Tagged history

Remember an Gorta Mór: the Great Famine

Now that the fog has lifted from St. Patrick’s Day, it occurs to us at the Free Library that the holiday is the moment where the fact of an Irish diaspora is felt most strongly in Philadelphia. However, as St. Patrick’s Day…

Philly Theatre Week and a Look at Philadelphia Theatre History

Philly Theatre Week , presented by Theatre Philadelphia, is a 10-day celeration of the artists, organizations, and audiences that have made Greater Philadelphia one of the most vibrant theatre regions in the nation. With over…

Local Athletes Competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics

We know all of Philly is still excited over the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win, but there is another monumental sporting event to also get fired up for that begins at the end of this week: the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang,…

#BlackHistoryMonth: Celebrating The Life Of Octavius Catto

Back in September, the city of Philadelphia unveiled the first new statue at City Hall since 1923 and the first of an African American on any city-owned public property – that of 19th-century civil rights activist, scholar,…

A History Minute: Neighborhood Beginnings - Fishtown

The Fish It all started with the fish. Like salmon, shad are born in fresh water, spend several years growing in the ocean, then return to their birthplace to spawn. The largest breeding ground for American shad was the Delaware…

Celebrate the City’s Beaux Arts Bonafides

The beloved Parkway Central Library, celebrating its 90th birthday this year, is a defining building in our city. It seems natural that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s flagship location would sit along the city’s…

A History Minute: The Fortunes of Philadelphia - The Kellys

Chances are you have driven, biked, run, walked, or partied on Kelly Drive, but have you ever wondered where it got its name? No, it’s not named for Grace Kelly , movie star and princess. It’s named for her brother, John B.…

Celebrating a Centennial: A Look Back on the History of the Parkway and the Parkway Central Library

Contributing Writers: Julie Berger, Gina Bixler, Christopher Brown, Karen Lightner, Donald Root, Laura Stroffolino  "Once constructed, it will remain a thing of beauty and a joy for all generations to come," declared the…

#OneBookWednesday: Another Brooklyn – Historical Backdrop

In Another Brooklyn , Jacqueline Woodson explores the complex coming-of-age story of the teenage August, while seamlessly weaving in the history of the late 1960s and 1970s. She shows how events impacted the growth of individuals living…

A History Minute: Neighborhood Beginnings - Moyamensing (aka Evergreen, Schuylkill, Graduate Hospital, South of South)

In the beginning Philadelphia was a river town. William’s Penn’s plan stretched from river to river, but the population clung to the shores of the Delaware and the docks and ships that provided much of its livelihood. Aside…

Friday the 13th

There are many things associated with Friday the 13th, including horror films, bad luck, phobias ( paraskevidekatriaphobia ). Historians believe that Friday the 13th comes from the number 13 being viewed as unlucky. But how did we get…

The Philadelphia Colored Directory of 1910 Recently Scanned and Available for Download in Our Digital Collections

The Philadelphia Colored Directory , a handbook of religious, social, political, professional, business activities of the Negroes of Philadelphia, was compiled by R. (Richard) R. (Robert) Wright, Jr.; assisted by Ernest Smith. This…

Following Octavius V. Catto’s Footsteps

It has been more than 150 years since Octavius Catto may have slipped on a sack overcoat that hung by his front door, pushed a well-worn felt pocket hat over his parted hair, stepped out into the fall chill, and walked a few blocks down…

Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

In the autumn of 2016, we were tasked with a fascinating challenge: create a bold and welcoming exhibition that would discuss the history of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On the surface, this isn’t that difficult. As curators in…

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…

11.11.18 – The Centennial of the End of World War I

November 11 marks the end of “the war to end all wars,” in which nine million combatants and seven million civilians died. This program will emphasize America’s involvement in the war and will examine in detail the…

11.11.18 – The Centennial of the End of World War I

November 11 marks the end of “the war to end all wars,” in which nine million combatants and seven million civilians died. This program will emphasize America’s involvement in the war and will examine in detail the…

Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby?

