." That photograph was taken on Christmas Eve, 1944 when the shops had run out of holiday turkeys. (Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue Collection).
Forty years into the railroad-market partnership, President of Reading Company Agnew T. Dice reflected on how modern transportation had transformed the American dinner table at the formal opening of The Food Show and Home Progress Exposition at Reading Terminal in 1931:
“The railroads and steamship lines bring the products of the world to this place. Here you will find deer meat from the Arctic, nuts from Africa, dairy products and delicacies from Europe, nuts and fruits from the Argentine and Brazil, while China, India, Arabia, and I know not how many other countries send their best for the table to these counters. The fruits of Florida and California as well as the vegetables from the South are ready for us when our own farms are frozen. What were the delicacies for the rich alone a few years ago have become staple winter foods for all” (Dice, 2).
Selecting a fresh cut of meat, 1940s (Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue Collection).
At the time Dice was speaking, more than $5 million in annual business was being done at Reading Terminal Market between 152 merchants who were open 6 days a week. The market was the only in the state open for business so many days a week and had a new cutting-edge cold storage facility to support demand for produce.
“... within forty years (the market) has become an established Philadelphia Institution and its fame has spread across the entire nation. Indeed, there is not a state in the Union to which goods from this market are not sent. In Philadelphia the name is a synonym for good things to eat, honest values and fair dealing. Pennsylvania boasts of this market as the largest in the State, and you may not know that it is the largest market in the country under one roof” (Dice, 1).
Today: A Philly Foodie Destination
Today, Reading Terminal Market remains one of Philadelphia’s most popular foodie destinations with over seventy shops selling everything from artisanal cheeses to handmade donuts to knock-your-socks-off barbecue. I don’t know about you, but after two months of exploring local history through food, I’ve worked up quite an appetite. Below are two recipes that I love and made using ingredients from the market. What could be better motivation to visit Reading Terminal Market then a good recipe? And there is no better time than the present.
*Please note that the following dishes are not my own original recipes but have been adapted from recipes found on the Food Network and New York Times online.
Melon and Prosciutto
Ingredients: 1 Cantaloupe, 1/4 lb. prosciutto, parsley, olive oil.
Directions: Slice cantaloupe into thin, bite-sized pieces. On a serving dish, alternate layers of cantaloupe with prosciutto. Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley and olive oil.
Original recipe can be found here.
Farewell Summer Corn Dish
Ingredients: About a 1/2 lb. of pre-cooked shrimp (optional), 1/4 lb. of bacon (optional), 4-6 ears corn, 1 red pepper, 1 carrot, 1 shallot, 3 scallions, 4 cups spinach, 1/2-1 tbsp. butter, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper.
Directions: Before cooking, dice carrot, pepper, scallions, and shallot and cut corn off of the cob. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a separate pan and set aside on paper towels when finished. Then in a large pot, melt butter and add shallot. Add corn, carrot, and red bell pepper,. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 5- 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Add spinach by the handful, stirring contents until spinach is wilted by the heat. Serve after all of the spinach has cooked and crumble bacon on top as desired.
Original recipe can be found here.
We're deep in the phase of making changes to our technological platforms (Collective Access, our DAMS, and Drupal, our digital exhibits platform) in order to launch the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project next fall. I recently wrote a blog post on the project for the Delaware Valley Archivists Group (DVAG) website. Head on over to the DVAG blog to learn about what we've done so far, what we still have to do, and how we plan to get there.
We invite you to keep up with the project by regularly checking in on the HINT homepage, as well as keeping an eye out for updates here on "Fondly, Pennsylvania." You can read my post for DVAG by clicking here.
As you might expect, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a large collection of materials related to the founding father of Pennsylvania, William Penn. Much to my delight, many recipes of Penn’s first wife Gulielma Maria Penn have been preserved in The Penn Family Papers, an impressively large collection of personal written materials by William Penn and various family members. The cooking recipes were collected into a 4-part manuscript totaling more then 150 pages towards the end of the 17th century at the request of Gulielma and Penn’s son William. You can see in the images below that the original recipes are very difficult to read, which is largely due to the rushed manner in which they were transcribed and their use of 17th century spelling and words that are obsolete today. Luckily, HSP has an excellent transcription of the cookbook by Evelyn Abraham Benson that came in very handy in clarifying the cooking instructions and explaining the book’s origins. This week, I tested out two excellent recipes for “A Tart of Spinage” and “Fregasy of Chicken” which would like to share with you below:
Too Make a Tart of Spinage
Above: original recipe "Too Make a Tart of Spinage" by William Penn’s first wife Gulielma Maria Penn from the Penn Family Papers. Below: transcription by Evelyn Abraham Benson:
“Take a good Dele of spinaige and boyle it in water and a Littell salt, and when it is boyled well Drain out the water very Clene, take the yeolks of eggs and Creme strain them with the spinaige through a strainer, and seson it with suger, put too it a slise of butter then put them in the Coffen. and boyle them--” (Benson, 151).
