Flowers of Paradise: Manuscripts and Illustrations from the Ephrata Cloister

The Ephrata Cloister, a religious community in Lancaster County, was known for its German printing press, calligraphy called Frakturschriften, and music composed by its founder Conrad Beissel. In a program recorded at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on November 7, 2013, Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, explored the illustrations and religious symbolism in the Cloister’s music books. The lecture was also accompanied by a live performance by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus.

Samuel Powel: Patriot, Tory, or Neither?

Samuel Powel has the distinction of being the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and the first after American Independence. Often referred to as Philadelphia’s “Patriot Mayor,” he is depicted as an early ardent supporter of the American cause. In a lecture given on May 30, 2013, author David Maxey journeys back to the early years of the Revolution to take a closer look at Powel and his allegiance. Was Powel always a patriot, or did he only gradually adopt the cause of liberty?

Capital of the World: Philadelphia's Race to Host the United Nations

From the ashes of the Second World War came the idea of the United Nations—an organization that would serve as a center for international diplomacy. In this lecture given at the Philadelphia History Museum on April 3, 2013,  Charlene Mires, author of Capital of the World, discusses the dramatic, surprising, and at times comic story of the hometown promoters in pursuit of an extraordinary prize and the diplomats who struggled with the balance of power at a pivotal moment in history.

Chinatown: Past & Present

Philadelphia’s Chinatown is a small but resilient community that has consistently overcome outside threats and remains an important cultural center for Asians around the region. This discussion about Chinatown’s history and the legacies of its activism and redevelopment took place on November 8, 2012, at the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School in Philadelphia.

Is Thrift Good for America?

In a debate held at HSP on August 1, 2012, Princeton historian Sheldon Garon, author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves, and Rutgers historian James Livingston, author of Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture Is Good for the Economy, the Environment and Your Soul, argue their respective cases for and against thrift. This conversation was moderated by David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values.

Maps of Early America 6/14/12

Joseph Garver, Librarian for Research Services of the Harvard Map Collection, discusses American history through maps. Mr. Garver spoke at the Maps of Early America event on June 14, 2012.

The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family

Mark Auslander's book, The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family (University of Georgia Press, 2011), examines the relationship between one enslaved woman, Miss Kitty, and her owner, prominent Methodist Bishop James Osgood Andrew. What can one contested account of an enslaved woman tell us about our difficult racial past?

The Morreys and Montiers: A Love Story

Listen to the family story of Dr. William Pickens III from a lecture given at HSP on June 20, 2011. Dr. Pickens traces his ancestry all the way back to Humphrey Morrey, who served as the first mayor of Philadelphia in 1691. Pickens’s family tree also includes Richard Morrey, whose marriage to freedwoman Cremona formed one of the city’s most prominent interracial families.