Tagged history

It's All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating Itself Again

History is endlessly fascinating to me; twentieth-century history in particular is full of triumphs and dark chapters. Sometimes it takes some distance to get perspective on events of the day and to notice patterns in…

Fly Me to the Moon: Apollo 11 at 50

Fifty years ago today, Neil Armstrong , Buzz Aldrin , and Michael Collins first set off into space to explore the surface of the Moon. Their mission, Apollo 11 , was the culmination of decades of determined research and experimentation…

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Happy Bastille Day!

Coming down from your Fourth of July celebrations, but not quite ready to put away your red, white, and blue clothes (or fireworks)? You’re in luck! July 14 is Bastille Day —the tri-colored national fête of France. On…

Conversations in Color: The Coretta Scott King Awards Celebrate 50 Years of Excellence

Parkway Central Library Senior Services will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards for excellence in African American children’s literature with a five-part discussion series called Conversations In…

The Mystery of Missing Persons

Many things go missing – overdue books, keys, socks in the dryer – but none of those can compare with the gravity of when a person simply disappears. Approximately 90,000 people are missing at this very moment in the United…

Book Donation to Recognize and Celebrate Polish Literature

The Free Library was fortunate to recently receive a donation of books by Polish authors that were translated into English, along with books in Polish for both adults and children. The books were donated by the Polish Book Institute , a…

The Secret Cinema Presents: Philadelphia: The Changing City

It's no secret... the Free Library is thrilled to partner with Philadelphia's beloved film screening series, The Secret Cinema , now in its 27th year. In celebration of our current exhibition Philadelphia: The Changing City…

Immersive Multimedia Experience Breathes New Life into the Frankenstein Mythos

Even if you’ve never read Mary Shelley ’s groundbreaking novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus , you’ve certainly heard of the stiched-together monster the teenage mother invented during a drizzly 1816 summer…

Masterpieces of Silent Film at the Free Library

On a cold winter day 125 years ago, only two hours from here in West Orange, New Jersey, Thomas Edison  completed construction on the Black Maria , (pronounced "muh-RYE-uh") the world’s first film…

An Island Retreat Off the Shores of Philadelphia

Long ago, Philadelphians had the opportunity to escape the congestion of the city by ferrying to two islands in the middle of the Delaware River, across from what is now Penn’s Landing. These islands were known as Smith’s…

Philadelphia - The Cycling City | Part 1: Paving the Way

The current exhibition in the Rare Book Department ’s Dietrich Gallery, entitled Philadelphia - The Changing City , offers a look at centuries’ worth of local transformations illustrated with materials mostly sourced from…

Survivors and Casualties: Domestic Housing in Philadelphia During the 18th and 19th Centuries

Domestic working and middle-class housing in Philadelphia will probably bring up images of row homes in the minds of most people. There are some notable exceptions however like The Letitia Penn house , which started out as a mid-sized,…

The Poets of WW1

As long as there has been war, there’s been writing about war, whether in poetry or prose, exploring not only its glory and valor but its brutality and cost. "The Great War" — what we now call World War I—as…

Take History in the Palm of Your Hand with this New Series from the Free Library's Special Collections

The late and great Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell once sang, "Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby." These words hold true for how to best experience our material culture. People who have visited the Rare Book…

Celebrating the Trivia Nerd in All of Us

I have a confession to make—I am that friend who always wants to get a trivia team together on a Tuesday night. I’m also that kid who read Trivial Pursuit cards for fun to see if I could guess the answers. And I ask Santa…

At These Crossroads: The Legacies of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois Exhibition

Born in 1868, just shortly after the Union’s triumph in the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, William Edward Burghardt (W. E. B.) Du Bois died in 1963, just one year before Congress passed the Civil…

Free Tours of Philadelphia: The Changing City Exhibition

Come and learn about Philadelphia's exciting, dynamic, and often forgotten history with a free guided tour of the  Philadelphia: The Changing City exhibition. The tour will be led by an exhibition curator in the Dietrich…

Loving the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the Start of its 101st Year