On March 1, 1932, the twenty-month old son of noted aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his home near Highlands, New Jersey. On May 12, his decaying body was discovered nearby. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the…

Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby?

On March 1, 1932, the twenty-month old son of noted aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his home near Highlands, New Jersey. On May 12, his decaying body was discovered nearby. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the…

Who Was Jack The Ripper?

It has been 130 years since the unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper struck in the impoverished Whitechapel district of London. This program will examine the five canonical murders attributed to “Saucy Jack”…

Who Was Jack The Ripper?

It has been 130 years since the unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper struck in the impoverished Whitechapel district of London. This program will examine the five canonical murders attributed to “Saucy Jack”…

In Our Nature: Flora and Fauna of the Americas

An Exhibition in the Rare Book Department's William B. Dietrich Gallery (3rd floor) April 9 - September 15, 2018 The ecology of the Western Hemisphere has been shaped by human intervention. Landscapes and wildlife have been helped,…

Jon Meacham | The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

Tickets on sale April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Couples Ticket A “tough-minded” but “nuanced and persuasive” ( The New York Times Book Review ) expert on history, politics, and religion in America, Jon Meacham won the…

The Astronaut’s Window: A Poetic and Musical Tribute to Black Scientists and Politicians

The Astronaut’s Window: A Poetic and Musical Tribute to Black Scientists and Politicians This season marks our third year celebrating the achievements of the African American community by presenting original musical works by Dr.…

Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy

The surprise strike on US military facilities at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941 marked America’s entry into World War II. In less than 90-minutes, 2,403 Americans were killed, including 68…

Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy

The surprise strike on US military facilities at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941 marked America’s entry into World War II. In less than 90-minutes, 2,403 Americans were killed, including 68…

Save money solarizing your house, and help save the planet!

On Tuesday, May 15 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) will give an enganging presentation on  Solarize Philly  and how this program is helping make solar affordable for all Philadelphians. The…

Author Talk: Rich Westcott

Baseball historian Rich Westcott will present and autograph his new book Biz Mackey, a Giant Behind the Plate, the first biography of arguably the greatest catcher in the Negro Leagues. Mackey, who spent a third of his career in…

A Voice for Peace, Concord and Harmony: XII International Poetry Festival in Philadelphia (Room 108)

A voice for peace, concord and harmony, the XII International Poetry Festival in Philadelphia will congregate poets from Latin America and USA in an evening of verse and music. Each poet will read one piece, and at the end of each…

Philadelphia's Centaur Book Shop and Press, 1921-1942: a talk by Lynne Farrington

"Up on my back and I will take you thither" Bookshops have long been a determining factor in the availability of texts. The early twentieth century saw the emergence of bookshops specializing in contemporary avant-garde…

Simon Winchester | The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

Celebrated by critics and readers alike for “interweaving history, fascinating trivia and acute observation” ( New York Times Book Review ), Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of the nonfiction books  The…

Red Hangover: Legacies of 20th Century Communism

In Red Hangover,   Kristen Ghodsee examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell. Ghodsee's essays and short stories reflect on the lived experience of postsocialism and how…

Mental Wellness Poetry Workshop and Performance by Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate, Husnaa Hashim

Youth Spoken Word at Queen Memorial Library (a Hatching Innovation funded program) is excited to invite Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate, Husnaa Hashim , to lead a guest poetry workshop and performance about poetry’s…

Author Talk: David Goodwin

Author David Goodwin will discuss his book LEFT BANK OF THE HUDSON: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street. A former tobacco-company warehouse turned artist colony in Jersey City, N.J., serves as a microcosm of American urban…

The Last Emperor of Mexico

Join the Fumo Family library for a live theater experience with Chris Davis as he presents his one man show, “The Last Emperor of Mexico." Maximilian I has recently been declared the Emperor of Mexico by Napoleon III, but his…

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…

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…