Tagged history

Looking Beyond the Headlines: What You Should Know About Russia, North Korea, and Turkey

Relatively few Americans have ever visited or know much about Russia, North Korea, and Turkey. Yet, each passing day seems to bring additional evidence that these nations are working to thwart U.S. foreign policy goals from Eastern…

Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer with the Free Library!

It’s getting hot out there, huh? As we all try our best to deal with the rising temperatures, don’t forget that the Free Library of Philadelphia is a great place to cool off during these dog days of summer. From books and…

Monthly Military History Club Discusses Major Personalities and Battles of World War II

For the members of our Military History Club, each monthly meeting leads to a passionate and well-informed discussion about the major personalities and battles of World War II. The group is led by John Hemphill, a staff member of…

A History Minute: The Fortunes of Philadelphia - The Engineers

By 1800, Philadelphia was not only the Cradle of Liberty but the center of American manufacturing and innovation. It was the kind of place a young man of vision who was not afraid to get his hands dirty could come and make his fortune.…

A History Minute: The Fortunes of Philadelphia - The Trolley Kings

Mid-19th century Philadelphia was booming. Its factories produced iron and steel, locomotives and textiles, and finished goods of all kinds. Immigrants and citizens alike flowed into the city to fill new jobs. The 1854 Act of…

A History Minute: The "Philadelphia Apocalypse" a.k.a. Yellow Fever

Church bells ring incessantly throughout deserted streets. Homes are abandoned and those that are not are barricaded against strangers and friends alike. Formerly bustling markets stand empty except for a handful of vendors who put…

The Richest Man in America

In the spring of 1776 , the British began a blockade of American ports, throwing coastal shipping into disarray and sending many captains back to the more secure European routes. But a young French captain, Stephan Girard, saw an…

#MysteryMonday: The History of Mystery: A By-No-Means-Exhaustive Timeline

The Free Library is exploring the history and art of the mystery with We the Detectives , a unique, multifaceted, and immersive intellectual and creative experience. Here we track the growth of this fan-favorite genre—now one of…

A History Minute: Philadelphia's Medical Mystery

Philadelphia was the place to be in July of 1976. Even Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain came to present the Bicentennial Bell , cast in the same foundry as our Liberty Bell. The 4,000+ members of the Pennsylvania chapter of the…

Librarian Traces Family Roots Through Historic Bible

The Rare Book Department 's Judaica includes a beautifully written and lavishly hand-decorated Spanish Hebrew Masoretic Text bible . Commissioned in 1496 in Lisbon, Portugal, the book is well-known among contemporary Hebrew bible…

Literary Scenes from New Orleans

New Orleans is always on my mind at this time of year. Mardi Gras is more than just Fat Tuesday in the Big Easy, and the celebrations extend far beyond Bourbon Street: parades take place all over the city for several weeks,…

African American Philanthropists in Early Philadelphia

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and other tech billionaire/philanthropists may have set new standards in giving, but philanthropy is an old Philadelphia tradition with two of our earliest millionaire/philanthropists being African…

Abraham Lincoln: Fashion Trendsetter or Patent Pioneer?

So, what’s the story with Abraham Lincoln wearing a leather biker jacket? If you’ve ever entered or exited Parkway Central Library through the back door on Wood Street, you might have seen the picture in question. It gets…

Presidential Inaugural Stories and Anecdotes

The peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next is a hallmark of our democracy—and something that Americans take great pride in. The occasion is particularly bittersweet when one of our two major…

Philadelphia: City of the Uncanny and the Arcane

Philadelphia is a wild and weird city. There’s so much to love, to hate, to love to hate, and to hate to love. There’s also so much that we, as every day Philadelphians, have somehow forgotten or never learned about our…

The Real Game of Thrones - Historical Events that Inspired the Novels and Show

Are you a fan of HBO’s television series Game of Thrones ? The sixth season  of the series based on George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire ended in June, and has proven to be as exciting as the…

Grab a Cup of Tea and Learn About the Queen

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the British Royal Family (remember my excitement about the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton back in 2011?). Perhaps it’s because of the uniqueness of a royal…

How Well Do You Know Native American Authors Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich?

It’s National Native American Heritage Month and the Free Library of Philadelphia is celebrating by reading books by authors who write about their Native heritage. We’re especially enjoying works by Sherman Alexie and Louise…

Talking about September 11 with Children

The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is a time for reflection, but it’s also a time for conversation. The generation of children that can remember the attack is now having children of their own. How do…

William Rapp Collection of Historical Images of Philadelphia

The Print and Picture Collection is happy to announce the addition of over 100 photographic images by William Rapp to our  Historical Images of Philadelphia  digital collection. Born in 1920, William Henry Rapp, Jr.…

Jed Perl | Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898-1940

Buy tickets here on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10 AM! “Few people write about art as beautifully” ( Wall Street Journal ) as Jed Perl, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and the former 20-year art critic for…

Russell Shorto | Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom

Russell Shorto is the author of the bestselling The Island at the Center of World , “a masterpiece of storytelling and first-rate intellectual history” ( Wall Street Journal ) of the forgotten and mythologized Dutch colony…

Gordon S. Wood | Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Buy tickets here on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10 AM! Acclaimed for synthesizing historical insight with wit and exuberance, Gordon S. Wood won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for The Radicalism of the…

Dan Rather | What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

Buy tickets here on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10 AM! Auditorium ticket includes a book. Couple ticket includes one book and admission for two people. In conversation with longtime broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak One of the most…

Chris Matthews | Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit

The host of MSNBC’s popular news and commentary program Hardball , Chris Matthews is one of America’s most familiar media faces. A former longtime syndicated print media columnist, staffer for several Democratic members of…

