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.

Barry Papers Preserved

Historically significant papers of colonial period naval hero John Barry, his nephew Patrick Hayes, Hayes’ wife Elizabeth Keen Hayes, and members of the Barry-Hayes family have been recently conserved and catalogued in a major project undertaken by the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. The project makes available to scholars and re­searchers the papers of one of the most important maritime dynasties in the early naval and commercial history of Philadelphia and the nation.

John Barry (1745-1803), who vies with John Paul Jones for the title of “Father of the American Navy,” was born in Ireland and emigrated to Phila­delphia at the age of fifteen. During the Revolutionary War, he became a naval celebrity, winning key victories for the United States while command­ing such ships as the Lexington (1776), the Effingham (1777), the Raleigh (1778-1781), the Alliance (1781) and the United States (1794). Barry’s mercantile activities during peacetime included command of the vessel Asia (1778), one of the earliest Philadelphia ships to participate in the burgeoning trade with China. The papers held by the Philadelphia Mari­time Museum cover the period from 1775 until Barry’s death in 1803, and include two jour­nals, a ledger and a payroll book for the Alliance; letters of appointment to the command of several vessels and as senior captain of the United States Navy; and a letter from Barry to Philadelphia shipbuilder Joshua Humphreys regarding the performance of the frigate United States. The collection also features the papers of various family members: the seaman and merchant Patrick Hayes, his wife Elizabeth, and their children.

Patrick Hayes (1770-1856) was Barry’s nephew and sailed with him as a cabin boy to Canton in 1778 aboard the Asia. As captain, Hayes sailed the George Washington and the Dorothea in the China trade; he was the first to take a one million dollar cargo from the port of Philadelphia to Can­ton. Hayes also captained ships sailing to Cuba, Ber­muda, and Portugal. He be­came a successful merchant, residing with his wife at Ninth and Locust streets in center­-city Philadelphia. The muse­um’s collection of Hayes’ papers includes personal and business correspondence, ship journals and Jogs, crew lists, and ledgers.

The papers of Elizabeth Keen Hayes (1764-1853) cast important new light on the critical – and often overlooked – roles played by women in the business affairs of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Elizabeth not only managed the house­hold during the years her husband spent at sea, but was also dearly involved with Patrick’s financial dealings, particularly insurance matters. Elizabeth was a cousin of John Barry’s wife, Sarah Austin Barry, staying in the Barry house at Strawberry Hill dur­ing Barry’s voyage to China in 1787-1788. Eight years later she married Patrick and the couple had five children. (John Barry and his wife were childless.)

The maritime, travel, and social activities of the Hayes children are represented in the collection of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum as well. One child who had an espe­cially adventuresome career at sea was Isaac Austin Hayes (1802-1839), who sailed vessels to Europe and South America. He established an exporting business in Brazil, served as an American consul during pre­carious political years and had once been taken prisoner by angry revolutionaries.

The papers of the Barry and Hayes families were acquired by the Philadelphia Maritime Museum during a period which spanned two decades. Acquired from descendants of the families, the papers of John and Sarah Barry total eighty pieces, and the docu­ments relating to Patrick and Elizabeth Hayes and their children number more than two thousand. A special fea­ture of the museum collection is a series of nearly nine hun­dred ships’ papers dating from 1785 to 1841, arranged by the names of the vessels that fig­ured in the lives of the John Barry and the Patrick Hayes families. Included are docu­ments such as bills of lading, shipping invoices, repair bills, receipts, and insurance docu­ments. Most of the archival material deals with the brigs Tontine, Emma, and Margaret.

Conservation of the Barry-­Hayes papers was performed at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia, under the direc­tion of the Philadelphia Mari­time Museum’s library staff. A comprehensive overview of the collection is offered by the recently published The Barry-­Hayes Papers: A Descriptive Guide, written by historian Mary Beth Reed and librarian Dorothy Schneider.

The library of the Philadel­phia Maritime Museum is one of the foremost regional li­braries in the nation; its hold­ings, focusing on Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Val­ley, include ten thousand book titles and more than two hun­dred serials, in addition to special collections of manu­scripts, ship plans, and photo­graphs.

For more information, write: Philadelphia Maritime Museum, 321 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106-2779; or telephone (215) 925-5439.


