Hidden Histories

***This article appeared in the March, 2011, HSP monthly email publication, "History Hits: Collecting & sharing the stories of Pennsylvania." For a free subscription, simply click here to enter your email address.***
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Philadelphia is of course best known for its seminal role in the creation of the United States of America, as witnessed by the Liberty Bell, Declaration of Independence, and meeting of the Founding Fathers at Independence Hall, during the Constitutional Convention, etc. However,  the 'City of Brotherly Love' is less known for being the birthplace of the science of Entomology, or the study of insects.
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After it's publication in 2002 and until the present time, I continue to have the opportunity to speak to various groups about one of my books, My Brother's Keeper: Union and Confederate Soldiers' Acts of Mercy During the Civil War. One presentation was filmed by C-SPAN's BookTV in Bowling Green, KY in 2003, and can be viewed in its video archives here.

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Though many centenarians have passed away in the City of Brotherly Love, none have surpassed the forgotten, but truly remarkable, African-American woman named Mary McDonald. McDonald died on January 5, 1906, at the ripe old age of 135!
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Here at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in the near future, Dr. William Pickens III, will be presenting an account relative to his descent, from an early inter-racial couple of Colonial Philadelphia. Though located in what is now near-by Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, a community known as 'Guineatown,' (later Edge Hill), included a resident named 'Richard Morrey, Gentleman,' son of Humphrey Morrey, Philadelphia's first Mayor under the city charter of 1691.
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For centuries, the mysterious force of lightning has usually been accompanied by feelings of  dread or despair, especially if one is caught outside or indoors during a violent thunderstorm. For centuries and throughout the world, numerous accounts exist recording such 'bolts of fire' and acts of death or destruction, associated with such events.  One can hardly read a 19th-century newspaper without encountering articles, practically on a daily basis, of deaths by lightning.
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Christ Church in Philadelphia
This article appeared in the free monthly HSP Newsletter, History Hits Comments: 0
For centuries, children have utilized various rhymes in playing games, most of which many individuals believe to be farsical in origin or sentences simply designed to facilitate rhythm. Though this may be true in part, like other bits of folklore passed down through 'oral tradition,' an historical 'kernel of truth' often lies at the very foundation of a tale, or in this case, that of a 'jumping rope rhyme.'
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Next year, the ‘Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War’ begins in earnest within the United States. Numerous commemoratory events will transpire throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere, yet few realize that bloodshed, hardship, and even atrocities, were not events experienced only by residents living within the confines of the North and South. Other dramatic & tragic occurrences were transpiring within what is now the state of Minnesota.
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