Alexandra Harris

Alexandra joined the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in September 2013 as an Education Intern. With a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Howard University she aims to apply and cultivate her research and writing skills by joining the staff at HSP.

This Author's Posts

Teaching American labor in history class will help your students recognize that the work place today is a result of the struggle, change and progress of workers, unions, employers, and industries across time.  Tuesday, May 6, attend a teacher workshop at HSP on this subject and receive a copy of Organizing Pennsylvania Workers.


Philadelphia was a high volume stop along the Underground Railroad throughout the early 1800s. Here at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are documents, images and diaries that hold secrets, connections, and loads of information about the Underground Railroad and those individuals who made it possible. These artifacts are now housed in the same city of Philadelphia, where much of William Still's diary was written, where many ex-slaves came to find a new home, and where abolitionists and other citizens came together as a function of the Underground Railroad.


Baseball season is upon us, and so is an opportunity to bring it into your classroom. Since the 19th century, the history that has unfolded on and about the baseball field has paralleled that which has taken took place in the homes, businesses, and streets surrounding the American ball park. Join other educators, students, historians and scholars at HSP this Thursday, April 3rd for a lecture and  discussion of Philadelphia's very own Pythian Baseball club. This event offers Act 48/CEU credits and a topical unit plan is available for you too!


As HSP's Ancestry Day excitement has begun to boil down, the intrigue and quest of genealogical inquiries remains for many! Fear not, another opportunity to learn about genealogical research lies just around the corner! A workshop on German American genealogy will take place on the evening of the 26th this month.


HSP has a new document display on view!  The current display, “Up A Tree”,  provides you with images and information on family history documents found in HSP’s archives, including a family tree of Benjamin Franklin’s family. If you haven’t thought about it already, the exhibit will surely instigate a personal desire to dig into your own ancestral past.


Black History Month may be over, but that does not mean the end of studying African American history.  In Philadelphia cultural organizations and the City’s council members have designated 2014 as the year to commemorate a typically unsung hero, Octavius V. Catto (whose birthday was on February 22).  They have made a notable announcement of a memorial to be erected in Catto’s honor, which also brings local news and current events into the classroom.


William Still, born in 1821, is a man with an incredible life story that tells of personal liberation and achievement that can still inspire us today! An abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad, Still worked to help those looking for freedom, find it.


On February 27th, HSP will be hosting a lecture and panel discussion entitled “The Blackest Market: Kidnapping, Slavery, and Salvation”. The not-so-fun word play in the title alludes to the racial fabric and illegal and immoral nature of the part of history that will be discussed. Author of We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States and other titles, Dr.


In this day and age when the teaching of handwriting is being challenged, enjoy this look back at its history.  The Conservation Department's current display, prepared by Tara O'Brien,  is entitled "Penmanship."  After all, the forging of our nation only became literal with the writing and signing of the Founding Fathers, such as Timothy Matlack, who drafted a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and John Hancock.


How's your preparation for the coming month’s lesson plans? As you know, February is Black History Month; this article will provide you with HSP lesson plans, primary sources and other resources to augment your February curriculum.