Preserving Pieces of Pennsylvania’s Past: An Inside Look at the Building of the Commonwealth’s Collections

Associations between butterflies and buttons, Conestoga wagons and cannon, sculpture and arrowheads, or fossils and founder William Penn’s original Charter may seem tenuous, even obscure and, perhaps, nonsensical. But a relationship does exist: they are among the one and a half million objects and thirty thousand cubic feet of manuscripts, records, maps and photographs in the custody and...
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Those Beautiful Bodies of Yesteryear

On a balmy spring day in 1880, a seventeen-year-old youth from Ire­land’s County Galway arrived at Boston. An orphan with scant formal education, he had spent his meager savings for the transatlantic ship passage. He had neither friends nor close relatives in the United States. He did not even have the promise of a job. But Joseph J. Derham knew he would succeed. America was the golden...
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Charles Grafly: An Apostle of American Art

From the earliest days through most of the nineteenth century, sculpture in America was the enterprise of w1tutored artisans, craftsmen, stonecutters, and woodcarvers modestly plying their trade on furniture, gravestones, figureheads, and shop signs. Lacking opportunities for academic training at home, ambitious craftsmen flocked first to Rome and, following the Civil War, to Paris to learn the...
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Lost and Found

Lost Rivaling the fabled “cottages” of Newport, Rhode Island, Whitemarsh Hall, built between 1916 and 1921 in Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, for banker Edward T. Stotesbury, contained one hundred and forty-seven rooms. The estate, totaling more than three hundred acres, was jointly conceived by prominent Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer and French landscape designer Jacques...
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The Moon Men of Agriculture

On November 7, 1849, a brief notice appeared in the Germantown Telegraph notifying Philadelphia gentle­men that a club for farmers was about to be organized. Individuals interested in becoming members were informed where and when they could attend this organizational meeting. This single paragraph in a small, local newspaper seems hardly worthy of note, except that this group, the Farmers’...
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Into the Woodlands

Rarely does his name enjoy prominence in horticultural history, but William Hamilton (1745-1813), owner of The Woodlands, a picturesque eighteenth-century countryseat on the banks of the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia, made sev­eral significant contributions that forever changed the landscape of North America. An avid plant collector he filled his English-style garden with as many new...
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