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...
read more

Executive Director’s Message

The two hundredth anniver­sary of Joseph Priestley’s arrival in Pennsylvania presents a time to reflect on the life and work of an individual who was truly a unique citizen of our state, nation, and the world. During his lifetime, Priestley was the representative man of the Age of Enlightenment in England and America. His discovery of oxygen in 1774 established his reputation worldwide as...
read more

Poor John Fitch, The Inventor Few Remember

Philadelphia, August 22, 1787. With the promise of some relief from their intense debate and the heavy summer air, delegates to the Constitutional Convention strolled a few blocks from the State House (now Indepen­dence Hall) to the banks of the Delaware River. Along the river puffed an oddity, a curiosity that the statesmen had never before seen: a steam-operated boat­ – the first of its...
read more

Currents

Great Greek Following six years of extensive gallery and storage area renovations, The Univer­sity Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadel­phia, has recently reopened its exhibition space devoted to ancient Greek civilization. This new exhibit, entitled “The Ancient Greek World,” offers visitors a broad overview of the history and culture of ancient Greece and its colonial...
read more

Letters to the Editor

Bird’s-Eye Views I very much enjoyed Linda A. Ries’ article, “Pennsylvania Places Through the Bird’s-eye Views of T. M. Fowler,” in the winter 1995 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage. We have some bird’s-eye views in our collection, and I have always enjoyed looking at them. Now, thanks to this research on Fowler, I can appreciate them even more. Barbara D. Hall...
read more

Like Father, Like Son: The Extraordinary Bartrams

An unusual man, of seemingly boundless talent and insatiable curiosity, John Bartram (1699-1777) was many things to many people. Although primarily regarded as a botanist, he might also have been considered a paleontologist, an archaeol­ogist, a geologist, a limnologist, a conchologist, an ethnologist, and so on. Like Thomas Jefferson, he was a prime example of that rare, almost unique,...
read more

Shorts

The Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is offering an in-depth study tour of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania on Monday, October 16 [1995]. Sessions include an exploration of the museum’s extensive collections and the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in addition to a living history performance by Richard L. Pawling and lunch on the Strasburg Railroad...
read more

Bookshelf

Building Little Italy: Philadelphia’s Italians Before Mass Migration by Richard N. Juliani Pennsylvania State Univer­sity Press, 1998 (398 pages, paper, $19.95) The study of ethnicity in Amer­ica has been popular for years. Ethnic groups in cities small and large, in remote villages, and in rural farming areas have been ana­lyzed and researched; in several urban areas institutions devoted...
read more

Firm Foundations in Philadelphia: The Lewis and Clark Expedition’s Ties to Pennsylvania

For a century and a half, from 1807 until the early 1960s, the celebrated expedition undertaken by Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) between 1803 and 1806 was generally perceived to be strictly a western United States phenomenon. Historians and educators who discussed it in their writings or in their teaching usually described the twenty-eight month ordeal as beginning...
read more

William Wagner Portrait by Thomas Sully

In 1836, eminent Ameri­can artist Thomas Sully (1783-1872) painted a por­trait of William Wagner (1796-1885), Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist, which had, until last year, remained in private hands. More than a century after its creation, the likeness has virtually returned “home” to the Wagner Free Institute of Science, founded by Wagn­er and his wife Louisa Bin­ney...
read more