Howard L. Barnes, Dean of Philadelphia’s Amateur Historians

Howard L. Barnes claims that Frankford is the oldest settlement in Philadelphia. Historians in neighboring Germantown dispute him, contending theirs to be the oldest community in the Quaker city area. How­ ever, no one has proven him wrong – nor can one, especially when he produces the original land deed of his beloved home­town, which dates to 1660. That would make Frankford not only the...
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With Dash and Spirit: Haverford College Plays Soccer!

A strong, blistering wind cut across the playing field as the young athletes ran through their pre-game drills. It was April 1, 1905, and spring, as usual, seemed to introduce itself to Boston with a lion’s roar rather than the meekness of a lamb. Eager to begin the match, Harvard’s players abbreviated their warm-up exercises to huddle on the sidelines of Soldiers’ Field and...
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Plagued! Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

On August 5, 1793, Dr. Benjamin Rush was summoned to the waterfront residence of fellow physician Hugh Hodge, whose daughter had recently taken ill. For days Rush had been treating Philadelphians for a serious outbreak of influenza and had assumed that this was yet another case. But when he found the small girl on her deathbed, gasping for breath and vomiting black bile, Rush instinctively knew...
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The Apotheosis of George Washington: America’s Cincinnatus and the Valley Forge Encampment

In the early evening hours of December 19, 1777, the Continental Army, commanded by Gen. George Washington, marched into Valley Forge to encamp for the winter while the British occupied Philadelphia. Within days, six inches of snow blanketed the ground and the nearby Schuylkill River was frozen solid. Undernourished and poorly clothed, and with no immediate prospects for provisioning, many of...
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A Modern Marriage Inspired by the American Revolution

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage,” advised Benjamin Franklin in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, “half shut afterwards.” Despite their great admiration for Philadelphia’s most prominent – if not wittiest – sage, historians David and Joan Dutcher don’t set much store by his marital advice. Their courtship was inspired by the American Revolution...
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Explaining William Penn on the 350th Anniversary of His Birth: An Interview with Richard S. Dunn

In his journal entry of December 29, 1667, noted seventeenth century English diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) wrote that his young neighbor William Penn “has returned from Ireland a Quaker – or some very melancholy thing – that he cares for no company, nor comes into any.” For Pepys, who despised the noncon­formist Quakers, Penn’s reclusiveness was “a...
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“Dapper Dan” Flood, Pennsylvania’s Legendary Congressman

During the early morning hours of Friday, June 23, 1972, U. S. Representative Daniel J. Flood sat work­ing in his Washington apartment when news of the devastation in his congressional district in northeast­ern Pennsylvania reached him. Rains of tropical storm Agnes had caused the Susquehanna River to rise forty feet. Water was pouring over the dikes protecting the twenty-two communities...
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Pride of the Philadelphia Phillies: An Interview with Mike Schmidt

Baseball is, essentially, a game of history. In no other sport can athletes measure their performance with such precision against those who have come before. Every aspect of the game is recorded, from most base hits to lowest earned run average. As time passes, players’ evaluations and rankings increasingly come to rest on the statistics they compiled during their careers. While nearly...
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A King Crowns the World’s Greatest Athlete

On a sun-drenched July afternoon in 1912, thirty thousand spectators thronged the closing ceremonies of the fifth Olympiad held that year in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm. The event was quite a spectacle, punctuated by pomp and circumstance befitting a royal pageant. The stadium, especially constructed for the games, was electric with excitement. As a chorus of four thousand voices filled...
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Keystone Born, Hollywood Bred: “Movie Buff” David Mallery Reviews the Acting Careers of James Stewart and Grace Kelly

There is magic in the movies. They draw viewers away – even if but for a few hours – from mere ordinary, everyday life to see their own experience and the experience of others in a detached but powerful way. Some induce laughter, others bring tears. But audiences seem grateful for the opportunity to know the richness, the complex­ity, and the irony of events without their having to...
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