front cover of Archaeology at the Site of the Museum of the American Revolution
Archaeology at the Site of the Museum of the American Revolution
A Tale of Two Taverns and the Growth of Philadelphia
Rebecca Yamin
Temple University Press, 2019

When the Museum of the American Revolution acquired the land at Third and Chestnut streets in Olde City, Philadelphia, it came with the condition that an archaeological investigation be conducted. The excavation that began in the summer of 2014 yielded treasures in the trash: unearthed privy pits provided remarkable finds from a mid-eighteenth-century tavern to relics from a button factory dating to the early twentieth century. These artifacts are described and analyzed by urban archaeologist Rebecca Yamin in Archaeology at the Site of the Museum of the American Revolution.

Yamin, lead archaeologist on the dig, catalogues items—including earthenware plates and jugs, wig curlers, clay pipes, and liquor bottles—to tell the stories of their owners and their roles in Philadelphia history. As she uncovers the history of the people as well as their houses, taverns, and buildings that were once on the site, she explains  that by looking at these remains, we see the story of the growth of Philadelphia from its colonial beginnings to the Second World War.

Archaeology at the Site of the Museum of the American Revolution is a perfect keepsake for armchair archaeologists, introductory students, and history buffs.

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Arlen Specter
Scandals, Conspiracies, and Crisis in Focus
Evan Laine
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021
From his early work as a lawyer on the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to his days as Philadelphia’s district attorney to his thirty-year career as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter found himself consistently in the middle of major historical events. During his five terms as senator, Specter met with the likes of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro and made significant contributions during the fallout of both the Iran-Contra scandal and the Clinton impeachment. His work had a profound influence on the configuration of the United States Supreme Court, the criminal justice system, LGBTQ rights, and stem cell research. Photographs from Specter’s personal collection highlight many of these key moments, revealing the rich narrative not only of one man’s political career, but how it helped shape a nation. While it will probably be long debated whether Specter’s complex and controversial political legacy merits mainly praise or criticism, Arlen Specter sheds new light on the life of a man who fought to make a difference.
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The Back Bench
Margaret Hope Bacon
QuakerPress, 2007

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The Battles of Germantown
Effective Public History in America
David W. Young
Temple University Press, 2019

2020 Philip S. Klein Book Prize Winner, Pennsylvania Historical Association

Known as America’s most historic neighborhood, the Germantown section of Philadelphia (established in 1683) has distinguished itself by using public history initiatives to forge community. Progressive programs about ethnic history, postwar urban planning, and civil rights have helped make historic preservation and public history meaningful. The Battles of Germantown considers what these efforts can tell us about public history’s practice and purpose in the United States.  

Author David Young, a neighborhood resident who worked at Germantown historic sites for decades, uses his practitioner’s perspective to give examples of what he calls “effective public history.” The Battles of Germantown shows how the region celebrated “Negro Achievement Week” in 1928 and, for example, how social history research proved that the neighborhood’s Johnson House was a station on the Underground Railroad. These encounters have useful implications for addressing questions of race, history, and memory, as well as issues of urban planning and economic revitalization. 

Germantown’s historic sites use public history and provide leadership to motivate residents in an area challenged by job loss, population change, and institutional inertia. The Battles of Germantown illustrates how understanding and engaging with the past can benefit communities today.

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Black History in the Philadelphia Landscape
Deep Roots, Continuing Legacy
Amy Jane Cohen
Temple University Press, 2024
Black Philadelphians have shaped Philadelphia history since colonial times. In Black History in the Philadelphia Landscape, Amy Cohen recounts notable aspects of the Black experience in Philadelphia from the late 1600s to the 1960s and how this history is marked in the contemporary city. She charts Charles Blockson’s efforts to commemorate the Pennsylvania slave trade with a historical marker and highlights Richard Allen, who founded Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church.

Cohen also describes the path to erecting a statue of civil rights activist Octavius Catto at Philadelphia’s City Hall and profiles international celebrities Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson who are honored in the city. At the end of each chapter, she includes suggestions to continue readers’ exploration of this important cultural heritage.

Showing how increased attention to the role of African Americans in local and national history has resulted in numerous, sometimes controversial, alterations to the landscape, Cohen guides readers to Black history’s significance and its connections with today’s spotlight on racial justice.
[more]

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City in a Park
A History of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System
Lynn Miller
Temple University Press, 2015

Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of more than one hundred parks, squares, and green spaces totaling about 11,000 acres, and is one of the largest landscaped urban park systems in the world. In City in a Park, James McClelland and Lynn Miller provide an affectionate and comprehensive history of this 200-year-old network of parks.

Originated in the nineteenth century as a civic effort to provide a clean water supply to Philadelphia, Fairmount Park also furnished public pleasure grounds for boat races and hiking, among other activities. Millions travel to the city to view its eighteenth-century villas, attend boat races on the Schuylkill River, hike the Wissahickon Creek, visit the Philadelphia Zoo, hear concerts in summer, stroll the city’s historic squares and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and enjoy its enormous collection of public art. Green initiatives flower today; Philadelphia lives amidst its parks. 

Filled with nearly 150 gorgeous full-color photographs, City in a Park chronicles the continuing efforts to create what founder William Penn desired: a “greene countrie town.”

