Tagged History of Philadelphia

Discover Black Folk Musicians

Although many people associate the term "folk music" with white musicians like Pete Seeger , there is a long tradition in the United States of Black folk musicians. In fact, without the spirituals sung by enslaved people, the…

Edible Alphabet Recipe of the Week: Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Edible Alphabet is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center . The mission is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. While Free…

Celebrate Wawa Welcome America Virtually with the Free Library!

For nearly three decades, America’s birthplace (Philly, of course!) has celebrated Independence Day with Wawa Welcome America – a free, multi-day festival encompassing multicultural and multigenerational…

Finding "Nonno"

In addition to offering patrons ever-growing Digital Collections , dozens of research databases , and a rich variety of genealogic resources , the Free Library and the Special Collections Division deliver an exceptional customer…

Explore Your Neighborhood Virtually with Digital Collections

With current stay-at-home orders and social distancing precautions in place, I find myself more eager to spend time outside and walk (or jog if I’m feeling really motivated) around the neighborhood. This has sparked a growing…

Free Library Tour Guides Use Map Collection to Celebrate This Year's Volunteer Appreciation Day!

At 54 neighborhood libraries and the Rosenbach , Free Library volunteers embody the institution's vision of "an enlightened community devoted to lifelong learning" every day. While the library is now a more virtual…

A History Minute: The Many Firsts of Sadie T. M. Alexander

Women today often talk about the difficulty of "having it all", but Sadie T.M. Alexander was more concerned with "doing it all." She not only raised two children and worked to advance her husband’s political…

Women's History Month 2020: Stories We Know, Stories We'll Discover

"Even if I believed that women should be denied the right of suffrage, wild horses could not drag such an admission from my pen or my lips, for this reason: precisely the same arguments used to prove that the ballot be withheld…

Oldest, Biggest, Best: A History of the Philadelphia Flower Show

The Philadelphia Flower Show was the first public flower show held in the U.S. and it has become the largest and longest-running flower show in the world. The seed that became the Philadelphia Flower Show was planted in November 1827 ,…

Happy Inventors Day for Monopoly Lovers!

I am a Monopoly lover! This celebrated board game became popular in the 1930s after it was patented by Philadelphia inventor Charles B. Darrow , who lived on W. Hortter St. in the West Mt. Airy area of Philadelphia. Mr. Darrow was…

Spotlight on Special Collections: When Dickens Met Poe

This blog post is in honor of  Charles Dickens' birthday. The prolific Victorian author of "epic stories" like  Oliver Twist and David Copperfield , was born on Portsea Island off England's south-central…

Reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Visit to Philadelphia: A Personal Account

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  stands with one arm stretched high above his head, waving to the crowd, with a broad smile on his face, as the legendary Philadelphia civil rights attorney and firebrand Cecil B. Moore stands to one…

Neighborhood Beginnings: 11 Things You Should Know About Mt. Airy

In preparation for a special Free Library event taking place this Wednesday, January 15 at Lovett Library , today we'll be looking at the history and architecture of Mt. Airy. The neighborhood has a fascinating history, along with…

A History Minute | Who was Mae Reeves and Why is She in the Smithsonian?

For over 50 years, Mae’s Millinery (definition: "the art of hat-making") was a fixture in Philadelphia, a destination for women from up and down the East Coast in search of the perfect hat. Now Mae’s is once more a…

Hands-On History Wraps Up 2019 With Charles Dickens... and Introduces a New Line-Up For 2020

What do Charles Dickens, cuneiform tablets, and James Bond have in common? The answer is Hands-on History at the Free Library, which wraps up its inaugural year with a holiday program on Saturday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m.,…

#OneBookWednesday | Regional Lenape History

Never having been much of a history buff, and possessing a wholly striking inability to memorize dates, my cultivation of Philadelphia history has been mostly through passive absorption. I have lived in Philadelphia long enough to have…

Did You Know?: Black Friday was Born in Philly

What is ‘Black Friday,' and why do we do it? I did some digging... "In 1621, colonists invited Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags, to a feast after a recent land deal. Massasoit came with ninety of his men. That…

Neighborhood Beginnings: from Pigs to Pigskin - 11 Things You Might Not Know About "The Neck"

Philadelphia has and always will be a city of neighborhoods. In our ongoing series of Neighborhood Beginnings, today we'll be discussing a section of the city that was once referred to as... "The Neck" You have probably…

Hey Philly, Take a Hike!

No ... we don't mean it like that ! This Sunday, November 17, is national Take a Hike Day. It's time to pull on some comfortable shoes and explore a forest, a park, or your very own neighborhood. Yes, that's right: you…

Civil War Medicine: What Went Right

The human toll exacted by the Civil War is made clear simply by the size and number of hospitals in Philadelphia that treated the casualties of war. It’s no exaggeration to say that a few were industrial in scale. As the…