The Manumission of Samuel Stephens

In 1783 Stuart George Dallas and his wife Elizabeth, formerly of the island of Jamaica, filed a manumission contract in Philadelphia for enslaved 12-year-old Samuel “Sammy” Stephens. George Bryan of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ordered a writ of habeas corpus for Samuel Stephens to be brought before him on July 1, 1786. The manumission contract, pictured here, is preserved in the Pennsylvania...
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The Formidable Chews of Cliveden Preserve a National Landmark

Fifty years ago on October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the federal government’s first official and all-encompassing policy designed to preserve and protect the nation’s irreplaceable historic, cultural, architectural and archaeological sites. The act spurred citizens throughout the country to actively embrace historic...
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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...
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Independence Hall, The Birthplace of a Nation

September 1824 was a busy month for Phila­delphians. The Mar­quis de Lafayette returned to America for the first time since the Revolution­ary War, and it was rumored that the high point of his tra­vels would be a visit to Penn­sylvania’s venerable State House. Naturally, much of the preparation for his visit cen­tered on the old red brick building where the events of the Revolution had...
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Mailbox

The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Phila­delphia, has recently acquired the political archives of Robert N. C. Nix, Jr., the first African American to serve on the Pennsylva­nia Supreme Court. To further expand its collections documenting and interpreting the lives and careers of leading African American political leaders and government officials, the museum is seeking documents,...
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Bookshelf

Saved for the People of Pennsylvania: Quilts from The State Museum of Pennsylvania by Lucinda Reddington Cawley, Lorraine DeAngelis Ezbiansky, and Denise Rocheleau Nordberg Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997 ($14.95, paper, 67 pages) Since its founding in 1905, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has collected nearly two million artifacts and objects which docu­ment and interpret...
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The Country Connection: Farmers Markets in the Public Eye

They brought sausages and wursts of all kinds, smierkase, a cottage cheese mixed with cream or milk, dried fruits, buttermilk, apple snits, a gingerbread called lep kuchen, teas, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, poul­try – both live and dressed – and, beginning just before Memorial Day, abundant flowers of seemingly count­less varieties, some almost unknown today. Truly,...
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New Sweden and The New World – History Lessons From the Morton Homestead

Years before William Penn and his Quaker followers set foot on America’s shores, Swedish settlers had established a settlement along the Delaware River and Bay. On this land, now part of both Pennsylvania and Delaware, stands the Morton Homestead, an emissary from a past, an emissary that tells the story of a powerful Swedish king, a white, sandy shore and primeval forest, peaceful fur...
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Banned In Pennsylvania!

During the nearly half century of its powerful reign, no one exemplified the Keystone State’s film censorship board more dramatically than Philadelphian Edna Rothwell Carroll (1894-1981), its chairman from 1939 to 1955. Determined, self-possessed, and intensely devoted to her mission – to protect the public from movies deemed immoral – she had been active in Republican Party...
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Executive Director’s Message

Remembering the twentieth century has become a preoccupation bordering on obsession. As the lists of greatest moments and most important people grows daily, I am equally intrigued not only by what we choose to recall but the way in which we decide to commemorate the past. Over the past one hundred years Pennsylvanians have remembered their history by constructing a stunning array of statues,...
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