Philadelphia’s miracle-mile of beauty, learning, inspiration, uplift, pleasure, and play is now 101 years young! The Parkway 100 celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway drew to its official close with the Parkway…

First Ladies, In Their Own Words

The position of First Lady is a unique one in American government. It’s not a democratically elected position, but the office holds a great deal of cultural clout, and the women who occupied it have been deemed significant enough…

Philadelphia: The Changing City - An Exhibition from Special Collections

October 10 marks the opening of an exhibition that analyzes Philadelphia's growth across more than three centuries, presenting more than 80 rare and revelatory prints, photographs, documents, and maps from the Free…

Elaine Sciolino | The Seine: The River That Made Paris

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. A former Paris bureau chief and contributing writer for the New York Times , Elaine Sciolino is acclaimed for her “deliciously detailed and smart” ( Vogue ) chronicles of…

Rashid Khalidi | The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917 – 2017

The Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and editor of the  Journal of Palestine Studies , Rashid Khalidi is one of the world’s leading historians of the Middle East. Among his many books are…

Deirdre Bair | Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Deirdre Bair won the National Book Award for her “blockbuster biography” of Samuel Beckett, “the best introduction to an enigmatic giant of 20th-century literature”…

Jeanine Basinger | The Movie Musical!

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. In conversation with Carrie Rickey, former film critic for the Inquirer Mentor to some of contemporary cinema’s top directors (Joss Whedon and Michael Bay) and founder of the…

Susan Orlean | The Library Book

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. A staff writer for the New Yorker  since 1992, Susan Orlean won wide acclaim for the 1998  New York Times bestseller The Orchid Thief , the story of a renegade Florida swamp…

Saeed Jones | How We Fight for Our Lives with Clifford Thompson | What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues

Saeed Jones is the author of the “hard and glaring and brilliant” ( NPR Book Review ) poetry collection Prelude to Bruise , winner of the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. He is also the co-host of…

Michael Beschloss | Presidents of War

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. A “deft researcher and a first-rate storyteller” ( Washington Post ), Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books on the American presidency, including two volumes on Lyndon…

Erica Armstrong Dunbar | She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the author of the National Book Award finalist Never Caught, the story of Ona Judge, a young enslaved person who risked her life to escape servitude under President George Washington. Named the National…

Paul Hendrickson | Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright

Paul Hendrickson’s books include Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934–1961 , a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Sons of Mississippi , winner of the National Book Critics Circle…

Mob Scene at The Palmetto Flag, A Secessionist Newspaper Philadelphia, April 1861

In 1861 there were many in Philadelphia who wanted to secede from the Union and The Palmetto Flag was a local newspaper that supported that view. When opinions changed and became more pro-union and militant, a protest at The Palmetto…

Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton | Atlas Obscura | 2nd Edition: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. The bestselling Atlas Obscura garnered popular acclaim in 2016 as a joyous plunge into some of Earth’s weirdest and most mysterious places. Replete with rigorous research, lavish…

William Penn's 375th Birthday

Come and enjoy an inspiring and interactive slide presentation on William Penn's life, contributions and legacy.   William Penn, a non-violent Quaker revolutionary, founded Pennsylvania in 1682 without firing a single shot…

Battle of the Bulge Lecture

Historian Bobby Edoo will talk about the strategies, tactics, order of battle, timeline and weapons of the Allies and Germans. Free. No registration required.

Bridges on the River Kwai Lecture

One of 600 bridges built along the 258 mile “death railway” constructed using more than 61,000 Allied prisoners of war and approximately 250,000 Asian forced laborers. This presentation will cover the real stories of their…

Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Water Dancer

Tickets on sale September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. In conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David Blight, author of Frederick Douglas: Prophet of Freedom Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for  Between the…

Speaker Event: William Penn's Philadelphia

The East Falls Historical Society have invited Jim Murphy, a certified tour guide and author of over fifty articles on historical sites, to speak with us.  Mr. Murphy will be discussing William Penn's success in how he turned a…

Author Talk: Elaine Terranova and Thomas Devaney: A Conversation in Poetry

A Conversation in Poetry with Elaine Terranova and Thomas Devaney. Elaine Terranova has published seven collections of poetry, most recently, Perdido (2018).  Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review,…

Home on Our Back: A Laureate’s Reading on the Poetics of Diaspora

Join us for a bi-city poetry collaboration between Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and Philadelphia Poet Laureate Raquel Salas Rivera , which explores how migrations have shaped both East Coast cities. From North to South, from…

Northeast Philadelphia History

Learn about Northeast Philadelphia historical landmarks from the 18th and 19th Centuries.   Presented by Fred Moore Local Historian   Free. No registration required.

