Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Museum Acquires Pippin Painting

An important painting by Horace Pippin (1888-1947), who was born and lived his later life in West Chester, has been recently donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pippin, a completely self­-taught “naive” painter often compared with Henri Rousseau, is one of the best known American painters to emerge in the first half of this century. He is significant for his use of color and is, perhaps, the first black Ameri­can painter to not display the sentiments either of racial inferiority or of protest found in much of the work of that time. Rather, his work displays a more universal, mind’s-eye view of reality, not a photo-realism, but an almost child-like simplicity. For these reasons, Mr. Prejudice is somewhat of an anomaly in its almost symbolic expression of racial issues. A World War I veteran, Pippin characteristi­cally displayed a concern for peace which, evidenced by Mr. Prejudice, transcends considerations of race.

Oddly enough, Horace Pippin did not begin as a serious painter until he was forty-two years old. A few drawings remain from early childhood, but an illustrated journal from the war is regarded as his earliest work. He began to paint in 1930; N.C. Wyeth saw his work in 1937, and his support led to a one-man show in Philadelphia later that year. His reputation grew rapidly and he was included in the 1938 Museum of Modern Art exhibit, “Masters of Popular Painting.” Not long after, many of his pieces could be found in leading museums and galler­ies. He treated numerous subjects in his fifteen years of painting, including depictions of war, portraits of family and friends, interiors and a series devoted to the life and death of John Brown.

Mr. Prejudice is dominated by a large “V” (for victory) into which “Mr. Prejudice,” shirtless, drives a wedge. A grim-faced man with a broad hat and hangman’s rope and an austere Ku Klux Klan member dominate the right half of the painting; it is balanced on the left by a surging Miss Liberty, torch held high. Spanning the bottom are men, black and white, representative of the entire society: doctors, soldiers, workers, priests.

Mr. Prejudice joins two other Pippin works in the museum’s collection, also gifts, which are on view. For information, write: Philadel­phia Museum of Art, Benja­min Franklin Parkway and Twenty-Sixth St., Philadel­phia, PA 19101; or telephone (215) 787-5431.


Mathew Carey Show to Open

The colorful Mathew Carey (1760-1839), considered by many the most influential publisher of his time in America and a significant figure in the history of Ameri­can commerce and economics, is the subject of an exhibit at The Library Company of Philadelphia. “Mathew Carey: Irish- American Innovator” will open Monday, October 14 [1985], in celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of his firm, which continues today as Lea and Feibinger, the oldest publishing house in continuous operation in the United States.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, he was twice forced to flee for fear of his life. As a young man he penned a tract in defense of the persecuted Catholics, incensing both the Catholics and the Houses of Lords and Commons, after which his family secretly sent him to Paris. He was intro­duced to Benjamin Franklin in Paris and worked for a time at Franklin’s Passay press. Within a year he returned to Dublin and established the widely circulated, influential and decidedly anti-British Volunteer’s Journal. His words and accompanying actions resulted in a brief imprison­ment. Disguised as a woman, he fled to America and landed in Philadelphia, not yet twenty-five, with no more than a few coins in his pockets. The Marquis de Lafayette, upon hearing of Carey’s arrival, called upon his friend and gave him an unsolicited draft for four hundred dollars. Carey used the money to promptly estab­lish the Pennsylvania Herald. The strength of this widely respected journal was its extensive coverage of the sessions of the state assembly; such in-depth coverage was new to American journalism. His influence quickly spread and a rivalry developed with a competing editor. The rivalry grew hostile and in an ensuing duel Carey was severely wounded in the thigh. (Oddly enough, Carey’s first printed tract in Ireland had been a denunciation of dueling; he later printed a conciliatory letter and the two became friends.) It was about this time that Carey undertook publica­tion of the American Museum, the first national magazine in America.

