Tagged History

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…

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…

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

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

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…

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

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…

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…

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

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…

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

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…

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

Jacob Shell | Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants

In conversation with Nikil Saval A professor of geography and urban studies at Temple University, Jacob Shell is the author of Transportation and Revolt: Pigeons, Mules, Canals, and the Vanishing Geographies of Subversive Mobility , a…

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…

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…

Introduction to African Dance & Drumming

This program will have participants making music and moving, along with the presenters.  We'll learn about, and experience traditional African dance and music with Camara Arts:  Keepers of the Tradition.  This is a…

But What of Black Women? An Evening of Tea and Letters

"But what of black women?... I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire."  -- W.E.B. Du Bois African American Women of the 19th and early 20th…

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…

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…

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…

In Conversation With The Rosenbach: The Legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment with Michele Norris

Michele Norris is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge, The Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity and inclusion. For more than a decade Norris…

Kirsten Gillibrand | Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote

In conversation with award-winning journalist Tracey Matisak. On the eve of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduces children to ten…

Mary Schmidt Campbell | An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden

President of Spelman College since 2015, and dean emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts, Mary Schmidt Campbell served as the vice chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities during the Obama administration. She has…

Gary Giddins | Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946

Gary Giddins is the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Visions of Jazz: The First Century , “a grand, brilliant history" ( The New York Times Book Review ). Jazz columnist at The Village Voice for 30 years, his…

Elaine Pagels | Why Religion?: A Personal Story

In conversation with award-winning journalist, Tracey Matisak One of the most esteemed religious scholars of our time, Elaine Pagels is the author of Revelations , Beyond Belief , and The Gnostic Gospels . Her many honors include…

Margaret George | The Splendor Before the Dark: A Novel of the Emperor Nero with Madeline Miller | Circe

Margaret George ’s fictional biographies of towering world figures—brimming “with lust, violence, cruelty and lively conversation” ( Detroit Free Press ) while adhering as closely as possible to the factual historical record—include…

Andrew Delbanco | The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

“America’s best social critic” ( Time ), Andrew Delbanco is the author of numerous books that explore American history, character, and ideals, including The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope , The Puritan Ordeal , and Required…

Jabari Asim | We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival

Editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, the NAACP’s flagship periodical, and a former editor and syndicated columnist at the The Washington Post , Jabari Asim is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College. His  many books…