Too Make a Fregasy of Chicken
Above: original recipe "Too Make a Fregasy of Chicken" by William Penn’s first wife Gulielma Maria Penn from the Penn Family Papers. Below: transcription by Evelyn Abraham Benson:
“Take your Chicken flea (flay) them and Cutt them in peces and boyle them gently in butter with a bunch of sweet herbs, after they have bin a pretty while in, putt sum good broath to them, and when allmost enough, a gill of white wine then take the yeolks of 4 or 5 eggs, and sum shred parsley 1/2 a nutmeg grated and sum juce of Lemon but if you have not that 2 or 3 spunfulls of vinegar beate them well together, and when the other is enough, put this to it sturring it up and downe together a Litell while you may putt mushroons to it, and slised Lemon, this is for 4 Littell biskets putt a bitt or 2 of butter too the eggs and other things when you mix them together--” (Benson, 29).
On to the Cooking
The general instructions in these recipes sparked a few challenges for me, but also allowed room for more personal creativity when cooking, unlike modern recipes which specify cooking times and ingredient measurements down to the minute and teaspoon and leave less room for diversion. This was more an issue with the chicken then the spinach. At the beginning of the recipe, the instructions tell the cook to gently boil the chicken in butter with some sweet herbs, but does not explain what gently boiling chicken in butter might look like or specify how much butter or what kind of herbs to use. These details were likely not included because a 17th century cook would not have easy access to ingredients, unlike modern cooks who can drop by their local grocery store to pick up extra butter or fresh cilantro even when it’s out of season. I decided that a healthy half stick of butter would suit my needs, along with a large helping of freshly chopped basil and rosemary. For my purposes, “boil in butter” translated into pan frying the chicken in melted butter on very low heat and covered with a lid. Similarly, I was left to decide when and how much broth and wine to add to the chicken.
Although the recipes’ lack of cooking specifics initially left me feeling uneasy, having the creative leeway to make my own decisions about cook-time and ingredients actually turned out to be refreshing. Replicating these 17th century dishes was more simple and relaxed compared to trying out some modern recipes that require intensive attention to details and timing.
If you’re wondering how long I cooked the chicken or spinach, I could only give you a rough estimation because I wasn’t focused on time. The chicken cooked for about 45 minutes on a very low heat while the spinach boiled for roughly 5 minutes and then was reheated and kept warm in a pan after straining out the water pouring whipped egg yolks and cream through the spinach as it sat in the strainer.
Looking at the picture above, you might mistakenly assume that I immediately dug into the chicken and spinach when they were finished cooking. Perhaps a bit too relaxed when working through the recipes, I failed to notice that the chicken dish was meant to be served over biscuits. Less then 10 minutes until the dishes were ready to be served and I realized-- no biscuits! Since the herby white wine sauce that had been stewing along with the chicken for nearly an hour had collected all sorts of flavor, serving the chicken without some sort of bread to soak up the sauce would essentially be leaving a key component out of the dish. Luckily, I was able to put the meal on hold while my dinner guest kindly volunteered to run out in search of appropriate bread and returned with a box of biscuits from Popeyes.
While I could go on to romanticize that pairing 17th century Penn family dishes with biscuits from a fried chicken fast food chain was an innovative fusion of historic cooking with modern food, the combination was simply comical, unplanned, and tasty. Initially, I expected that cooking an entire meal from Gulielma Penn’s recipes would have allowed me to imagine inviting the Penns over for a dinner party. As I sat down to eat and tried to reflect on the history behind the food before me, I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of Gulielma and William Penn sitting in my kitchen when a box of Popeyes biscuits was on the table before me. Although the meal may not have turned into the transformative historic experience I had anticipated, the vague instructions in these historic recipes gave me the creative freedom to make them my own and left me with new confidence in my cooking abilities. The chicken was phenomenal-- definitely the best I’ve ever cooked-- and no doubt this is the result of my interpretation of how much butter and wine should be used in the sauce. Though I would not recommend these dishes to my health-conscious friends, they have certainly earned a permanent place within my personal collection of recipes-- a perfect example of how history can be made relevant through food.
Come back next week for a special blog on Reading Terminal Market that will be the final installment in this food history series A Philly Foodie Explores Local History!