Living Folk Traditions

The latest group of exhibi­tors at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, located in Philadelphia, share something important in common: they are the recipients of National Heritage Fellowships pre­sented by the Folk Arts Pro­gram of the National Endowments of the Arts (NEA).

These traditional artists are being honored as a group for the first time in a major travel­ing exhibition entitled “Ameri­ca’s Living Folk Traditions,” which is on view through January 31, 1992. The exhibi­tion, organized by the Mu­seum of International Folk Art, a unit of the Museum of New Mexico, will tour nationally through 1995.

The artists – all dedicated to their craft – share a lifelong history of artistic activity and achievement. They hail from thirty-seven states and territo­ries; Pennsylvania is repre­sented H. “Spoons” Williams, a Philadelphia musician and poet, who received his award in 1985. Other individuals represented in “America’s Living Folk Traditions” include a Lakota Sioux quill artist, a Latino storyteller, a Lebanese­America n lace maker, a Jewish Klezmer clarinetist, an Irish­-American stepdancer, a Slove­nian accordionist, and a Sicilian marionettist. Works of the performing artists are represented by photographs and descriptions, in conjunc­tion with audio tapes of se­lected musicians.

First presented in 1982, the National Heritage Fellowships are similar to Japan’s famous program of “Living Treasures.” The awards are presented to artists who have been nomi­nated by their peers and not only practice their craft with great distinction, but make special efforts to continue to preserve these traditions.

Following its showing at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Stud­ies, “America’s Living Folk Traditions” will travel to muse­ums and cultural institutions in Amarillo, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Anchor­age, Alaska; Bellevue, Wash­ington; Logan, Utah; Dearborn, Michigan; and Columbia, South Carolina.

The Balch Institute for Eth­nic Studies is open Monday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is free.

Additional information may be obtained by writing: Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, 18 South Seventh St., Philadel­phia, PA 19106; or by telephon­ing (215) 925-8090.


The Bible Doll Lady

The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia has recently acquired a rare collection of unusual handmade dolls – until now believed either lost or destroyed – depicting bibli­cal figures. The dolls were created by Diana Slavin For­man, well known from the 1940s through the 1960s as a lecturer, television and radio personality, teacher, and artist.

Forman, also known as “The Bible Doll Lady” for her creative use of dolls in teach­ing the Bible, assembled a unique collection, which scholars and educators have praised as “an exciting exam­ple of the blending of the re­quirements of Jewish education with the unique creative talent and vision of a dynamic woman.” The artist originally created at least seven hundred dolls, but most were lost after her death. This past spring, one hundred and sixty of Forman’s creations were discovered in the attic of Kerem Torah, the joint reli­gious School of Cumberland County in Vineland, New Jersey. Museum curators be­lieve this cache is the largest and most intact collection extant.

A scholar herself, Diana Slavin Forman was cognizant that classical depictions of biblical characters were not accurate, and she conducted exhaustive research to make her representations as genuine to the period and characters as possible. She read Hebrew and painstakingly researched biblical costume; in fact, not only did historians think her interpretation of Joseph’s coat was the most accurate ever made, but filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille invited her to Holly­wood to serve as costume consultant for the filming of The Ten Commandments.

Believing that children could best learn the stories of the Bible when they used all their senses, Diana Slavin Forman created the dolls as teaching aids, encouraging young students to handle and play with them as they learned their lessons. “In the teaching of character and morality – not to mention religion – the Bible is the most important book ever written,” Forman wrote in 1947. “It is perhaps the only such book available. It is still an unfamiliar book …. The Doll, as a means of first con­tact with the Bible, is a most pleasant and captivating way of introducing the child to the Holy Scriptures.”

The daughter of a rabbi, Diana Slavin Forman was born in Canada in 1911 and wed in New York in 1970. After receiv­ing her master’s degree from Columbia University, she moved with her husband, Rabbi Max Forman, to Phila­delphia, where she established herself as “The Bible Doll Lady.” As she became increas­ingly recognized for her pio­neering work in children’s education, articles about her work appeared both regionally and throughout the world. She appeared on many televi­sion and radio shows, and hosted her own Philadelphia area radio program, “Practical Psychology for Parents.” For­man also taught pre­kindergarten, kindergarten, and high school classes, as well as Hebrew school courses, and her dolls were used by the Philadelphia School District as teaching tools.

