Tagged history

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…

Back to School, but Not Old School: Information and Primary Source Literacy

In a world of "fake news" and "alternate truths", the importance of critical thinking is more important than ever. Educators and librarians have replaced old-school teaching methods based on rote memorization and…

Conspiracy? Intrigue? Collusion? Read Some Russian History and Fantasy!

Unless you've turned off all avenues of media and have been hiding under a proverbial rock (and really, no judgement here!), you may have noticed Russia has been in the news a bit recently... Instead of being overwhelmed by the…

Art, Gardens, and Stories: Making Philadelphia Home

[ Editor's note: We librarians offer literally thousands of programs every year. It's a special thrill to get formal feedback from our audiences. We can't publish every review we get, but we're overjoyed to have gotten…

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

Hands-On Tour: Titanic: The Rise of Rosenbach

When the RMS Titanic sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, it took with it Dr. ASW Rosenbach’s friend and collecting protégé, Harry Elkins Widener. Harry’s mother, socialite Eleanor…

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

Hands-On Tour: James Joyce & Irish Authors

The Rosenbach is home to an incredible collection of works by Irish authors. Along with James Joyce’s handwritten manuscript of his modernist masterpiece Ulysses, we’ll also read and handle works by Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde,…

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

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 Dominion. A former chair of the National Governors…

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

Like others of their generations, and ours, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois found themselves at the crossroads of belonging and not, of loving their nation and feeling rejected by it, of being both black and American. This…

Hands-On Tour: Early Hebrew Books I

Explore the philosophy and history of some of the first books printed in the Hebrew language. Each has its own visual beauty and its own story to tell about early printing in Europe, local cultural tensions, change, and continuity.…

Hands-On Tour: Love Letters

Join us for this rare peek into some of the most personal and emotional writing in our collections. From the aching yearnings of poet John Keats to the dying wishes of a Civil War solider, the Rosenbach is home to a variety of love…

A Free Tour of Our Five Senses: A Family Friendly, Interactive Exhibition.

Sign up for your free curator-led tour of Our Five Senses, the first family friendly, fully-interactive exhibition at the Free Library. Tours begin at 3:00 p.m and are 45 minutes. While the exhibition is geared for all ages, the…

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

A Free Tour of Our Five Senses: A Family Friendly, Interactive Exhibition.

Sign up for your free curator-led tour of Our Five Senses, the first family friendly, fully-interactive exhibition at the Free Library. Tours begin at 3:00 p.m and are 45 minutes. While the exhibition is geared for all ages, the…

Hands-On Tour: Native American History

American history is the history of dialogues among the many peoples who have called—and call—America home. Highlighting The Rosenbach’s remarkable collection of books, manuscripts, and printed documents that reveal how…

Hands-On Tour: Lewis Carroll

Mathematician and cleric Charles Lutwidge Dodgson published children’s books under the pen name Lewis Carroll. This tour will explore both the man and the author, drawing on letters from Dodgson to his publishers, original…

Black Woodstock: The Harlem Cultural Festival, Summer 1969

Whille hippies were enjoying "three days of peace and love" in Bethel, NY, another huge music festival was staged over eight weeks in Harlem.  The Harlem Cultural Festival, aka Black Woodstock was a historic but nealy…

Author Talk: Laura Holzman

Contested Image revisits the debates that surrounded iconic works of visual culture in Philadelphia--Thomas Eakins’ 1875 painting, The Gross Clinic, the Rocky Statue, and the Barnes Foundation--and how each item changed through…

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…

A Free Tour of Our Five Senses: A Family Friendly, Interactive Exhibition.

Sign up for your free curator-led tour of Our Five Senses, the first family friendly, fully-interactive exhibition at the Free Library. Tours begin at 3:00 p.m and are 45 minutes. While the exhibition is geared for all ages, the…

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

Hands-On Tour: Marianne Moore

Poet Marianne Moore (born on November 15, 1887) broke free of tradition and reassembled the pieces in a new and sometimes confounding way. In this tour, we will study her letters, clippings and the objects she surrounded herself with to…

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

Tickets on sale Tuesday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. 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…

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 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…

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…

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…

Bernard-Henri Lévy | The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World

In conversation with Carlin Romano , Critic-at-Large, The Chronicle of Higher Education , former literary critic The Philadelphia Inquirer and author of America the Philosophical . “Perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France…

Jane Brox | Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

Penning “nonfiction literature of a high and lasting order” ( Chicago Tribune ), Jane Brox is the author of, among other books, Five Thousand Days Like This One , a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Brilliant: The…

One Book, One Philadelphia Kickoff Event | Featuring Jesmyn Ward

One Book, One Philadelphia 2019   kicks off with a reading and conversation between Jesmyn Ward, author of the  One Book  featured selection Sing, Unburied, Sing,  and WURD President/CEO Sara Lomax-Reese. Their talk will be followed by…