Carey’s interests soon led him to book publishing. He published the first Catholic Bible printed in America, the Douay translation, in 1789. Carey’s American Atlas, the first atlas published in the colonies, was produced in 1795. His encouragement and early publishing of Edgar Allen Poe, James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving make him a significant figure in American literature.

Carey’s entrepreneurship accords him a place of promi­nence in the history of Ameri­can commerce. Not content to accept whatever business might find its way to him, he established a network of booksellers to search out business and to distribute books as far west as the Mississippi. He made litera­ture available to many, an asset to his firm as well as the widely-scattered colonists.

A vigorous and eloquent essayist, he produced pamphlets throughout his lifetime. A member of the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of National Indus­try, his writings are recog­nized as the classic argument in favor of an American protective system and distin­guish him as a founder of the school of economic thought.

The gamut of Carey’s activ­ities will be documented in “Mathew Carey: Irish-Ameri­can Innovator” which runs through January 3, 1986. Admission to the exhibit, is free. For more information, write: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA.


“Romance of the Auto” Exhibit

Now an obsession, the automobile has, in a very short time, become a funda­mental element of the Ameri­can lifestyle; never before have individuals felt such sensa­tions of speed, power and control. The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is exploring the phenomenon that is the automobile, a force­ful symbol exploited by skillful artists, in an exhibit scheduled to run through October 20 [1985].

“Romance of the Auto” features more than one hundred works of art drawn from the extensive automobi­liana collections of two area collectors. Ranging from origi­nal sculptures and paintings to mass-produced mementos and toys, the show is arranged according to related mediums: sculpture, including commis­sioned pieces, perhaps origi­nally to commemorate a special event; functional works, such as hood ornaments and emblems; paintings, photographs, illus­trations and other two-dimen­sional forms; and mass­-produced toys and collectibles.

Highlights include a 1910 bronze low relief sculpture by French artist Edward Fraisse, an 1898 Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph, a Charles Sykes designed hood emblem rescued from a 1911 Rolls­-Royce and a Hupmobile weathervane, circa 1910, produced by E.G. Washburne & Co.

The museum, located at Fifth and Court Streets in Allentown, is open Monday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 P.M. A related series of programs is planned to coincide with this exhibit. For additional information, write: Allentown Art Museum, P.O. Box 117, Allentown, PA 18105; or telephone (215) 432-4333.


Franklin’s Return!

September marks the two hundredth anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s return to Philadelphia. During the month, Independence National Historical Park will host several special events marking the anniversary, principally in Franklin Court, the site of the house Franklin and his wife Deborah built in a courtyard behind their Market Street properties.

In September 1785, Frank­lin returned from France where he had been sent by the new Congress with proposals for treaties of commerce and alliance with America. With his fellow commissioners he negotiated the Treaty of Paris in 1783. It was 1785, however, before he was given permis­sion to return to America; on September 14 he landed at Philadelphia’s Market Street wharf. The jubilant city gave him a real hero’s welcome. Cannon boomed salutes, church bells pealed and a cheering crowd of thousands accompanied him on the four block walk up Market Street to his courtyard. Newspaper tributes were extravagant. For the rest of his life, including the significant period in 1787 during which he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, visitors came in great numbers to see the famous man at his home.

After Benjamin Franklin’s death, and later that of his daughter, the property was sold for development and the house was razed in 1812. When the National Park Service acquired Franklin Court as part of Independence National Historical Park, only remnants of the original struc­tures remained. Because so little was known about the original house, the entire court was developed as a memorial rather than as a reconstruc­tion. Archaeological excava­tions uncovered some original foundations of the house, necessaries and artifacts. The house has been outlined with an open steel framework which permits a full view of the courtyard. An unusual museum beneath the house site illustrates the many facets of Franklin’s life: printer, publisher, inventor, states­man, diplomat, scientist, philosopher and public benefactor. An underground theater offers a film portraying Franklin as a family man. A special section with miniature tableaus dramatizes Franklin on the World Stage using three important scenes in his life: his appearance before the English Parliament in 1766; his appeal to the French Court in 1777 for support of indepen­dence; and his speech at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

Five brick houses along Market Street have also been reconstructed to demonstrate Franklin’s many interests and activities. Open to visitors are a post office, a museum of postal history, a working printing office and bindery and a reproduction of an eighteenth century newspaper subscription office. The interior of one structure has been left unfinished to show details of Franklin’s fireproof construction and the original bricks of his archway.