The Early Days at the Parkway Central Library

This exhibit commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Parkway Central Library. The display features photographs of the Business Resource and Innovation Center and the Education, Philosophy and Religion Department around the time…

Simon Schama | The Story of the Jews Volume Two: Belonging: 1492-1900

Buy tickets here on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10 AM! In conversation with Carlin Romano , Critic-at-Large,The Chronicle of Higher Education  Lauded historian Simon Schama is the author of The Embarrassment of Riches; Scribble,…

Civil Rights Work—from Little Rock to Prince Edward County—and the American Friends Service Committee

Author Gregory Barnes will read from his book A Centennial History of the American Friends Service Committee and sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase. Philadelphia's own American Friends Service Committee is…

William Taubman | Gorbachev with Yuri Slezkine | House of Government

William Taubman won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era , a portrait of the Soviet leader “unlikely to be surpassed any time soon in either richness or…

Urban Agriculture Open House

You’re invited to the Second Annual Urban Agriculture Open House, co-presented by the Food Policy Advisory Council and the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. This fall the City of Philadelphia is gearing up to develop…

Julius Caesar: A Live Radio Play

Experience the Bard like you never have before. Revolution Shakespeare and the Hear Again Radio Project team up for an innovative production of an ancient political drama in Shakespeare Park. With a script by Orson Welles, a cast of…

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 presidential election of 2016, scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016, will be the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election. Read on for U.S. Election and Political resources relating to the upcoming Presidential…

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…

Salem Press Reference

Philadelphia Evening Telegraph

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

Early American Newspapers, Series I (1690-1876)

Early American 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 unique…

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…

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…

Lawrence Wright | The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State

In conversation with Dick Polman, "Writer in Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania, and national political columnist at WHYY's Newsworks.org A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker , Lawrence Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for…

Mark Bowden | Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam

In conversation with Bill Marimow, editor at large, The Philadelphia Inquirer “One of the most intense, visceral” ( Philadelphia Inquirer ) writers of our time, Mark Bowden is a national correspondent for  The Atlantic and Vanity Fair…

David Baron | American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

As NPR’s science correspondent, David Baron received awards from the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many other organizations. He is the…

Thomas E. Ricks | Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom

Military historian and journalist Thomas E. Ricks won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his Wall Street Journal series on U.S. defense spending in the post-Cold War era. His books include The Generals, The Gamble , and the…

William Hogeland | Autumn of the Black Snake: The Creation of the U.S. Army and the Invasion That Opened the West

Blending dramatic historical narrative with critical interpretation in order to make surprising connections to contemporary political and cultural struggles, William Hogeland's three books on founding American history include The…

China Miéville | October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

In conversation with Joel Nichols, Data Strategy & Evaluation Administrator, Strategic Initiatives Acclaimed for his “unparalleled inventiveness” ( Chicago Tribune ), China Miéville is the author of a score of fantasy novels, comics,…

Amy Goodman | Democracy Now!: Covering the Movements Changing America

After more than 20 years of bringing attention to progressive issues underreported by the mainstream media, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! program now airs simultaneously on satellite and cable television, more than 1,400 radio stations…

Richard Ford | Between Them: Remembering My Parents

In conversation with Andy Kahan, Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams director of author events. “A talent as strong and varied as American fiction has to offer" ( The New York Review of Books ), Richard Ford won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize and…

David Grann | Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann is the no. 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z , the “brilliant…impressively researched and crafted” ( Los Angeles Times ) nonfiction tale of the deadly search for a fabled Amazonian civilization. His…

Anthony Doerr | All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for All the Light We Cannot See , “a beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel” ( Seattle Times ) about a blind French girl and a German boy navigating the carnage of World War II.…

Anne-Marie Slaughter | The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World

In conversation with Dick Polman, "Writer in Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania, and national political columnist at WHYY's Newsworks.org The President and CEO of the non-partisan public policy think tank New America,…

Erica Armstrong Dunbar | Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Named the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Erica Armstrong Dunbar is a professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She has contributed…

George Saunders | Lincoln in the Bardo*

Having garnered wide readership and critical praise for his surreal, darkly funny fiction, “it’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction” ( The Wall Street Journal…

Michael Eric Dyson | Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

In conversation with Dr. James Peterson, Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. MSNBC Contributor Possessed of “intellectual heft, critical thinking depth and finesse with words and…

Steven Johnson | Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Exploring the intersection of science, technology, and experience, Steven Johnson is the author of the bestselling Where Good Ideas Come From, Everything Bad Is Good for You , and How We Got to Now , which he adapted into a popular PBS…

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own with Veronica Chambers with Benilde Little, Alicia Moran and Damon Young

Iconic First Lady Michelle Obama has redefined American ideas about beauty, strength, and poise under often-harsh public scrutiny. In the “powerful” ( Vogue ) essay collection The Meaning of Michelle , some of the country’s most…

Bernie Sanders | Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In

In conversation with Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! Perhaps America’s greatest standard-bearer for progressivism, Bernie Sanders inspired hope and a fervent following with his 2016 Democratic Presidential campaign. Currently…

John Edgar Wideman | Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File

“One of America’s premier writers of fiction ( New York Times ), John Edgar Wideman was the first two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, for his novels  Sent for You Yesterday  and  Philadelphia Fire . His more than 20 other works…

The American Presidency | Foreign Press Panel | The Whole World Was Watching: Foreign Perspectives on the 2016 Election

A panel discussion on how the US election is portrayed to the world will reveal the views of foreign journalists and their post-election analyses. Chris Satullo, noted media figure, will moderate the conversation between Paul Koring of…

Candice Millard | Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchillwith Blanche Wiesen Cook | Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939–1962

Candice Millard’s bestselling The River of Doubt , the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s near-fatal exploration of the Amazon, was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times , the Washington Post , and the San Francisco…