Fall 2017 Programs and Events

Home News Fall 2017 Programs and Events

Fall 2017 Programs and Events

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce its fall 2017 season of programs.  From September through November, HSP will host lectures, panels and other programs that showcase the range and depth of the HSP collection.

Including workshops that teach participants vital genealogical research skills, as well as informational seminars on topics ranging from Quaker abolitionist Warner Mifflin to the role of a Philadelphia institution in the disability rights movement, the fall 2017 suite of activities embodies the credo of HSP: Make History Yours.


What is a Monument in the 21st Century?

Saturday, September 23 | 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: $10

TEACHER WORKSHOP / Co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, this workshop explores Philadelphia’s historical monuments and questions what makes a monument in the 21st century.  Beginning at HSP, participants will investigate primary sources relating to Philadelphia-area monuments and then take part in a walking tour through Center City. The group will ultimately arrive at PAFA, which serves as the central hub for the Mural Arts Monuments Lab project.  There, teachers will learn how to develop classroom projects that encourage civic engagement and student leadership.  Lunch and teaching materials are included.


Warner Mifflin: An Unflinching Quaker Abolitionist

Thursday, September 21 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: Free for Friends of HSP /$10 General Admission

LECTURE / Warner Mifflin—energetic, uncompromising, and reviled—was a key figure who helped bridge the abolitionist movements before and after the American Revolution. A descendant of one of the pioneering families of William Penn's "Holy Experiment," Mifflin upheld the Quaker pacifist doctrine, which he offered to Generals Howe and Washington on the blood-soaked Germantown battlefield. Mifflin traveled thousands of miles along the Atlantic seaboard to boost morale among Quakers, who were ostracized and exiled for their neutrality during the war for independence.

Speaker bio:

Gary B. Nash was Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of numerous books, including First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory and The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.


Foundations of Genealogy: Getting Started and Doing It Right the First Time

Each Wednesday from September 27 through November 15, 2017 | 2:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.

Tickets: $225 for Friends of HSP/$315 for general admission (includes a complimentary Friends of HSP Researcher membership valid for one year from the first date of the workshop)

GENEALOGY WORKSHOP / Foundations of Genealogy is an 8-week course for family historians and genealogists seeking to become more effective and efficient researchers. Registrants will learn proven research methods to uncover their most elusive ancestors, as well as how to document research findings with reliable evidence. For beginner and experienced genealogists alike, Foundations of Genealogy is designed to equip researchers with a fundamental knowledge base and the ability to develop new skills on their own, wherever their research may take them – whether online or in-person at libraries and archives.

Instructor bio:

Sydney Cruice Dixon is a professional genealogist, researcher, coach, presenter, and avid genealogy teacher in the Philadelphia area.  She has taught numerous classes at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and surrounding suburbs, and has been instrumental in developing the genealogical education programs of HSP.  She is the President, Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists, and serves on the HSP Genealogical Advisory Committee.  


The Life and Art of George M. Harding, Captain in the AEF

Wednesday, September 27 | 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: Free for Friends of HSP /$10 General Admission

On 27 September, James Thompson, author of Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created America, will present a program about Philadelphia artist George Matthews Harding. Harding studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and with Howard Pyle in Chadds Fordand Wilmington. In 1904, he launched his career as an illustrator. Among his notable achievements were his selection as one of eight artists to record the operations of the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1918 and his election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Design in 1945. For much of the time between these two events, Harding taught classes at PAFA and created his own art in his Wynnewood studio. Mr. Thompson will trace his life as an artist, but pay special attention to his experiences in France during the final months of the Great War. He will support his comments with a colorful slide show, and examples of the artist’s work taken from his own collection and HSP's collections.

Speaker Bio:

James Thompson grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where, among other things, he took classes at the Delaware Art Center. He studied philosophy as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Virginia.

In 2015, Jim shifted his focus from American history to the history of American illustration. The first book in the Painting America's Portrait set appeared in the fall of 2016. In “How Illustrators Created Their Art,  Jim traced the evolution of illustration art through its Golden Age and explained how the appearance of illustrations changed as image reproduction technologies improved. In the second PAP book, which was released in the spring of 2017, Jim recounted how America’s artist admen and storytellers helped Uncle Sam sell the war “to end all wars,”, and how while doing this they “created America.


Becoming U.S.: The Immigrant Experience in Philadelphia

Wednesday, October 11 | 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Free Event

SPECIAL EVENT/ In this continuing series of conversations, HSP invites the Philadelphia community to step beyond differences of ethnicity, race, and citizenship status and explore immigrant experience in Philadelphia.  With the goal of developing a nuanced understanding of what it means to “become” an American, panelists will begin with a discussion on transition and settlement, followed by audience member accounts of their own personal experience. Refreshments will be served following the program. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Connelly Foundation.


Girl Power: How the Red Rose Girls Made Their Way

Monday, October 16 | 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: Free for Friends of HSP, Library Company of Philadelphia and William Way Members/$10 non-Members

LECTURE / Carol Buck, History Curator at The State Museum of Pennsylvania and author of “Violet Oakley, American Artist, Modern Day Activist,” will discuss the Red Rose Girls: Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954), Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961). Life-long friends, this group of ground-breaking artists lived, worked, and inspired one another while challenging the art world’s gender bias. Light refreshments will be served and original documents will be on display.

