Tagged History

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,…

#BlackHistoryMonth: Celebrating The Life Of Octavius Catto

Back in September, the city of Philadelphia unveiled the first new statue at City Hall since 1923 and the first of an African American on any city-owned public property – that of 19th-century civil rights activist, scholar,…

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…

CIVIL WAR MEDICINE: WHAT WENT RIGHT

The American Civil War marked the violent birth of modern medicine. One million casualties would change the face of health care forever. Carole Adrienne Murphy is the Writer/Producer of a four-part documentary series, "Civil War…

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…

Author Talk: David Alan Johnson

David Alan Johnson will present his book Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania and sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase. Diploma Mill recounts the…

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…

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…

David W. Blight | Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

David W. Blight’s many books of history include American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era ,  Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory , and two annotated editions of Frederick Douglass’s first two…

11.11.18 – The Centennial of the End of World War I

November 11 marks the end of “the war to end all wars,” in which nine million combatants and seven million civilians died. This program will emphasize America’s involvement in the war and will examine in detail the…

H.W. Brands | Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants

Tickets on sale September 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. “Master storyteller” ( Christian Science Monitor ) H. W. Brands was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin ( The First American…

11.11.18 – The Centennial of the End of World War I

November 11 marks the end of “the war to end all wars,” in which nine million combatants and seven million civilians died. This program will emphasize America’s involvement in the war and will examine in detail the…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents:A History of Cartography: From Antiquity to Longitude

When we interact with maps through our in-dash GPS systems or on Google Earth on our phones, we rarely think about how maps actually work. Maps are complicated and confusing instruments that function on many levels, silently shaping how…

B.A. Shapiro | The Collector’s Apprentice

“Vibrant and suspenseful” ( The Washington Post ), B. A. Shapiro’s New York Times bestselling novels include The Safe Room , The Muralist , and The Art Forger , an exacting tale of stolen paintings, Faustian bargains,…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents: Entomological Musings: The Wondrous World of Insects

This new course will introduce Entomology, the study of insects, and continue discussion of the Insect Orders, the groups in which insects are divided. Students will learn about the evolution of insect groups across geologic time,…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents:A History of Cartography: From Antiquity to Longitude

When we interact with maps through our in-dash GPS systems or on Google Earth on our phones, we rarely think about how maps actually work. Maps are complicated and confusing instruments that function on many levels, silently shaping how…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents: Entomological Musings: The Wondrous World of Insects

This new course will introduce Entomology, the study of insects, and continue discussion of the Insect Orders, the groups in which insects are divided. Students will learn about the evolution of insect groups across geologic time,…

Nathaniel Philbrick | In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

Tickets on sale September 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. “One of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction” ( The Wall Street Journal ), Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of the National Book Award-winning In The…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents:A History of Cartography: From Antiquity to Longitude

When we interact with maps through our in-dash GPS systems or on Google Earth on our phones, we rarely think about how maps actually work. Maps are complicated and confusing instruments that function on many levels, silently shaping how…

Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby?

On March 1, 1932, the twenty-month old son of noted aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his home near Highlands, New Jersey. On May 12, his decaying body was discovered nearby. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the…

Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook | Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious

In conversation with Sam Sifton Acclaimed for “cooking that bursts with freshly ground spices and complex flavors” ( New York Times ), Michael Solomonov brought Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean, and Eastern…

Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby?

On March 1, 1932, the twenty-month old son of noted aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his home near Highlands, New Jersey. On May 12, his decaying body was discovered nearby. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the…

The Wagner Free Institute of Science presents: Entomological Musings: The Wondrous World of Insects

This new course will introduce Entomology, the study of insects, and continue discussion of the Insect Orders, the groups in which insects are divided. Students will learn about the evolution of insect groups across geologic time,…

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…

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…

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…