From the Anonymous Lady to the Peales and the Sullys: Philadelphia’s Professional Women Artists of the Early Republic

The Colonial and Revolutionary periods in Philadelphia saw little art production by women outside the home. Not only did the religious and social culture of Philadelphia demand that women make the home and children their primary focus, but also there were no formal schools for instruction in either the fine or applied arts. Apprenticeships with painters, printmakers or sculptors were usually...
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From the Executive Director

As a trained historian who has devoted his life to the preservation and teaching of American history, I am embarrassed to admit how little I knew about my own family’s history—only a few bits and pieces passed down from my parents. I was told that our family settled in the old Northwest Territory before Ohio became a state in 1803 and that some of my ancestors came from Pennsylvania. I...
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The Lady in Charge

In its heyday, Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre seated approximately 2,000 patrons for each performance who came to see the renowned thespians of the 19th century. Popular performers – Fanny Davenport, Joseph Jefferson and Charlotte Cushman – played “The Arch” at 819 Arch Street. Even actor John Wilkes Booth took his turn there as Macbeth two years before he...
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Made in America 1800-1900: Fine Ceramics from Commission Collections

The decorative arts department of the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harrisburg, ad­ministered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, houses a collection of fine American ceramic pieces spanning the years from 1800 to 1900. Many of these examples are very familiar, but some are quite surprising and not as well known. This sampling from the collections can help to trace the design...
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The Black Absence

Should it come as a surprise that no history of black Pennsylvanians in the American Revolution has been written? That the best modern study of the Negro in the American Revolution devotes less than four pages to his role in Pennsylvania? That the challenge to American historians to recover this aspect of the black past remains unmet at the time of the Bicentennial? There are a number of reasons...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War with Mexico

The war with Mexico, declared on May 13, 1846, was not generally popular throughout the United States. Many in the northern states perceived it as an effort to expand the territory suitable for slavery, there­by increasing the economic and political influence of the South. Many Pennsylvanians, however, did not share what has since been characterized as the typical northern attitude. Either from...
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The Political Ascent of James Buchanan

As the nation enters the third century of the American presi­dency, only one Pennsylvanian has had the distinction of serving as its chief executive. In 1857, at the age of sixty-five, James Bu­chanan of Lancaster County became the fifteenth president of the United States. He was well prepared for the office, having spent more than thirty years in public service in various elected and appointed...
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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...
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Bookshelf

Hope Abandoned: Eastern State Penitentiary By Mark Perrott Pennsylvania Prison Society and Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 1999 (105 pages, cloth, $28.00) The images by Pittsburgh photographer Mark Perrott of Philadelphia’s “modern ruin,” Eastern State Penitentiary, are haunting in their portrayal of a medieval-looking fortress that is falling into grave disrepair....
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