Ever since I heard that my family’s farm had begun selling Chambersburg peaches a few weeks ago, I have been craving summer peaches like crazy! Many hot summer days working Pittsburgh-area Duda farmstands as a college student were greatly improved by easy access to these peaches. I’ll admit that more then a few customers caught me with juice rolling down to my elbows when daily business had slowed down— and I will add that my uncles are smiling at my confession now since they know this is advertising at its finest! When I came across a 1910 Franklin County Charity Benefit Cookbook to raise money for the Chambersburg Hospital, Children’s Aid Society of Franklin County, and local home for the elderly, I immediately thought of Chambersburg peaches! This historic cookbook’s recipe for peach ice cream ended up pulling me into Pennsylvania peach history where I was not only impressed with the economic significance of the fruit detailed in two agricultural extension bulletins from 1896 and 1913, but also discovered it's ties to the Civil War." Dip into a brief history of Pennsylvania peaches below and in the additional images in the photo album to the right!
Brush up on your Peach History
1896 map of peach-growing regions in Pennsylvania published by the Penn Sate Experiment Station (Butz, 2) You can view a larger version of this map in the photo album attached to this blog.
Throughout the second half of the 19th century, favorable soil and weather conditions sparked the growth of peach production in central and southeastern Pennsylvania and you can see from the map above that a sizable peach industry was already well-established by the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1900s, it was common for state governments to fund agricultural extension programs who spread information about modern farming methods and technology to the agricultural community and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has two state extension bulletins about peach production published during this time. The map above was published in an 1896 extension bulletin that grouped production into three peach belts in the Juniata, South Mountain, and Southeastern growing regions. Estimating that nearly 2 million peach trees were planted in the state at the time, adding up to roughly 11,000 acres in peach orchards, the bulletin argues that the industry was both substantial and sustainable in Pennsylvania over the long term. A later extension bulletin from 1914 lists 40 varieties of peaches being planted in America at the time, 7-10 of which were well-suited to agricultural conditions in Pennsylvania. Together, these bulletins simultaneously recognize the peach industry as a substantial and promising part of the state economy and encourage agriculturalists to take advantage of modern farming knowledge and techniques in caring for their orchards.
Ties to the Civil War
1910 map of the Battle of Gettysburg. In the top right corner, you can see where combat took place in the peach orchard opposite of the Round Tops in the bottom left corner. You can view a larger version of this map in the photo album listed at the top of this blog.
To readers rolling their eyes at my suggestion that peaches hold a significant place in Pennsylvania history, you will be surprised to know that a Pennsylvania peach orchard played an important role in a key battle of the Civil War. The map above is from John Bigelow’s “The Peach Orchard, Gettysburg: An Appeal with Supplement,” which details the combat that took place on a local peach orchard during the Battle of Gettysburg, primarily on July 2, 1863. Though Federal troops were harshly exposed to Confederate fire in this location, maintaining position at the peach orchard was an important defense for the (Northern) Army of the Potomac. Allowing the enemy to take the orchard would have provided Confederate troops with great opportunity to break through Federal lines in the combat at the Round Tops. Above, you can see the Peach Orchard (top right corner) opposite Little and Big Round Top (bottom left corner). A total of 1,334 Federal and 1,047 Confederate troops were lost in combat at the orchard.
Historic Peach Ice Cream
The peaches that I am most familiar with are from Chambersburg, PA, which happens to be in Franklin County where this Charity Benefit Cookbook, pictured above, originated in 1910. At 25 cents a copy, proceeds from the book went to the Chambersburg Hospital, Children’s Aid Society of Franklin County, and local home for the elderly. The contents was not was not limited to recipes alone, but also contained local advertisements and tidbits of advice about how to perform daily household chores like fixing squeaking shoes, what to eat, or even advice on "How to Live a Hundred Years!"
I found the perfect peaches to try out the cookbook’s “Peach Ice Cream” recipe when I ran over to the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market earlier this week and picked out a bunch of peaches from Beechwood Orchards. Located in Biglerville, PA, Beechwood Orchards is located in Franklin County, lies in the South Mountain Peach Belt, and is roughly 11 miles north of the historic Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. The 1910 ice cream recipe I sourced from the Franklin County Charity Cookbook is only a brief 2 lines: “2 pints of milk, 1 pint of cream, 2 teacups of sugar, 1 pint mashed peaches. Mix and freeze.” Mashing the peaches by hand and mixing the ingredients together, I poured the contents into a large tupperware container and popped it in the freezer overnight. Sounds simple enough right?
