Humphry Marshall, Father of American Dendrology

Humphry Marshall (1722-1801) has been called the Father of American Dendrology, the study of wooded plants. In 1785 he authored Arbustum Americanum, a catalog of American trees and shrubs following the Linnaean system of plant classification, the first publication of its kind. A stonemason by trade, Marshall took an early interest in botany. His cousin John Bartram (1699-1777), who had created a...
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The Lady in Charge

In its heyday, Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre seated approximately 2,000 patrons for each performance who came to see the renowned thespians of the 19th century. Popular performers – Fanny Davenport, Joseph Jefferson and Charlotte Cushman – played “The Arch” at 819 Arch Street. Even actor John Wilkes Booth took his turn there as Macbeth two years before he...
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“Prepare Thyself … to Meet the Lord Thy God!”: Religion in Pennsylvania During the Revolution

Religion in the colony of Pennsylvania was distinctive. In contrast to most areas of the western world, this province practiced freedom of religion. It never had an established church. Friends who controlled the first legislative assembly, meeting in Upland, now Chester, in 1682, specified that no one was “at any time [to] be com­pelled to frequent or Maintain anie religious worship, place...
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John Dickinson, Reluctant Revolutionist

Students of American history will recognize John Dickinson as the Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress who had the temerity to speak against separation from Great Britain and the obstinacy to refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence. Paradoxically, Dickinson had been an early leader of the patriot cause in Pennsylvania, author of the “Farmers’ Letters”...
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A Pennsylvania Yankee in King George’s Court

They were an odd pair. One was a commoner, a native Pennsylva­nian and son of an innkeeper on a busy road between Chester and Philadel­phia; the other, a king who could trace his royal ancestry through several centuries. In spite of their disparate back­grounds and the tumultuous period during which their countries were pitted against each other, the American colon­ist and the monarch of Great...
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British Images of War at Brandywine and the Tredyffrin Encampment

Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, on fateful September 11, 1777, one of the largest and most important engagements of the American Revolution took place in southeastern Pennsylvania. It was the Battle of Brandywine, a crushing defeat for the American side. Although British and Hessian engineers delineated several maps of the battle immediately afterwards, until recently no contemporary...
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Library of the Founding Fathers

Three centuries after the birth of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the world continues to be amazed by his overwhelming contributions, from the proprietary period in the early years of Pennsylvania through the birth of the United States of America. Of his many accomplishments, Franklin’s love of the printed word seems most obvious. In 1731, he and several friends founded the first...
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