Linton Park, Pennsylvania Folk Artist

  Linton Park (1826-1906) is recognized today as a significant artist in the primitive or folk tradition; however, his work was unknown during his lifetime. At his death, in fact, he had less than $100 to his name. He never married or had children, and his relatives and neighbors considered him an eccentric hermit. Evidence indicates that he was a self-taught painter, only beginning in the...
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Charles E. Hires and the Drink That Wowed a Nation by Bill Double

Charles E. Hires and the Drink That Wowed a Nation The Life and Times of a Philadelphia Entrepreneur by Bill Double Temple University Press, 228 pp, paper $24.95 Long before there was Coke, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper, there was root beer. American Indians flavored water with various roots, including those of sassafras trees. European Americans liked sassafras-flavored concoctions, and homebrewers added...
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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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City in a Park by James McClelland and Lynn Miller

City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System by James McClelland and Lynn Miller Temple University Press, 392 pp., cloth $39.50 A substantial, richly illustrated book highlighting the significance of Fairmount Park and its place in the larger urban parks movement has been long overdue. City in a Park has finally arrived to fill that void. Augmented with 150...
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Free-Thinking, 19th-Century Style

Francis Ellingwood Abbot (1836–1903) was nothing if not determined. In 1872, as editor of The Index, the nation’s leading free-thought magazine, he began to muster the full force of his small army of subscribers against what was being called “the God-in-the-Constitution amendment.” A philosopher and theologian, he sought to reconstruct theology in accordance with scientific methodology. From the...
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Baird of the Smithsonian

“You see sir, I have taken (after much hesitation) the liberty of writing to you. I am but a boy, and very inexperienced, as you no doubt will observe from my description of the Flycatcher.” In this way, young Spencer Fullerton Baird, seventeen years of age, introduced himself by letter to John James Audubon. His accurate description and measurements of the flycatcher enabled Audubon...
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Wilson Eyre: The Philadelphia Domestic Ideal

At the turn of the twentieth century, Wilson Eyre was at the height of his architectural powers. For sixteen years he had had a successful practice in Philadelphia, one of America’s major architectural centers. The United States bad become a world power, with money to give con­crete evidence of this in the buildings of her great cities, and Philadelphia’s blend of conservative...
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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 Great Escape: Camping in the 19th Century

During the turbulent nineteenth century, Americans were as mobile as wheels, waterways and ambition could make them. The population was preoccupied with carving out a new nation, emigrating, pioneering, surveying, sod busting, prospecting for gold and, fundamentally, attempt­ing to preserve body and soul. With the surge westward and the consuming desire to push on to the frontiers, there was a...
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Crews, Clubs and Clubhouses

Long before the light of the rising sun touches the tops of the tall silver buildings of center-city Philadelphia, turn­ing the sky to the color of gunmetal, morning has dawned on Boathouse Row. Morning comes early to that small swatch of the Schuylkill River, and to the ten old Victorian era structures renowned throughout the world as a center for rowing – and recognized by...
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