Partners: Library Company of Philadelphia, William Way LGBT Community Center

Speaker bio:

Carol Buck has been a Special Projects Curator at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, since 2014.  Although this position allows her to work with many different collections at the museum, her expertise is in art history.  Carol received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art & Art History from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, where her lectures there included "Concepts of the Female and Notions of Power in African Art and Late-Renaissance Women as Patrons of Architecture".  Her Master’s Degree, from The Pennsylvania State University, is in American Studies.   During her tenure, “No Man’s Land:  The Question of Gender in Punk Music 1973-1977,” was selected for presentation at the Mid-Atlantic Pop Culture conference in Boston.  Her thesis was entitled, “Violet Oakley, American Artist, Modern Day Activist" .

While at The State Museum, Carol has been involved with leading various Artist’s Conversations in the yearly Art of the State exhibit as well as lead tours of exhibits including “Pennsylvania Modern: A Juried Photography Exhibition of Midcentury Modern Architecture,” and the “Inaugural Exhibit of Pennsylvania Arts, which recognized the inauguration of Governor Tom Wolf.  For this special exhibition, The State Museum borrowed from many institutions throughout Pennsylvania, and highlighted artwork by Thomas Eakins, Cecelia Beaux, Andrew Wyeth, and of course Violet Oakley.


Measuring Your Pennsylvania Ancestors: Using State and County Land Records

Each Thursday from October 19 through November 16 | 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Tickets: $189

GENEALOGY WORKSHOP / Measuring Your Pennsylvania Ancestors: Using State and County Land Records is a five-module/week (10 hour) program designed for genealogists to explore the land records of Pennsylvania, to understand the procedures used to distribute land, and how that distribution impacts modern day genealogical research.

Instructors’ bios:

Sydney Cruice Dixon is a professional genealogist, researcher, coach, presenter, and avid genealogy teacher in the Philadelphia area.  She has taught numerous classes at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and surrounding suburbs, and has been instrumental in developing the genealogical education programs of HSP.  She is the President, Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists, and serves on the HSP Genealogical Advisory Committee.  

Frank Southcott is a professional genealogist who specializes in historic Chester County, Pennsylvania, including Revolutionary War era militia, land records, and tax analysis.  He is the President, International Society for British Genealogy and Family History, and Past President, the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists.  He has been instrumental in developing the genealogical education programs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and serves on the HSP Genealogical Advisory Committee.


Cumberland Pathways – A Family History and Genealogy Conference

Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22 | Bus leaves at 1:00 p.m. on Friday

$395 before September 1, $495 after that date

SPECIAL EVENT / The Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS), the Army Heritage Center Foundation, the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau, Dickinson College, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania offer you the opportunity to explore your family history at Cumberland Pathways, October 20-22, 2017, in beautiful and historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 


National History Day Philly Kick-Off

Monday, October 30 | 4:30 pm – 7:30 p.m.

Free Event

TEACHER WORKSHOP / National History Day is a career and college readiness program for 6th to 12th graders. Come to the Kick-Off program hosted at HSP to learn how it helps students develop research, literacy, presentation, and critical thinking skills. This year Dr. Abby Reisman, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the keynote address.  She will share her seminal program “Reading Like a Historian,” the first extended history curriculum intervention in an urban high school system.


Pennhurst and the Struggle for Disability Rights: A Commemoration

Wednesday, November 15 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: Free for Friends of HSP/$10 non-Members

LECTURE / This program commemorates the 30th anniversary of the closing of Pennhurst State School and Hospital (November 1987), a state-funded and -managed institution for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  In the age of eugenics, Pennhurst was imagined as a model facility and a solution to the problem of hereditary ‘feeblemindedness.'  Instead, it became a nightmare institution where exploitation, abuse, and medical experimentation were commonplace.  A panel of participant-experts will lead a discussion on Pennhurst's place in the history of disability rights and public policy.  Each participant is affiliated with the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance.  A display detailing Pennhurst's history will also be available for viewing.

Speakers’ Bios:

Jean M. Searle is an award-winning self-advocate and co-president of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance.  She is employed by the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania and sits on numerous advocacy boards. 

Dennis B. Downey, PhD, is professor of history at Millersville University.  Past President of the Pennsylvania Historical Association, he has authored or edited a half-dozen books, and is currently completing (with James Conroy) Between History and Hope: Pennhurst and the Struggle for Disability Rights (under contract, Penn State Press).

Bill Baldini is the award-winning Philadelphia investigative journalist whose 1968 reporting on Pennhurst (“Suffer the Little Children”) exposed the cycle of institutional neglect and abuse that eventually contributed to Pennhurst’s closing.  Baldini’s five-part investigation remains one of the most memorable documentaries in Philadelphia broadcast history.

Judith Gran, Esq., is a partner in the law firm Reisman Carolla Gran LLP, specializing in disability law.  She has a national practice focused on disability rights, and has represented clients in more than a half dozen states in disputes over inclusion and community service plans.  She represented the ARC of Pennsylvania and the plaintiff class in Halderman v. Pennhurst.

Mark Friedman, PhD, is a professor and advocate for disability rights, and is CEO of Blue Fire Consulting.  He was a founder and subsequent state chairman of Speaking for Ourselves, a national self-advocacy organization.  The former director of the Middle Tennessee Advocacy Center, Friedman assisted in implementing the Pennhurst court decree.

James Conroy, PhD, is a medical sociologist and served as principal investigator and author of the Pennhurst Longitudinal Study.  The author of scores of articles and several books, Conroy is PMPA co-president and CEO of the Center for Outcome Analysis, and consults nationally and internationally on the process of deinstitutionalization and client rights.