Specific information on the dates of special events commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of “Franklin’s Return” may be obtained by writing: NPS Visitor Center, Third and Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19106.


Ars Medica

“Ars Medica: Art, Medicine and the Human Condition” is an unusual exhibition sched­uled to open to the public on Sunday, September 22 [1985], at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. More than one hundred and thirty works on paper, depict­ing illness and healing from 1400 to the present, have been selected for the show which continues through December 1 [1985].

A mutual concern of both physicians and artists for understanding the mecha­nisms of the human body often moved them in similar directions in search of unravel­ing the mystery of life. The equalizing effects of birth and death, disease and its cure, give the visions of artists of other eras and countries a timeless universality.

The display of prints, drawings and photographs, all drawn from the museum’s extensive Ars Medica Collec­tion, is grouped around four thematic areas: anatomy; healers; diseases and disabil­ity; and metaphors, allegories and the cycle of life. “Ars Medica: Art, Medicine and the Human Condition” is supported by funding from the SmithKline Corporation.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located at Twenty­-Sixth Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is charged.

For additional information, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646; or telephone (215) 763-8100.


Beck is Back

Julius Augustus Beck (1831- 1917) was much more than a prolific and accomplished Harrisburg artist; 1,e was also the patriarch of a dynasty of Pennsylvania painters.

Born in Lititz, Lancaster County, he was the son of German Moravian parents. As an adult he traveled twice to Philadelphia and, curators believe, enrolled in classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Most important to his early artistic career was a six year stay in Europe, much of it spent in the great sculpture centers of Florence and Rome where he studied under the great nineteenth century American sculptors, Thomas Crawford and Hiram Powers. This background served him well: he continued sculpting throughout his lifetime and his acclaimed pieces include a mantel in the White House and a piece on display at the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital.

Following his return from abroad, Julius Augustus Beck – the most polished of his artistic family – settled in Lancaster where he labored as a monument carver for three years. He married in 1861 and moved to Harrisburg, lured by the possibility of portrait commissions from prominent politicians.

Julius Augustus Beck trained each of his eight children. The four sons all continued as professional painters and garnered accolades for their work. Henry (“Harry”) Kepple Beck was the only son to remain in Harrisburg where he both painted and taught. Ralph moved to Lockport, near Buffalo, New York, where he later became prominent for his murals and window designs. John, a respected conserva­tionist and wildlife painter, relocated to Williamsport, Lycoming County, and often executed cover illustrations for nature magazines. Martin lived in Elgin, Illinois, and served as artistic director of the David Cook Publishing Company. Of the four daugh­ters, only Marion remained an artist. Both she and Henry remained single and gave art instruction in their studios.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, as part of Dauphin County’s bicenten­nial, “Celebrate 200!,” has mounted more than sixty Beck paintings for a special showing on view through March 3, 1986. The exhibition is primarily devoted to the work of the three Harrisburg family members: Julius A., Henry K. and Marion. Serving to give a frame of reference to the Harrisburg art scene, a sampling of works by noted local artists – Ira Deen, Walt Huber, Alden Turner and Edward Black – is also displayed.

Highlights of the show include the patriarch’s scenes of the Susquehanna River, many of which are identified by the artist, Henry’s forceful portraits of his sisters and Marion’s subtle studies of flowers and children. Many of the pieces on view were lent by a descendant of the family and have never before appeared in public exhibitions.

The Beck family’s paintings are on display in Memorial Hall located on the first floor of The State Museum. Visiting hours are: Tuesday through Saturday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 P.M. Admission is free.

