Tagged History

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…

The Richest Man in America

In the spring of 1776 , the British began a blockade of American ports, throwing coastal shipping into disarray and sending many captains back to the more secure European routes. But a young French captain, Stephan Girard, saw an…

#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…

A History Minute: Philadelphia's Medical Mystery

Philadelphia was the place to be in July of 1976. Even Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain came to present the Bicentennial Bell , cast in the same foundry as our Liberty Bell. The 4,000+ members of the Pennsylvania chapter of the…

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…

The Declaration, the Constitution, and American Identity: A Contrarian View

Join Professor Kermit Roosevelt of the University of Pennsylvania Law School as he argues that the Declaration and the original Constitution are not the source of America’s fundamental values. Rather, our identity comes from the…

The Future of Holocaust Commemoration: Living Memory

Shoah is a Hebrew term that has come to describe the Holocaust. While this tragedy has been a defining moment of our history, the most meaningful and appropriate ways to remember and commemorate the Shoah are less certain. Join Temple…

Robert Kuttner | Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

Robert Kuttner is the cofounder and coeditor of The American Prospect , one of the country’s most popular progressive political and public-policy quarterlies. His many books include Everything for Sale , The Squandering of America…

Madeleine Albright | Fascism: A Warning

Completely Sold Out. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s venerable career in public service includes positions on the National Security Council, on Capitol Hill, and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In 2012,…

Lorrie Moore | See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary

In conversation with Jayne Anne Phillips , author of Black Tickets, Lark & Termite, Machine Dreams, and director of Rutgers University-Newark’s MFA Creative Writing Program “Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial” (…

Timothy Snyder | The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

Perhaps America’s most esteemed Central and Eastern European historian and academic, Timothy Snyder is the author of the no. 1 bestseller On Tyranny , Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning , Wall Around the West , and…

Mitch Landrieu | In the Shadows of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made waves in 2017 with a “stunningly eloquent” speech about race in America (CNN) in which he explained his decision to remove four Confederate statues from his city, arguing that…

Anna Badkhen | Fisherman’s Blues: A West African Community at Sea with Min Jin Lee | Pachinko

With an artist’s eye and a ground-level view of people in extremis across the world, writer  Anna Badkhen offers “rich and lucid prose [that] illustrates her journey as vividly as might a series of photographs” (…

Steve Coll | Directorate S.: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016

A staff writer for The New Yorker , Steve Coll is the author of  The Bin Ladens , a history of the eponymous clan and its most infamous member; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars ; and Private Empire , an examination of the…

Jorge Ramos | Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era

The anchorman for Noticiero Univision for more than 30 years, eight-time Emmy-winning broadcaster and columnist Juan Ramos is one of America’s most popular and influential journalists. His 10 bestselling books include The Other…

Steven Pinker | Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Possessed of “the kind of academic superbrain that can translate otherwise impenetrable statistics into a meaningful narrative of human behaviour” ( Sunday Times ), cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker is the…

Robert Darnton | A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution

Cultural historian Robert Darnton is the author The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History . His many other books include The Business of Enlightenment , Berlin Journal , The Case for Books , and The Devil in…

Slavery, Resistance, and the American South during the Civil War

Room #108 In recognition of  Black History Month and  the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, join Villanova University Professor of History, Dr. Judith Giesberg, for a lecture and discussion…

Hidden Figures

In keeping with our celebration of Black History Central Senior Services hosts a showing of “Hidden Figures” - The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - brilliant…

Cornel West | Race Matters, 25th Anniversary Edition

Auditorium sold out. Simulcast tickets available. Lauded for his “ferocious moral vision and astute intellect” ( New York Times ), educator and philosopher Dr. Cornel West is the author of the National Book…

Black Lives on the Front Line: A review of Blacks in the Military

Central Senior Services continues its celebration of Black History with an appreciation of African American veterans as John Hemphill leads a discussion of Black Lives on the Front Line: A review of Blacks in the Military ǁ Military…

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Elaine Byrne

Artist Elaine Byrne will give an overview of her research interests, focusing on some of her recent projects and featuring video clips from some of her recent video work. Employing sculpture, video, and photography. Elaine Byrne’s…

Author Talk: Murray Dubin

Murray Dubin, co-author of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, will present and sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. This program will be held in the meeting room…

Max Boot | The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

Referred to as one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, military historian and foreign-policy analyst Max Boot is the author of The Savage Wars of…

Octavius Catto Series - Opening Panel Discussion

Octavius V. Catto was a 19th century civil rights activist, scholar, athlete, and community leader. In September 2017 a coalition of community activists, scholars, and public servants had the joy of dedicating a memorial at City Hall to…

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…