Delivery, Ritual and Discretion: Discovering the Past in an Early Pennsylvania Midwife’s Register

Hoofbeats on the dirt path announced the arrival of the midwife, who traveled on horseback from her home at Lower Salford in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County to attend a birth at the residence of the Haag family in nearby Franconia Township on August 1, 1770. Johannes Haag was the first delivery attended by Rosina (Krauss) Heydrich (1737–1828) when she began her Hebamme Büchlein, or midwife’s...
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“The Not So Good Old Days”: Disease and the Struggle for Public Health in Pennsylvania

In 1930 A. J. Bohl was proud to work in the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). After 25 years there, he wrote an article in Pennsylvania’s Health in which he recalled growing up in the 1880s, when disease and illness ravaged the state. “There wasn’t much attention paid to the communicable diseases. Everybody, as a matter of course, had measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps, and...
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The Formidable Chews of Cliveden Preserve a National Landmark

Fifty years ago on October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the federal government’s first official and all-encompassing policy designed to preserve and protect the nation’s irreplaceable historic, cultural, architectural and archaeological sites. The act spurred citizens throughout the country to actively embrace historic...
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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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Plagued! Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

On August 5, 1793, Dr. Benjamin Rush was summoned to the waterfront residence of fellow physician Hugh Hodge, whose daughter had recently taken ill. For days Rush had been treating Philadelphians for a serious outbreak of influenza and had assumed that this was yet another case. But when he found the small girl on her deathbed, gasping for breath and vomiting black bile, Rush instinctively knew...
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Shorts

Opening Saturday, October 30 [1993], at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an exhibi­tion of one hundred and twenty-five old master drawings selected from both public and private collections in the United States and Europe, many of which have never before been exhibited in this country. Entitled “Visions of Antiquity: Neoclassical Figure Drawings,” the exhibition features works by a...
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The Fairmount Water Works: “One of the Very Prettiest Spots the Eye Can Look Upon”

Error and the human condition, being bound tightly together, generally keep a sullen kind of company. Yet as unpromising as that pair might seem, their offspring sometimes attain startling beauty. Certainly the grace and charm of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Water Works, on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, derive both from the human condition and the fitful attempts to improve it....
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Wyck: Witness to a Way of Life

Relatively few in Great Britain might think much about a house occupied by one family for nine generations, yet for many in the United States several generations seems an eternity. Wyck, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, is a rare example; it is a residence inhabited continuously by a single family for nearly three centuries, from 1689 until 1973. Moreover, it’s furnished with...
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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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