Tagged history

#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…

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.…

Philadelphia’s Literary Christmas—Bloomsday!

Our literary Christmas is almost upon us: Philadelphia’s favorite bookish holiday— Bloomsday —arrives on Thursday, June 16, and we couldn’t be more excited! This annual event celebrates James Joyce’s…

#OneBookWednesday: How We Teach Slavery and the Civil War

We like to think that history is fact. History as a thing is merely “events of the past”; and history the subject is the study of those events. But upon closer study, it becomes clear that history is not so cut-and-dry: it…

1943 Philadelphia Train Derailment Tragedy

Last week’s deadly train derailment in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia was eerily similar to a crash that happened at the same junction on Labor Day in 1943. The 1943 accident involved the sixteen-car Congressional…

Thanksgiving Day

Cranberry production was down four percent this year – but American farmers still produced over eight million barrels (800 million pounds) of the fall favorite, so the country should have a decent supply this Thanksgiving. Turkey…

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

There are almost 20 million veterans currently living in the United States, and almost 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s adult population has served in an American war. (Source: 2013 American Community Survey one-year esimates ) The…

Fall Back

Daylight saving time (aka daylight time, aka DST) has its origins in the United States with the Standard Time Act of 1918 (See Pub.L. 65-106, United States Statutes at Large , 65 th Congress), an effort to conserve fuel during the First…

What You Might Not Have Known About Columbus Day

The second Monday of every October is Columbus Day, a day commemorating Christopher Columbus’s first sighting of the Americas ( San Salvador Island , specifically) and celebrated as early as the 18th century. It’s been…

Streaming Philadelphia History - Introducing Input with Marion Stokes & John S. Stokes, Jr

Input  was a Philadelphia panel discussion program hosted by John S. Stokes, Jr. that aired Sunday mornings on WCAU-TV10 from 1968 through early 1971. The program is a window in to the people and ideas that shaped that tumultuous…

Parkway Central Library – Past, Present, and Future...

First imagined in the mid-1890s, begun in earnest in 1910, and finally completed in 1927, the Parkway Central Library building is a triumph of civic architecture and library science. The world and the building have undergone many…

Magic in the Ancient World

In ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, practitioners of magic exploited symbolic words, images, and rituals to achieve desired outcomes through supernatural means. Using magical acts they attempted to control supernatural…

Harvey Sachs | Toscanini: Musician of Conscience

Music historian Harvey Sachs’s many books include The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 , a biography of Arthur Rubenstein, and two collections of essays on musical subjects. He has written for dozens of newspapers,…

Archives curator Bob Skiba presents the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives

The John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center is the go-to place for all things Philadelphia gay history. Archivist Bob Skiba gives us a close up look at the collection. #30DaysofGay

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…

The Grid and the River: Philadelphia's Green Places, 1682-1876

Author Dr. Elizabeth Milroy will discuss her book The Grid and the River:  Philadelphia's Green Places, 1682-1876.  Making use of a wealth of primary source materials, Dr. Milroy offers new insights into the city's political…

The Grid and the River: Philadelphia's Green Places, 1682-1876

Author Dr. Elizabeth Milroy will discuss her book The Grid and the River:  Philadelphia's Green Places, 1682-1876.  Making use of a wealth of primary source materials, Dr. Milroy offers new insights into the city's…

An Evening with Bobby Rydell: Meet and greet book signing

Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Teen Idol Singing Sensation Bobby Rydell’s new book “Teen Idol On The Rocks” details Bobby’s public triumphs, private demons and behind the scenes stories. He was known as…

Sam Calagione with Patrick E. McGovern | Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-created

Sam Calagione is a beer expert and founder of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, one of America’s fastest growing independent breweries. The star of the Discovery Channel program Brew Masters , he was a Small Business…

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…

China Miéville | October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

Acclaimed for his “unparalleled inventiveness” ( Chicago Tribune ), China Miéville is the author of a score of fantasy novels, comics, novellas, short story collections, Marxist nonfiction, and essay collections.…

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…

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Rebecca Romney

The Rosenbach is delighted to welcome Rebecca Romney, author of  Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History . In a discussion moderated by Edward G. Pettit, Romney chronicles some of the strangest and most…

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…

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…

Margot Lee Shetterly | Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

In her New York Times bestselling debut book, Margot Shetterly tells the story of four African American women whose mathematical calculations at NASA fueled America’s greatest achievements in space at the leading edge of the civil…

Robert Kanigel | Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs

Robert Kanigel was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for The Man Who Knew Infinity , “an exquisite portrait” (Los Angeles Times ) of the rich collaboration between an unschooled but brilliant Indian clerk and a pre-eminent English…

Gino Segré and Bettina Hoerlin | The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age

The most revered Italian scientist since Galileo, Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi was one of the most prolific and consequential figures of the 20th century. Though a modest and unassuming man, he became one of the fathers of the…

Evelyn Coleman | Freedom Train

It’s 1947, and twelve-year-old Clyde Thomason is proud to have an older brother who guards the Freedom Train—a train that is traveling to all forty-eight states carrying the country’s most important documents, including the Declaration…

Colson Whitehead | The Underground Railroad

“Commanding a lush, poetic, mellifluous prose instrument” ( The Nation ) to turn a fantastical, satirical mirror on race and culture, Colson Whitehead  is the author of the acclaimed novels  The Intuitionist ,  John Henry Days , and…

Ruth Scurr | John Aubrey: My Own Life

Esteemed Cambridge literary critic and historian Ruth Scurr is the author of 2006’s Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution , named by The Times of London as one of the 100 Best Books of the Decade. Her reviews regularly…

Roger Penrose | Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

One of the world’s esteemed theoretical physicists for his contributions to the theory of general relativity and cosmology, Roger Penrose has won the Albert Einstein Medal, shared the Wolf Prize for physics with Stephen Hawking, and is…

Jeffrey Toobin | American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

“A reliable and astute guide” ( The Miami Herald ) through America’s most compelling court cases, Jeffrey Toobin is CNN’s senior legal analyst and a longtime  New Yorker  staff writer. His bestselling books include The Run of His Life:…

The American Presidency | Richard Levinson | The Hidden History of Presidential Health

Parkway Central librarian and presidential history buff Dick Levinson sheds light on desperately ill and dying presidents who deceived the public to remain in power. Join us to hear tales so wild they could only be true.  Introduced by…