Jackie Ormes, African American Woman Cartoonist

Born Zelda Mavin Jackson in Pittsburgh in 1911 and raised in Monongahela, Washington County, Jackie Ormes was the first African American woman cartoonist. At the height of her career, her cartoons and comics reached more than a million readers across the nation through the black press. When the Jim Crow era was in full swing and racial stereotypes were prevalent, Ormes broke down barriers of...
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White Glove Service at The State Museum: It’s Not What You Might Think

Sometimes hands-on history projects require gloves. White cotton gloves, to be precise. In June 2012 three curators at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, donned gloves and began the first of an orderly series of planned inventories of the museum’s collections known as the Collections Advancement Project (CAP). By the end of summer three more curators joined the team and the...
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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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Doing Time in Dauphin County, 1842-1901

They locked up Elias Nation on April 18, 1842, giving him official first place in Dauphin County’s new prison. (For the record, Jacob Stripe was registered nearly two weeks earlier, for assault and battery, but he was out before the prison’s grand opening.) Nation was twenty­-nine years old and looked “yellow,” wrote Keeper Wil­liam Watson; he underlined that fact in his...
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Mailbox

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, located in Strasburg, Lancaster County, is seeking information and documentation on railroad work clothes and uniforms worn from 1850 through the first half of the twentieth century. Of particular interest are changes in the styles of work clothing worn by engineers, freight train crews, shop workers, car inspectors, and maintenance and yard employees....
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Currents

Hat’s Off! The Philadelphia Museum of Art will celebrate the art and craft of twentieth century millinery in the first major survey of its kind ever to be mounted in the United States. “Ahead of Fashion: Hats of the Twentieth Century” will open on Saturday, August 21 [1993], and continue through Sunday, November 28 [1993]. The exhibition will showcase one hundred of the...
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Letters to the Editor

Filled the Bill I appreciated the article entitled “Against All Odds: Chevalier Jackson, Physician and Painter” in the summer 1992 edition. Following a double mastoid ear operation at the age of seven, I moved with my family to Philadelphia in 1924, and my mother and I commuted at least weekly for ear treatments from Dr. Arthur J. Wagers, a friend and colleague of Dr. Jackson. It was...
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Currents

Pippin “I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin,” the largest and most comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the work of this important African American artist and preemi­nent self-taught painter, will begin its national tour at the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia on Friday, January 21, 1994. This exhibition will present a...
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Shorts

Nearly one hundred watercolors and drawings of fruits, flowers, ani­mals, and saints by artists working in the cities of Jaipur and Bikaner, India, will remain on view at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation through Friday, February 24, 1995. The exhibition of natural history works of art features pieces created in Rajasthan, the desert state of...
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Lost and Found

Lost In operation between 1910 and 1916, the studio of filmmaker Siegmund “Pop” Lubin, located at Twentieth Street and Indiana Avenue in North Philadelphia, employed seven hundred people in its heyday. Dubbed “Lubinville” by the press, it was one of the largest and most ad­vanced motion picture studios of its day. The studio featured a glass enclosed stage area large...
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