It's certainly the dog days of summer in Philadelphia right now, making all of us at HSP yearn for a little sun, sand, and ocean breeze. Thankfully, those of us who aren't lucky enough to be on vacation can find escape in the Digital Library and images of inviting beach vistas and boardwalks. Looking for something to liven up your stay-cation? Check out these gems:
One of HSP's most noteworthy collections, the David J. Kennedy watercolors offer beautiful representations of Philadelphia between 1840 and 1890. From the buildings of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition to churches, taverns, and private residences, Kennedy captured Philadelphia's architecture and landscapes, including many buildings that are no longer standing today. But Kennedy's brush strokes weren't confined to Philadelphia street scenes; he also painted a multitude of views of Atlantic City and Brigantine. The Atlantic City depicted in Kennedy's watercolors is much more bucolic than the contemporary casino-laden landscape and evocative of the old-fashioned Victorian resort town it once was.
About half a century later, the transformation of Atlantic City into something more familiar to our modern sensibilities is evident in an advertisement for the Hotel Madison from the Gondos family papers.
Built by Gondos and Gondos, an architectural firm headquartered in Philadelphia, the Hotel Madison was a luxury high-rise located on Illinois Aveue. Boasting a roof-deck and solarium, as well as "French phones" and a "Dutch Bar," the Hotel Madison was a far cry from the house-like hotels that David Kennedy captured in his watercolors just fifty years earlier.
Of course, no vacation, digital or otherwise, would be complete without some family photos, courtesy of the Wannemacher family papers. Chronicling the Wannemacher family of Philadelphia, this collection includes papers and photo albums that highlight the family's activities in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of particular interest are photographs of the Wannemacher's vacations to New England, the Jersey Shore, Niagra, and New York City, as well as historic landmarks like the graves of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. I particularly love this photograph of patriarch Edward H. Wannemacher hamming it up on the beach in June 1922.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief excursion through the "beaches" of HSP - check out the Digital Library for more summery images and build your own digital vacation. And if you need something more to tide you over until your next getaway, all of our digital images are now available for purchase as high-quality archival prints. Just register a free Digital Library account to create image galleries and place an order for your own piece of historical paradise.