I only investigated the important role that churning plays in making ice cream, when I was met a solid frozen brick which I had expected to be a creamy frozen treat the next morning. A Google search revealed that an ice cream maker is an important tool to use when making ice cream because it aerates the liquid before it is frozen, preventing the formation of ice crystals in the mixture. The end result after proper churning is fluffy, user-friendly ice cream rather then the frozen concoction that I naively turned out by quickly throwing the ingredients together and freezing them.
Not to worry, making the ice cream was not a waste! A few seconds in the microwave has been my solution to the problem of over-freezing, though I would highly recommend that you churn the ice cream if you test out this recipe yourself. More importantly, the cookbook that the recipe came from drew me into a history of Pennsylvania peaches that turned out to be a more rewarding culinary exploration then my actual ventures in the kitchen.
Have you had an oh-no moment when using an old family recipe in the kitchen? What happened and how did you recover?
Stay tuned for another food-filled blog next week! There are only two more articles left in this series A Philly Foodie Explores Local History.
In 1903, political cartoonists – especially one man, Charles Nelan – made the governor of Pennsylvania so mad that he criminalized cartooning.
You read that right. Gov. Samuel Pennypacker and his allies pushed through a law that made it illegal in Pennsylvania to publish or even draw cartoons that portrayed people (i.e. politicians) as "beast, bird, fish, insect, or other inhuman animal." Who knew that cartoons could inspire such passion, such outrage, such . . . legislative willpower?!
This 1903 kerfuffle is just one of the interesting episodes we're researching while we continue work on HSP's Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project. As we've described in past blog posts, we're using historical political cartoons to demonstrate the new tools we're developing for describing visual materials in archives.
Poor Gov. Pennypacker was quite offended at how he'd been portayed during his election campaign in 1902, when cartoonist Charles Nelan of the Philadelphia newspaper The North American regularly depicted him as a parrot. The parrot was usually mimicking the words of U.S. Senator Matthew Quay, a powerful political boss in Pennsylvania and a cousin of Pennypacker's.
Here's one example from September 1902. The parrot in the top right represents Pennypacker, and the man in the center is Quay. (This cartoon also comments on a lengthy anthracite-coal strike that was then in progress, and the role of Chinese labor.)
Charles Nelan, "Miners' Friend," from The North American, September 1902 (Hampton L. Carson papers, collection #117).
Keep in mind that at this time, some newspapers printed a political cartoon on the front page, right under the newspaper's masthead. You couldn't miss them.
Nelan and The North American were clearly opposed to Pennypacker's candidacy, and to Quay's role in the campaign. Nevertheless, Pennypacker resoundingly won the governor's seat in November 1902.
When Pennypacker took office in January 1903, he made clear that he hadn't forgotten Nelan's attacks: his inaugural address included remarks about "sensational journals" that were a "terror to the household, a detriment to the public service and an impediment to the courts of justice." He suggested that state legislation might be needed, and Rep. Frederick Taylor Pusey complied within days.
Nelan and The North American were not impressed. Nelan drew Pusey as a cat, cozying up to the Pennypacker parrot:
Charles Nelan, "Mutual Admiration," from The North American, January 29, 1903 (Hampton L. Carson papers, #117).
Pusey's bill languished, but later that spring, state Republicans pushed through another libel bill backed by Rep. Samuel W. Salus and Sen. John C. Grady that included anti-cartoon provisions.
Those in the newspaper industry in Pennsylvania were outraged. According to historian Steven L. Piott, more than 300 newspaper owners and editors appeared at a public hearing on April 21, 1903 to complain that their legal and constitutional rights had been violated. Pennypacker signed the bill into law anyway on May 12, 1903.
However, the story doesn't end there. Criticism of Pennypacker and the anti-cartoon law expanded nationwide, at least among those who wrote and published the news. More than 75 out-of-state newspapers sent editorials to The North American criticizing the law, according to Piott. Cartoonists from around the country weighed in as well. The North American reprinted some of the supportive cartoons in its own pages, including this one by Washington Post cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman:
Clifford K. Berryman, "Effect of the Penna. Anti-Cartoon Law," from The North American, circa May 1903. Originally appeared in The Washington Post titled "Portraits of Pennypacker," on May 16, 1903. (Hampton L. Carson papers, #117).
The offending Charles Nelan himself depicted the law as a firecracker of negative attention that blew up in Pennypacker's face:
Charles Nelan, "Polly Got a Cracker," from The North American, May 16, 1903 (Hampton L. Carson papers, #117).
Perhaps because of this public outrage (or at least press outrage), the law was never enforced, and it was repealed in 1907 when a new governor took office.
As for Pennypacker, he also happened to be an avid historian, and played an important role in HSP's history, too. He served as HSP's president from 1900 to his death in 1916, including during his governorship. I'm sure he'd be none too pleased that HSP is now working to make these political cartoons even more widely accessible!