Diana Slavin Forman’s earliest dolls were made of household paper products. She eventually turned to crepe paper, then to a composite material, and finally to com­mercially manufactured bodies which she dressed in great detail. In the 1950s she pro­duced her own line of Bible Dolls for sale, and four of her dolls were eventually manufac­tured and distributed by the Alexander Doll Company.

Dolls created by Forman were not confined to the Old Testament. She crafted New Testament figures as well, and the collection acquired by the National Museum of American Jewish History includes dolls representing Mary, Mary Mag­dalene, and John the Apostle. Of Old Testament characters, the museum has Moses, Sam­son, Eve, the Queen of Sheba, Solomon, Joshua, Abel, and many others. The museum’s recent acquisition features examples from all periods of Forman’s dollmaking.

“Diana S. Forman: The Bible Doll Lady,” an exhibition showcasing nearly fifty exam­ples of the artist’s work, will be on view at the National Mu­seum of American Jewish History through spring 1992.

Founded in 1976, the Na­tional Museum of American Jewish History is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to the preservation and interpretation of objects, artifacts, and materials pertaining to the history and heritage of the Jewish people in America. For more information, write: Na­tional Museum of American Jewish History, Independence Mall East, 55 North Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 923-3811 or 923-5978.


Bill of Rights Bicentennial

On September 17, 1787, members of the Federal Con­vention signed the United States Constitution in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. For more than four months they had debated the creation of a plan of gov­ernment for the country. If citizens’ rights? Could the strong central government it proposed both regulate indi­viduals and guarantee their rights? No one had raised the question about including such a statement of rights until late in the Convention. Five days before members signed the Constitution, George Mason of Virginia wished that ” … the plan had been prefaced with a bill of rights.” Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts moved for the preparation of such a bill, which Mason seconded. How­ever, the delegates voted against it; the issue of states’ rights was simply too contro­versial. The Constitution was presented to the states for ratification – without a bill of rights.

The issue soon resurfaced in several state ratifying conventions . Little discussion about amending the Constitu­tion to include rights occurred in states which were satisfied with the document, including New Jersey, Delaware, Con­necticut, and Georgia. In other places, though, the Constitu­tion was sharply criticized because it Jacked a bill of rights. The Federalists, op­posed to such a bill, noted that many state constitutions al­ready contained lists of rights. They believed that listing them in the Constitution would imply that it wielded powers which endangered those rights. James Wilson, a leading Federalist, claimed that “in a government consisting of enumerated powers, such as proposed by the United States, a bill of rights would not only be unnecessary, but, in my humble judgement, highly imprudent.” The Antifederal­ists staunchly supported a bill of rights. “The more the sys­tem advanced,” Maryland’s Luther Martin wrote, “the more I was impressed with the necessity of forming a com­plete bill of rights … to serve as a barrier between the general government and the respective states and their citizens.”

In June 1788, the necessary majority of states ratified the Constitution. The Antifederal­ists had been convincing in their concern about the miss­ing bill of rights, and eight states, including Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York, where the discussion had been intense, sent lists of amendments along with their ratification of the Constitution. Suggestions included religious freedom, due process of the law, and freedom of the press and assembly. More than two hundred amendments were proposed, and the members of the First Federal Congress were forced to respond to this overwhelming demand for a bill of rights.

The following year, the First Federal Congress, busy setting up a new government, had little time to deal with consti­tutional amendments. James Madison of Virginia, while campaigning for Congress, pledged to press the issue, and on May 4 he announced that he would propose amend­ments to the House of Repre­sentatives. He reviewed the two hundred suggestions, of which he selected eight and sent to the House in June. A House committee reviewed his work, and wrote a similar report. After considering the specifics of the report, the House sent it to the Senate for debate and revision. Finally, a joint committee of Congress met to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the amendments. On September 25, Congress accepted twelve amendments. However, this was not the final step; before the Constitution could be amended with a bill of rights, three-quarters of the states – ten in 1789 – had to agree.

