Tagged history

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…

Philadelphia's Centaur Book Shop and Press, 1921-1942

The Centaur Book Shop was opened on 1224 Chancellor Street in Philadelphia by Harold Mason. Initial funding was partially supplied by John Frederick Lewis, the Philadelphia bibliophile and philantrophist whose important contributions to…

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Reporter Vivian Shirley Climbs Philadelphia Landmarks!

The Print and Picture Collection recently added a group of photos to the Historical Images of Philadelphia Digital Collection  featuring intrepid reporter Vivian Shirley climbing three Philadelphia landmarks between 1929 and…

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,…

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…

In Conversation With The Rosenbach: Louis Bayard

  Louis Bayard is the author of  Courting Mr. Lincoln , a novel. Books will be available for purchase by Shakespeare & Co., Booksellers. The author will sign copies after the program. From the prizewinning author of …

Ancient Wisdom & Modern Heartbreak: How Rome Helped Shape the U.S.

Explore the Roman world with distinguished professors from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, who will weave together the connections between this ancient empire and our democratic republic today. Part 4: Roman…

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…

Author Talk: Bill Double

Author Bill Double will present his book Philadelphia’s Washington Square and sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase. This book recounts the fascinating history of Washington Square, which has played a…

Ancient Wisdom & Modern Heartbreak: How Rome Helped Shape the U.S.

Explore the Roman world with distinguished professors from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, who will weave together the connections between this ancient empire and our democratic republic today. Part 3: Roman…

A Voice for Peace, Concord and Harmony: XIII International Poetry Festival in Philadelphia (Room 405)

A Voice for Peace, Concord and Harmony: XIII International Poetry Festival in Philadelphia A voice for peace, concord and harmony, the XIII International Poetry Festival in Philadelphia will congregate poets from Latin America, Spain…

Ancient Wisdom & Modern Heartbreak: How Rome Helped Shape the U.S.

Explore the Roman world with distinguished professors from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, who will weave together the connections between this ancient empire and our democratic republic today. Part 2: The Daily…

Mark Bowden | The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation

“One of the most intense, visceral” ( Philadelphia Inquirer ) writers of our time, Mark Bowden is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and Vanity Fair and is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling books of…

Julia Alvarez | In the Time of the Butterflies: 25th Anniversary Edition

In conversation with Concepción de León , the digital staff writer for the Books desk at The New York Times . She also writes "El Espace," a news and culture column for Latino . A “one-woman cultural…

How Did Davy Die? Crockett at the Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. On March 6, 1837, Mexican troops under General Santa Anna de Lopez launched a pre-dawn attack that killed all the defenders in the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de…

How Did Davy Die? Crockett at tha Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. On March 6, 1837, Mexican troops under General Santa Anna de Lopez launched a pre-dawn attack that killed all the defenders in the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de…

Bill McKibben | Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

“The world’s best green journalist” ( Time ), Bill McKibben gave one of the earliest cautions about global warming with his 1989 book The End of Nature . His many other bestselling books about the environment include…

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

Explore the long history of working-class housing in Philadelphia including the ubiquitous row home and the many residences that have disappeared in the name of progress. On display in the Art Department Hallway Gallery until…

A Free Tour of Philadelphia: The Changing City Exhibition

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

Ancient Wisdom & Modern Heartbreak: How Rome Helped Shape the U.S.

Explore the Roman world with distinguished professors from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, who will weave together the connections between this ancient empire and our democratic republic today. Part 1: An…

Richard Blanco | How to Love a Country: Poems

Richard Blanco made history four times at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration: He was the first immigrant, the first Latino, the youngest person, and the first openly gay person to be the U.S. inaugural poet. Exploring…

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…

"Where's the Creek?" Bus Tour: Uncovering the History of Mill Creek in West Philadelphia

Mill Creek can be found on 19th century maps of Philadelphia, draining more than 4,000 acres of West Philadelphia with its main stem and several tributaries. While some of the place names associated with this stream still exist --…

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…

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…

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…

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…