William Wagner Portrait by Thomas Sully

In 1836, eminent Ameri­can artist Thomas Sully (1783-1872) painted a por­trait of William Wagner (1796-1885), Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist, which had, until last year, remained in private hands. More than a century after its creation, the likeness has virtually returned “home” to the Wagner Free Institute of Science, founded by Wagn­er and his wife Louisa Bin­ney...
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Edwin Austin Abbey, A Capital Artist

For those familiar with his majestic works of art – particularly his grand public murals – it seems improbable that Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had little formal training. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for just one semester, where fellow students observed he rarely finished a drawing as assigned, preferring instead to produce sketches of his own design. Abbey was the...
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African Americans and Civil Rights in Pennsylvania

Summer and swimming go hand in hand – or so thought the Creative Steps Day Care Camp. The camp’s leaders had signed a contract to use the pool at a private swim club, but when the children – 46 African Americans and ten Hispanics ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade – arrived for their summer swim, they were subjected to harsh criticism by some club members....
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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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