Pres. George Washington sent the proposed amend­ments to each state govern.or on October 2, 1789. Eleven state legislatures had to accept the amendments, as fourteen states made up the Union after Vermont joined. New Jersey was the first to ratify. On De­cember 15, 1791, Virginia be­came the eleventh – and final – state to ratify ten of the proposed amendments. The Bill of Rights had finally be­come a reality.

To celebrate the bicenten­nial of the Bill of Rights, sev­eral dozen organizations have planned special activities for the remainder of this year. For the first time in Philadelphia in two hundred years, visitors will be able to see the Bill of Rights. On view through Tues­day, December 31 [1991], at Old City Hall in Independence National Historical Park, an exhibit features one of the original fifteen documents sent to the states for review, as well as the official four page document from Pennsylvania confirming the Commonwealth’s ratifica­tion. Other rare documents chronicle this exciting period in the young nation’s history. Lenders to this exhibition include the National Archives, the State of New Jersey, and the Maryland State Archives.

For additional information, write: Independence National Historical Park, National Park Service, 311-313 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 597-9205 or 597-8974. Admission is free.


The Realm of Kahn

Throughout his lifetime, internationally renowned architect Louis I. Kahn (1901- 1974) had strong ties to the City of Philadelphia, where he had arrived in 1906 as a five year old emigrant from Esto­nia. The Graphic Sketch Club, Central High School, and the University of Pennsylvania taught and encouraged the young student, who early discovered his vocation in architecture. At the University of Pennsylvania he studied under the French-trained ar­chitect Paul Cret, who had established the school’s cele­brated Beaux-Arts program of architecture. Kahn would eventually return to the uni­versity in 1955 as professor in the school of architecture, and would hold the Paul Cret chair from 1966 until his death in 1974.

It was in Philadelphia that Kahn did some of his earliest professional work, as chief of design for the Sesquicenten­nial Exposition (1925-1926); built his first independent commission, the Ahavath Israel Synagogue (1935); and designed his first mature work of major significance, the Rich­ards Medical Research Build­ing at the University of Pennsylvania (1957-1961). The Museum of Modern Art (MOM A) in New York hon­ored the Richards structure with a one building show, calling it “probably the single most consequential building constructed in the U. S. since the war.” Kahn’s designs for Philadelphia range from houses and housing to vi­sionary plans for center-city. His masterpieces can be seen throughout the United States and the world: the Yale Uni­versity Art Gallery (1951-1953) in New Haven, Connecticut; the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1959-1965), La Jolla, California; the capital complex (1962-1983) for Dhaka, Bangla­desh; and the Kimbell Art Museum (1966-1972) in Fort Worth, Texas. Critics have acclaimed these structures as perhaps the most noble, po­etic, and supremely resolved of his creations.

Louis I. Kahn began practicing architecture at a time when strict modernism was increasingly in question. His solution was to fuse the mod­ern movement’s best qualities-its love of new tech­nology and abstract visual language-with a profound understanding of the ancient meaning and purpose of archi­tecture. In an age of steel and glass high-rise office towers, Kahn built monumental struc­tures of brick and concrete that convey his central belief that architecture must dignify and celebrate human endeavors. Around him gathered a loose group of adventurous younger architects, identified as the “Philadelphia School,” includ­ing Robert Geddes, Robert Venturi, and Romaldo Giugola, who were instrumen­tal in the introduction of the international phenomenon called Post Modern Architecture. Geddes, the former dean of architecture at Princeton Uni­versity, later wrote: “A case could be made that much of the evolution of modern archi­tecture since the 1950s came about because Louis Kahn questioned the tradition of the international style.”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is showing the premiere of the first major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of the architect, universally acclaimed as one of the twenti­eth century’s greatest archi­tects. Entitled “Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture,” the exhibition continues through January 5, 1992. Through one hundred and twenty-five original drawings, forty-eight models, one hun­dred and twenty-five photo­graphs, and archival materials, the exhibition focuses on fifty­-six notable public buildings and projects. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, “Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Archi­tecture” will begin a world tour after its Philadelphia showing, which includes ma­jor museums in Paris, New York, Japan, Los Angeles, Fort Worth and Columbus, Ohio. The exhibition’s international tour presents this retrospective as a major cultural event attest­ing to the worldwide scope of Kahn’s work and the archi­tect’s place as one of the most distinguished creative artists and thinkers of this century.

“Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture” is ac­companied by a fully illus­trated exhibition catalogue co-published by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Rizzoli Interna­tional.

For more information, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Parkway at Twenty-Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19101; or telephone (215) 763-8100 or 787-5431. There is a charge for admission.


Sun Inn

The Sun Inn, Bethlehem’s distinguished hostelry, was built in 1758 to provide accommodations for visitors to the Moravian missionary commu­nity on the western frontier of Colonial America. As the Moravians’ official Gasthaus, the Inn welcomed many lead­ers of the colonial period, including Govs. John and William Penn; New Jersey’s Gov. William Franklin; Sir William Johnson, Great Brit­ain’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs; Gen. Thomas Gage, commander of British forces in America; and James Allen of Philadelphia, son of William Allen, the founder of nearby Allentown in Lehigh County. The eighteenth century hotel also claims the distinction of having lodged more than fifty chiefs and warriors of the Iroquois Confederation, in­cluding Chief Cornplanter, the famous Seneca leader and noted orator.

Throughout the Revolution­ary War and during the early years of American indepen­dence, the Sun Inn hosted military leaders, government officials, and politicians whose names are indelibly etched in the annals of the nation’s his­tory, including George Wash­ington, Horatio Gates, Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, Baron Von Steuben, the Mar­quis de Lafayette, Count Ca­simir Pulaski, John Paul Jones, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Sixteen members of the Continental Congress – among them John Adams, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and John Hancock – found refuge in the Northampton County hostelry during the British occupation of Philadel­phia.

The Sun Inn acquired an international reputation for its hospitality, superior accommodations, fine food, and “good cheer its table is proverbial for offering.” John Adams, second president of the United States, hailed it as “the best Inn I ever saw.”

Built by Bethlehem’s Mora­vian settlers in response to the growing need for travelers’ lodging, the Sun Inn was ideally situated at the crossroads of early travel. Its plans – which are now part of the collections of the city’s Kemerer Museum – were drawn by Andreas Hoeger. During its construction, the hotel was called the Congrega­tion Inn. It was erected by Moravian brethren for the good of the community, and not by experienced carpenters or skilled stone masons. In 1760, the year it was granted a license to dispense beer and wine, the Inn was known as the “House of Entertainment.” In June 1764, a sign appeared in front of the structure which bore the emblem of a “sun in meridian splendor,” hence its name today.

Much altered and consider­ably enlarged throughout the years, the Sun Inn continued to attract notable – if not notorious – guests, such as Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon and deposed king of Spain, who spent the summer of 1821 there. Bids for the construction of the Lehigh Canal were presented at a meeting at the Inn. In 1836 Gen. William Henry Harrison, later elected ninth president of the United States, led a parade to the Inn where he addressed the townspeople gathered on Main Street.

The Moravians sold the Sun Inn in 1851. Under numer­ous owners and with extensive renovations, the Sun Inn con­tinued to flourish until the 1940s, but keen competition and neglect finally forced it to cease operations in 1961. By the end of the decade, the Sun Inn was slated for demolition. However, a small group of concerned and determined citizens – fearing the loss of the mid-eighteenth century treasure – formed the Sun Inn Preservation Association in 1971. Within four years, the organization had saved the colonial period landmark by purchasing it with funds do­nated by area residents and with city, state, and federal grants. A grant from the Com­monwealth of Pennsylvania made possible the painstaking restoration of the Sun Inn to its original appearance by 1982. Entered in the National Register of Historic Places, the Sun Inn is administered by the Sun Inn Preservation Associa­tion, whose members and volunteers interpret the his­tory of the hostelry, the Mora­vian community, and the City of Bethlehem.

The Sun Inn Preservation Association will conduct its annual holiday evergreens sale in the courtyard of the venera­ble hotel on Saturday, Decem­ber 7 [1991], from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. The sale is being held in con­junction with the Association’s popular Caroling Fest. There is no charge for admission.

To obtain additional infor­mation about this event, as well as visiting hours and group rates, write: Sun Inn Preservation Association, 556 Main St., Bethlehem, PA 18018; or telephone (215) 866-1758.