Wrench in the Machine: The Shapp Gubernatorial Campaign’s Media Blitz of 1966

Pennsylvania and machine politics were synonymous for years, even into the 1960s when reformers and direct primaries thwarted old-style machine politics in other states. Political machines with their control over patronage and nominations had dominated Pennsylvania’s politics since the Civil War, but even the direct primary failed to usher in a new, more open system. That changed suddenly when...
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Modernizing Center City: Philadelphia’s Penn Center

Modernism came to Philadelphia in September 1947. It had been creeping up on the city for some time, but that’s when the citizenry who for decades had come to expect little from the machine that controlled city politics came to see how a modern Philadelphia could look. It was a 10-part vision of Modernism presented by the City Planning Commission’s Better Philadelphia Exhibition that was...
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The Difference This Day Makes

On February 1 of this past year, a day of crisp blue skies and mild chill, voices swelled above the Liberty Bell as they have every first day of February for the last fifty-five years. With prayer and in song – and in remembrance, determination, and hope – African Americans in Philadelphia celebrated National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment to...
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“To Do Good and Love Mercy”: A Conversation with C. Delores Tucker

C. Delores Tucker was only a young girl when, because of her color, she was refused seating at a lunch counter in Detroit. The incident marked the beginning of a life devoted to advancing the cause of minority groups in this country. Born in Philadel­phia in 1927, the daughter of the Reverend Whitfield and Captilda (Gardiner) Nottage, she had lived her childhood in a multi­cultural environment...
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Slaying the Republican Giant: John B. Kelly and the Rise of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party

Philadelphia’s mayoral election of 1935 promised to be a contest of epic proportions. For nearly three-quarters of a century, since the end of the Civil War, Republicans had virtually controlled nearly every phase of city government. Their success had rested on their historical legacy as “the Party of Lincoln, the Great Emancipator.” By the early 1930s, however, Philadelphians...
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Born a Leader for Pennsylvania

The essence of life is unconditional, non-judgmental love,” explains George Michael Leader when asked to sum-up his philosophy. He writes poetry, models and advocates wellness, leads community humanitarian projects, reads extensively, and oversees a family corpora­tion he founded that includes nursing facili­ties and retirement communities. In his ninth decade he is, as he has always been,...
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An Impressive Legacy: A Half-Century of Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania, 1955-2005

A quarter-century ago, James Biddle (1929-2005), president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, from 1968 to 1980, was named chairman of Pennsylvania’s first State Historic Preservation Board. Jimmy, as the scion of one of the Commonwealth’s most notable families was known – especially to fellow preservationists, many of them working at the grassroots level –...
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Remembering Place: Black National Historic Landmarks in Pennsylvania

The National Historic Landmarks (NHL) program was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and refined by amendments to it in 1980. The federal law requires the U.S. Department of the Interior to certify the historic authenticity of NHLs based on strident criteria, including association with events, people, and great ideas; distinguishing characteristics in architectural or...
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