To learn more about Pennsylvania's anti-cartoon law of 1903, read Steven L. Piott, "The Right of the Cartoonist: Samuel Pennypacker and Freedom of the Press," which appeared in Pennsylvania History, v. 55, no. 2 (April 1988): pp. 78-91. Richard Samuel West also wrote about this episode in "The Pen and the Parrott: Charles Nelan Takes on the Governor of Pennsylvania," which appeared in his journal, Target, in Autumn 1986, pp. 13-20.
The closest I have come to knowing my great-grandmother is through my mother’s stories of sitting in Grandma Mary’s hot kitchen as a child while her homemade apple dumplings and sticky buns baked in the oven. A story about Grandma Mary is not complete without mentioning that her made-from-scratch sticky buns and apple dumplings were out-of-this-world. Since my great-grandmother was Pennsylvania Dutch, I was very excited to come across Leonard S. Davidow’s 1930s book Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. While I enjoyed bringing the book to life by testing out its recipes for “Eb’l (Apple) Dumplings” and "The Famous Dutch Sticky Buns,” the cookbook turned out to be lively on its own, complete with poetry, cartoons, and a unique sense of humor interspersed among the pages of recipes. Watch this historical cookbook come alive as I connect with my own Pennsylvania Dutch culinary roots below and view additional pictures of in the photo album to the right!
In the 18th century, a large influx of German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania and came to be known as “Pennsylvania Dutch” for their hybridized English-German language. In the introduction to the cookbook, Leonard Davidow briefly explains how immigrants' cooking evolved along with their language as they became acquainted to life in America:
“It was not always possible to secure the prescribed ingredients and it became necessary to develop new recipes to utilize the plainer foods in the creation of tasty dishes. Necessity was again the mother of invention and these good women became famous for their fine cooking until now Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is renowned throughout the world” (Davidow, Introduction).
Cover of the 1934 Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes: Compiled from tried and tested recipes made famous by the early Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania, by Leonard S. Davidow.
Davidow’s Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes contains a broader reflection of Pennsylvania Dutch culture then you might initially expect from a cookbook, with bits and pieces of witty poetry and cartoons paired alongside recipes. Below is a “Ballad in Pennsylvania German,” which is just one example of the additional cultural history that appears in the cookbook. The author does not include a note explaining the additional non-recipe material in the book, but you can see that including translated song lines and animated dancers like the ones below surprises the reader with a light-hearted, humorous glimpse into Pennsylvania Dutch life. While the Pennsylvania Dutch are most often remembered for their distinct style of cooking, this cookbook works to highlight the value of a broader view of their culture.
"Ballad in Pennsylvania German." The lyrics read: "One, two, three or four, / Lady if you want to dance, dance with me; / Five, six, seven or eight, / Lady, if you want to dance, wait till night" (pg. 31).
Now on to the Cooking!
In honor of my great-grandmother, I baked up a batch of cinnamon buns and two batches of apple dumplings using the recipes in this cookbook. While you can find the original recipes below, I will admit that I did adapt them to suit my own cooking skills and supplies. For example, the apple dumpling recipe was confusing to me at first when it called for the baker to: “Place (the) apple on each piece of dough... fill with cinnamon and sugar... wet edges of dough and fold over apple.” My impression of these directions is that the original author meant for the apples to remain wholly intact while the baker pared and cored them before wrapping them in dough. I have seen Personally, I do not have the skill or tools to core an apple without slicing it into wedges first and so I decided to slice the apple into chunks for this recipe. Admittedly, I have never made apple dumplings before and I initially encountered difficulty in rolling the apple wedges in dough. The first one I attempted to roll looked more like a wonton then a dumpling and I ended up scrapping the whole pastry after looking through Google images of what apple dumplings should really look like. The cinnamon bun recipe proved to be easier. The only change I made was to omit the citron from the rolls, on account that I could not find it in my local grocery store.
Recipe for "Eb'l (Apple) Dumplings" (pg. 46).
Recipe for "Cinnamon Buns," also known as "The Famous Dutch Sticky Buns" (pg. 47).
Handmade sticky buns hot out of the oven.
Thanks to the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes, I was able to connect with my own culinary roots and enjoy the product of my efforts in good company. Less the 24 hours after baking the apple dumplings and sticky buns, I had given away all my Pennsylvania Dutch goodies to friends and co-workers. I’d say that the historic recipes were a big hit!
Want to try out some Pennsylvania Dutch recipes on your own? Find cooking inspiration in HSP's 1934 copy of Leonard Davidow's Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes.
Learn more about this blog series A Philly Foodie Explores Local History.