Wilson Eyre: The Philadelphia Domestic Ideal

At the turn of the twentieth century, Wilson Eyre was at the height of his architectural powers. For sixteen years he had had a successful practice in Philadelphia, one of America’s major architectural centers. The United States bad become a world power, with money to give con­crete evidence of this in the buildings of her great cities, and Philadelphia’s blend of conservative...
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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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Mystery of the Monongahela Culture: Archaeology at Foley Farm

In 1939, anthropologist Mary Butler identified and formally named the Monongahela Woodland Culture, a prehistoric Indian way of life centered in the Monongahela Valley of south­western Pennsylvania, west­ern Maryland and parts of northern West Virginia. Dr. Butler’s reasons for naming this prehistoric Indian culture were, in part, based on ar­chaeological investigations sponsored by the...
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Montgomery County: Cultural Microcosm of the Commonwealth

The third most populous county in Pennsylvania, with ap­proximately 480 square miles of rolling hills criss-crossed by rivers, streams and superhighways, Montgom­ery County is a microcosm of the Com­monwealth, a reflection of its cultural development. Pan of Philadelphia County until 1784, Montgomery Coun­ty served as a sanctuary for numerous ethnic and religious groups seeking the freedom...
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Stewart Culin, “Museum Magician”

A temple had given up its treasure – ornately carved columns infused with supernatural beliefs – to the man with an imposing air and an eye for danger. He tells the tale: “Then we found ourselves with the column in the moonlight. We knew we must get it away without loss of time. The snoring continued, and the dogs were quiet, but at any moment they might raise an alarm. I...
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Celebrating a Century and a Half: The Geologic Survey

The Pennsylvania Geo­logical Survey, offi­cially known today as the Bureau of Topo­graphic and Geologic Survey, and one of the bureaus of the Department of Environmental Resources, is one of only a very few of the Common­wealth’s executive branch agencies whose history can be traced to the first half of the nineteenth century. Created in 1836, the survey spawned three subsequent geologic...
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Ben Austrian: The Chick Painter of Reading

His name isn’t exactly a household word. But chances are his century old creation – a plump little chick sporting a fancy French name – has been seen by countless homemakers in Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the world. Revered in Reading, Berks County, and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania as “the chick painter,” Ben Aus­trian depicted a chick for Bon Ami...
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George H. Danner: The Retailer and His Relic Rooms

In the early 1930s Milton S. Hershey established an Indian Museum in the town which he had built around his chocolate factory. Like the town’s amusement park, ornate theater and fa­mous Starlight Ballroom, the museum was provided as a source of enjoyment and recre­ation for Hershey’s workers and their families. In 1935, in a move which broadened the focus of the original Indian...
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The College of Physicians of Philadelphia: “Not for Oneself, But for All”

The celebration com­menced with the ar­rival of out-of-town guests on Sunday evening, January 2, 1887. For the next two days, the fellows of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, led by their president, S. Weir Mitchell, celebrated the centennial anni­versary of their beloved insti­tution. Although the weather was bitterly cold, the gala receptions, lavish dinners, congratulatory addresses...
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The Man Who Bought Alice in Wonderland

On April 3, 1928, a slightly tipsy world, still reeling through the heady Twen­ties, focused its attention on Sotheby’s in London, where one of history’s most famous and beloved of all books was about to be auctioned. Through Sotheby’s dark pas­sages, an excited throng tum­bled into the large auction gallery to see who would offer the winning bid for Lewis Carroll’s...
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