Monday Evening Movies: "It was 50 years ago today..."

Adults and teens can view a movie about a Summer of '69 event from a different perspective.  Stop in and see what we'll be showing this evening.  Of course we'll have popcorn

Freedom Train - Adults

Supplemental adult reading suggestions for the Rosenbach's Freedom Train exhibition, running July 1st, 2016 through November 1st, 2016.

Freedom Train - Teens

Supplemental teen reading suggestions for the Rosenbach's Freedom Train exhibition, running July 1st, 2016 through November 1st, 2016.

Freedom Train - Children

Supplemental children's reading suggestions for the Rosenbach's Freedom Train exhibition, running July 1st, 2016 through November 1st, 2016.

Presidents of the United States

Under the United States Constitution, the President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States. As chief of the executive branch and face of the federal government as a whole, the presidency is…

Asians American History, Cultural Traditions, and Celebrations

History of different Asian ethnic groups in America and background on Asian cultural traditions and holidays.

U.S. Elections and Politics

The United States midterm general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. In Pennsylvania, the ballot includes candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania State Senate,…

U.S. History In Context

Covers themes, events, individuals and periods in U.S. history from pre-colonial times to the present. The material also includes access to the citations for over 180 additional history journals from the Institute for Scientific…

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980)

The bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives constitutes a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. Upon…

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, and Law

This HeinOnline collection brings together a multitude of essential legal materials on slavery in the U.S. and the English-speaking world. It includes nearly 2,000 titles, with every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery,…

Research in Context *

Discover reliable and trusted information on a variety of topics to support middle school student research for government, U.S and world history, geography, literature, sciences, and social issues. Research In Context offers…

Philadelphia Evening Telegraph

Philadelphia Evening Telegraph was a daily afternoon newspaper started on January 4, 1864. Search, browse, and read it online here.

InfoTrac Student Edition *

High school students will have access to age-appropriate content from magazines, journals, newspapers, reference books, and engaging multi-media covering a wide range of subjects, from science, history, and literature to political…

Gun Regulation and Legislation in America

This new HeinOnline collection brings together more than 550 titles dealing with this difficult and important topic. Included are periodicals, key compiled federal legislative histories, relevant congressional hearings, CRS Reports,…

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)

Covering every aspect of American life during the early decades of the United States, this rich primary source collection provides full-text access to the 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen…

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans (1639-1800)

Based on the renowned American Bibliography by Charles Evans. The definitive resource for every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music,…

Archive of Americana

Search or browse the books, pamphlets, and other imprints listed in the renowned bibliography by Charles Evans, including publications unavailable earlier. Search or browse the books, pamphlets, broadsides and other imprints listed in…

America's Historical Newspapers (formerly Early American Newspapers, Series I 1690-1876)

America's Historical Newspapers features cover-to-cover reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. For students and scholars of early America, this…

America's Historical Imprints

Explore the nation’s past in unprecedented ways. Includes books, pamphlets, broadsides and other scarce printed material, centuries of American history, literature, culture, and daily life, and extensive indexing and full bibliographic…

American State Papers, 1789-1838

A rich source of primary material on many aspects of early American history, American State Papers, 1789-1838, features not only new bibliographic records for every one of its 6,354 publications, but also superior images created by…

American Broadsides and Ephemera

The American Antiquarian Society's collection of single-sheet documents printed before 1877 is perhaps the most extensive in existence. It consists of broadsides, advertisements, invitations and notices, leaflets, trade cards (i.e., the…

Terry McAuliffe | Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism

In conversation with award-winning journalist, Tracey Matisak. The Democratic governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, Terry McAuliffe “won praise even from Republicans for his tireless salesmanship” ( Washington Post ) of the Old…

