Free-Thinking, 19th-Century Style

Francis Ellingwood Abbot (1836–1903) was nothing if not determined. In 1872, as editor of The Index, the nation’s leading free-thought magazine, he began to muster the full force of his small army of subscribers against what was being called “the God-in-the-Constitution amendment.” A philosopher and theologian, he sought to reconstruct theology in accordance with scientific methodology. From the...
read more

Isabel Darlington, Esq., Belle of the Bar

On a crisp day in late December 1897, the members of the Chester County Bar Association gathered on the front steps of the courthouse in West Chester for their annual group portrait. Three dozen lawyers posed solemnly before the camera, each mustachioed face a mirror image of the next. For the first time in its one hundred and fifty year history, there was something notice­ably different about...
read more

The UMWA Wins America’s Approval: John Mitchell and the Anthracite Strike of 1902

Labor leader John Mitchell’s reputation seemed to precede him no matter where he traveled during the summer of 1902. Coal miners throughout northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region referred to the boyish-looking thirty-two-year-old president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) as their beloved “Johnny d’Mitch.” His photograph hung in their homes beside...
read more