What Love Can Do: William Penn’s Holy Experiment in Education

The founder of Pennsyl­vania stands atop Philadelphia’s City Hall, seemingly sur­veying a “Holy Experiment” he nurtured out of the ideals of his Quaker faith. William Penn, the political theorist, is still remembered for his daring experiment in establishing a colony dedicated to pacifism, civil liberty and religious free­dom in a seventeenth century world conditioned by...
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Courageous Cumberland County

Anxious to persuade a Scottish cleric, the Rev. Charles Nisbet, to become the first president of Dickinson Col­lege, its founding trustee Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote the Presbyterian worthy in 1784, describing central Cumberland County. The town of Carlisle lies 120 miles to the westward of Philadel­phia and about 18 miles from the river Susquehannah. It consists of about 300 houses, most of which...
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Philadelphia, First

If it happened, it happened in Philadelphia,” so goes an old adage. And one not terribly far from the truth, either. Philadelphia has witnessed much of the history of the early United States. The sign­ing of the Declaration of Inde­pendence, probably the nation’s most hallowed docu­ment, drew the colonies’ lead­ing statesmen – including George Washington, Thomas...
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Sowing a Wealth Uncommon

When Pennsylvania’s thirty-seven-year-old founder William Penn (1644-1718) drew plans for Philadelphia, he specified a central park of ten acres and four symmetrically placed squares of eight acres each “for the comfort and recreation of all forever.” In his September 30, 1681, instructions to his commissioners, he also mandated private space. “Let every House be placed,...
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Hannah Penn, Pennsylvania’s First Woman Governor

On October 1, 1712, William Penn (1644-1718) and his second wife Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671-1726) left their large country house at Ruscombe, near Reading, England, and made their way to Bristol, located along the south­west coast. Theirs was a bittersweet journey. Just four months earlier, Penn had convinced the Crown to purchase the proprietary rights to Pennsylvania, his beloved – and...
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Woo Hong Neok: A Chinese American Soldier in the Civil War

In the popular imagination, the American Civil War is an extraordinary drama portraying the denouement of the exceptionally serious struggle to preserve the Union and end the institution of slavery. In the unfolding drama the actors on the battlefield, as well as on the home fronts in both the North and the South alike, are nearly always white or black Americans with a smattering of Native...
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