Julie Salamon | An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer

Exploring an astonishing range of genres and subject matter, Julie Salamon is the author of a score of novels, children’s books, and nonfiction books. Initially a longtime banking reporter and film critic for the Wall Street Journal ,…

Mary Pope Osborne | Magic Tree House: To the Future, Ben Franklin! with Natalie Pope Boyce

Mary Pope Osborne is the prolific author of the beloved Magic Tree House series of children’s books. Featuring time-traveling brother and sister Jack and Annie, the wildly popular books have been translated into nearly three dozen…

Jason Baumann | The Stonewall Reader with Mark Segal, Karla Jay and Joel Hall

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the riots that started the fight for American LGBTQ+ rights, The Stonewall Reader highlights some of the movement’s most iconic moments and figures in the years before and after those tumultuous…

Frank Langfitt | The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China

In conversation with Bill Marimow As NPR's Correspondent in Shanghai, Frank Langfitt created a free-taxi service where he offered rides in exchange for passenger's stories and candid conversation. He met a motley crew of characters…

Jacob Shell | Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants

In conversation with Nikil Saval, an editor of n+1 and author of Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace A professor of geography and urban studies at Temple University, Jacob Shell is the author of Transportation and Revolt: Pigeons,…

James Ellroy | This Storm

In his bestselling L.A. Quartet mysteries and the Underworld USA trilogy, James Ellroy “has vigorously redefined the well-shadowed turf of contemporary crime fiction” ( Atlanta Journal Constitution ). He is also the author of the Lloyd…

Rick Atkinson | The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775–1777

Rick Atkinson won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for  An Army at Dawn , the first volume in his Liberation trilogy, a “densely researched but supremely readable” ( New York Times Book Review ) history of the Allied victory in World War II. His…

Adam Gopnik | A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism

A staff writer at The New Yorker for more than three decades, Adam Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon , The Table Comes First , and At the Strangers’ Gate , an “elegant” memoir of his 1980s move to a peculiar New York that…

George Packer | Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

George Packer won the 2013 National Book Award for The Unwinding , a biographical examination of the seismic shifts in economics and politics over the past three decades that have brought the United States to the brink. A longtime New…

Melinda Gates | The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World
In conversation with John Green

Ranked by  Forbes  as the third most powerful woman in the world, Melinda Gates has been on a 20-year mission to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Through her work as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—the…

Robert A. Caro | Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing

In conversation with Dick Polman , "Writer in Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania, national political columnist at WHYY News and contributor to The Atlantic Standing at “the summit of American historical writing” ( Washington…

Michael Dobbs | The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between

A longtime foreign correspondent for The Washington Post , Michael Dobbs reported on some of the most important events of our time. His many books include Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire , Saboteurs: The Nazi Raid…

Valerie Jarrett | Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition “The ultimate Obama insider” ( New York Times ), Valerie Jarrett was the longest serving advisor in the 44th President’s administration. Born in Iran and…

Cecile Richards | Make Trouble: Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead—My Life Story

In conversation with Tamala Edwards , anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition A “heroine of the resistance” ( Vogue ), Cecile Richards was the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund…

Nathan Englander | Kaddish.com with Thomas Mallon | Landfall

Nathan Englander is the author of the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank , a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story…

Albert Woodfox | Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope

In conversation with award-winning journalist Tracey Matisak. Falsely accused and convicted of a 1972 robbery in which a white guard was killed, Albert Woodfox served more than four decades in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s…

Carolyn Forché | What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance

In conversation with Beth Kephart, the award-winning author of twenty-four books, including Going Over , Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir , and Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River . “An unflinching…

David Treuer | The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

An Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and an unromantic chronicler of Native American culture and literature, David Treuer is the author of the novels Prudence , Little , The Hiawatha , and The Translation of…

Brittney Cooper | Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower with Rebecca Traister | Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

In converation with Rebecca Traister , author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger Examining the intersections of race, gender, and politics in a popular monthly Cosmo column, Brittney Cooper is also a professor of…