For additional information regarding the show, write: Donald A. Winer, Curator of Fine Arts, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 783-9904.


Pennsylvania Memorial to be Restored

The Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg National Military Park, the largest of the park’s twenty state monuments, was originally dedicated in 1910 as the Commonwealth’s tribute to its thirty-four thousand soldiers who fought in the famous Civil War battle. Its design and construction was completed with nearly two hundred thousand dollars appropriated by the state legislature. Constructed with more than twelve hundred tons of granite, the Pennsylvania Memorial features eighty-seven bronze tablets and nine bronze figures, including a mammoth sculpture of winged victory crowning the entire piece.

The seventy-fifth anniver­sary of the monument’s dedication is September 27 [1985], and a committee – with Gov. Dick Thornburgh as honorary chairman – is in the process of raising one hundred thousand dollars to stabilize the monument. During the last three-quarters of a century, weather and acid rain have ravaged the bronze and granite. Preservation of the Pennsylvania Monument will include complete cleaning, repair and waxing of the bronze plaques and statues; selected cleaning of the granite surfaces and repainting of joints; and upgrading of walkways and grounds. Following completion of the restoration project, a rededica­tion ceremony will be held July 1, 1986.

Contributions to assist in the restoration of the historic monument may be sent to: The Pennsylvania Memorial Preservation Fund, do Super­intendent, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettys­burg, PA 17325.


Phipps Conserva­tory Flower Show

On November 17, 1891, Henry Phipps, notable steel magnate and friend and partner of Andrew Carnegie, wrote a letter to the mayor of Pittsburgh. It contained an important sentence, a magnanimous offer still legend in Pittsburgh’s philan­thropy: “If the City grants me permission, I shall be very glad to erect a Conservatory in Schenley Park at a cost of, say, $100,000.”

The City of Pittsburgh did find it possible to accept the gift and council members unanimously and immediately approved the project. The gift Henry Phipps provided founded the Phipps Conserva­tory, the largest conservatory in the United States at the time. The conservatory was dominated by the mammoth central Palm Court, a standard feature of Victorian era conser­vatories, and the complex boasted eight associated greenhouses. A stone entrance building housed offices and a grand visitors’ lobby.

Phipps Conservatory was designed and constructed by the firm of Lord and Burnham of Irvington-on-the-Hudson. Construction commenced in August 1892 and completed the following summer. The doors were opened to the public – both horticultural enthusiasts and the curious­ – on December 7, 1893.

The strange and wondrous plants were purchased through public subscriptions and donations. In 1894, at the close of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, most of the rare plants displayed at the world’s fair were purchased through the efforts of concerned individuals and public officials. Several of the existing palms and cycads date from this purchase!

Today, the Phipps Conser­vatory is one of the largest publicly owned conservatories in the United States and is widely acclaimed for its outstanding seasonal shows. The complex consists of thirteen large show houses and nine growing houses. The area covered by glass comprises about two and one­-half acres. The collections are quite wide and varied, includ­ing large tropical palms and foliage plants, thousands of orchids, many tropical plants of economic significance and thousands of seasonal flower­ing plants and flowers.

The annual Fall Flower Show, a dazzling display of Chrysanthemums in interest­ing garden settings, opens to the public from November 10 to December 1 [1985]. One year in the making, the Fall Flower Show features plant materials grown and staged entirely by the conservatory staff. The various gardens claim more than four hundred varieties of Chrysanthemums, including the large flowering types such as the Japanese and the pompom varieties.

Phipps Conservatory is located within walking distance of the main entrance to Schenley Park. Daily visit­ing hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and 7 to 9 P.M. Admission is charged.

For additional information, write: Phipps Conservatory, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; or telephone (412) 255-2376.


