Philadelphia’s Forgotten Inventor: The Untold Story of Rudolph M. Hunter

The lot at 3710 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia is all but empty now – a low scraggly hedge in front, a scattering of shade trees, a long concrete walk on the right, skirting Penn Newman Catholic Center. It’s hard to imagine the fanciful Victorian mansion that once adorned the site – a “pretty residence of brick,” the Philadelphia Press unimaginatively put it in...
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Baird of the Smithsonian

“You see sir, I have taken (after much hesitation) the liberty of writing to you. I am but a boy, and very inexperienced, as you no doubt will observe from my description of the Flycatcher.” In this way, young Spencer Fullerton Baird, seventeen years of age, introduced himself by letter to John James Audubon. His accurate description and measurements of the flycatcher enabled Audubon...
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Noble Ambitions: The Founding of the Franklin Institute

In the minds of its founders, the Franklin Institute was built on noble ambitions,” historian Bruce Sinclair has written. And born of a young man’s fury, it might be added. In 1823, twenty-two year old Samuel Vaughan Merrick was denied membership in a Philadelphia mechanics’ asso¬≠ciation. A number of similar organizations had sprung up in the early part of the nine¬≠teenth...
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