Graeme Park, an Eighteenth Century Doctor’s Home

In conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s fall exhibition, “Ars Medica: Art, Medicine and the Human Condition,” on view from September 22 through Decem­ber 1 [1985], Graeme Park will focus interpretative programs and tours on the residence of an eighteenth century physician. The special interpretation will be offered to visitors at the Montgomery County attrac­tion from September 26 through November 17 [1985].

Dr. Thomas Graeme lived at the mansion which bears his name from 1739 until his death in 1772. Born at Balgo­wan, Perthshire, Scotland, on October 20, 1688, Graeme studied medicine at Leyden and was awarded his medical degree by the University of Rheims. He relocated to Pennsylvania with Sir William Keith who had been appointed governor. In 1719, Graeme married Keith’s step­daughter, Ann Diggs, at Phila­delphia’s historic Christ Church. In the same year, Keith appointed Graeme as Naval Officer of Philadelphia, the first of many official appointments he was to hold.

Dr. Graeme practiced medicine throughout his life, treating both the affluent, including New Jersey’s Gover­nor Belcher, and the Black slaves and indentured Germans belonging to the Proprietor. But it was as public health physician that Thomas Graeme exerted his greatest influence. As Physician of the Port of Philadelphia, he was routinely involved in examining sickly crews and quaran­tining crews and passengers to protect the health and safety of the city’s residents.

Throughout his life, Dr. Graeme was cognizant of his civic duty and served, among other things, as a supreme court justice and a founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital. The exhibit and special inter­pretation of Graeme Park will enhance the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibit by helping the public experience the home and lifestyle of one of early Pennsylvania’s foremost physicians. The special programming will include a display of medical artifacts in the visitor’s center and a “hands on” workshop devoted to eighteenth century medical preparations on Satur­day, September 28.

For more information, write: Graeme Park, 859 County Line Rd., Horsham, PA 19044; or telephone (215) 343-0965. Visiting hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 P.M. Admission is charged.


Printing Press on View at Old Economy

Old Economy Village, the restored village of the nineteenth-century Harmonist religious sect (see “Unlikely Capitalists: Harmonists as Textile Manufacturers,” in the spring 1984 issue), recently opened its exhibit of an 1840s printing shop. The highlight of the exhibit is the 1822 wooden “Harmony Press,” one of the few early nineteenth-century wooden presses remaining in the country, also on view are original shop furniture, tools and an iron Washington press, ca. 1830.

The “Harmony” press bears resemblance to those manufactured between 1807 and 1825 by Adam Ramage of Philadelphia, but subtle differ­ences have led many to believe the Harmonists, who had the woodworking skills, built it themselves. The community could have easily ordered the iron worm screw and other metal parts from Philadelphia; no documents have been discovered to suggest the purchase of a complete press. Because they appear to have built it themselves, it is known as a “Harmony” press. The 1822 date is attributed because records reveal the purchase of moveable type and other equipment in 1823, making it reasonable to assume the Harmonists had the press earlier.

The Society’s printing was done by the multi-talented Dr. Mueller, reputed to be one of the best minds of the Society, who simultaneously served as Society doctor, surgeon, pharmacist, chemist, transla­tor, and composer and teacher of music, among other things. When Mueller left the Society in 1832, the press fell into disuse as the Society, without its resident printer, had its work done by commercial firms in nearby Pittsburgh. The press, which was exhib­ited in the 1950s and 1970s, now has a permanent public resting place.

Numerous books were produced on the hand­-operated press, mostly for Society use. The first project was a hymnbook, Eine Kleine Sammlung Harmonscher Lieder. The most important imprints from the press were the second and third books produced: The German and English versions of Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, the first philosophical work printed in Indiana and the best available expression of the philosophy of Society founder George Rapp. The German edition is very rare; the English edition was not circulated owing to numerous errors. A second, corrected edition was to have been produced, but never was.

Old Economy Village continues working demonstra­tions of the press and is open for tours. For information, write: Old Economy Village, Fourteenth and Church Sts., Ambridge, PA 15003; or telephone (412) 266-1803.