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City Of Sisterly And Brotherly Loves
Lesbian And Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972
Marc Stein
Temple University Press, 2004
Marc Stein's City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves is refreshing for at least two reasons: it centers on a city that is not generally associated with a vibrant gay and lesbian culture, and it shows that a community was forming long before the Stonewall rebellion. In this lively and well received book, Marc Stein brings to life the neighborhood bars and clubs where people gathered and the political issues that rallied the community. He reminds us that Philadelphians were leaders in the national gay and lesbian movement and, in doing so, suggests that New York and San Francisco have for too long obscured the contributions of other cities to gay culture.
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City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves
Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972
Marc Stein
University of Chicago Press, 2000
In this pathbreaking history, Marc Stein takes an in-depth look at Philadelphia from the 1940s to the 1970s. What he finds is a city of vibrant gay and lesbian households, neighborhoods, commercial establishments, public cultures, and political groups. In doing so, Stein shatters the myth that lesbian and gay history began with the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City and challenges the notion that only New York and San Francisco featured major lesbian and gay communities in the pre-Stonewall era.

Stein takes us on a tour through Philadelphia's bars, restaurants, bookstores, bathhouses, movie theaters, parks, and parades where lesbian and gay cultures thrived.

We learn about the scientific experts, religious leaders, public officials, and journalists who attacked and ignored same-sex sexualities. And we read about the courageous people who fought back with strategies of everyday resistance and organized political activism.

Stein argues against the idea that a conspiracy of silence surrounded gays and lesbians in the 1940s and 1950s. He shows that same-sex sexualities were regularly discussed in controversies concerning the tennis player Big Bill Tilden, the Walt Whitman Bridge, sex murders and crimes, and police raids. Philadelphians became national leaders in the gay and lesbian movement. They conducted sit-ins at Dewey's restaurant, organized pickets at Independence Hall, edited the movement's most widely circulated publications the Ladder and Drum, and pursued court cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Beautifully crafted and exceptionally well-written, Stein's book not only provides a new starting place for thinking about lesbian and gay history but also challenges readers to rethink twentieth-century urban history.
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Civility in the City
Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America
Jennifer Lee
Harvard University Press, 2002

Hollywood and the news media have repeatedly depicted the inner-city retail store as a scene of racial conflict and acrimony. Civility in the City uncovers a quite different story. Jennifer Lee examines the relationships between African American, Jewish, and Korean merchants and their black customers in New York and Philadelphia, and shows that, in fact, social order, routine, and civility are the norm.

Lee illustrates how everyday civility is negotiated and maintained in countless daily interactions between merchants and customers. While merchant-customer relations are in no way uniform, most are civil because merchants actively work to manage tensions and smooth out incidents before they escalate into racially charged anger. Civility prevails because merchants make investments to maintain the day-to-day routine, recognizing that the failure to do so can have dramatic consequences.

How then do minor clashes between merchants and customers occasionally erupt into the large-scale conflicts we see on television? Lee shows how inner-city poverty and extreme inequality, coupled with the visible presence of socially mobile newcomers, can provide fertile ground for such conflicts. The wonder is that they occur so rarely, a fact that the media ignore.

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Contested Image
Defining Philadelphia for the Twenty-First Century
Laura M. Holzman
Temple University Press, 2019

Thomas Eakins’ 1875 painting, The Gross Clinic, the Rocky Statue, andthe Barnes Foundation are all iconic in Philadelphia for different reasons. But around the year 2000, this painting, this sculpture, and this entire art collection, respectively, generated extended—and heated—controversies about the “appropriate” location for each item. Contested Image revisits the debates that surrounded these works of visual culture and how each item changed through acts of reception—through the ways that viewers looked at, talked about, and used these objects to define their city.

Laura Holzman investigates the negotiations and spirited debates that affected the city of Philadelphia’s identity and its public image. She considers how the region’s cultural resources reshaped the city’s reputation as well as delves into discussions about official efforts to boost local spirit. In tracking these “contested images,” Holzman illuminates the messy process of public envisioning of place and the ways in which public dialogue informs public meaning of both cities themselves and the objects of urban identity.

[more]

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Digging in the City of Brotherly Love
Stories from Philadelphia Archaeology
Yamin, Rebecca
Temple University Press, 2023
Historic Philadelphia has long yielded archaeological treasures from its past. Excavations required by the National Historic Preservation Act have recovered pottery shards, pots, plates, coins, bones, and other artifacts relating to early life in the city. This updated edition of Digging in the City of Brotherly Love continues to use archaeology to learn about and understand people from the past.

Rebecca Yamin adds three new chapters that showcase several major discoveries from recent finds including unmarked early eighteenth-century burial grounds, one of which associated with the first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, in the oldest part of the city; a nineteenth-century working-class neighborhood built along the path of what is now Route I-95 and was once home to Native American life; and the remains of two taverns found on the site of the current Museum of the American Revolution.

Yamin describes the research and state-of-the-art techniques used to study these exciting discoveries. In chronicling the value of looking into a city’s past, Digging in the City of Brotherly Love brings to life the people who lived in the early city and the people in the present who study them.
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Discourse and Destruction
The City of Philadelphia versus MOVE
Robin Wagner-Pacifici
University of Chicago Press, 1993
In the early 1980s the radical group MOVE settled into a rowhouse in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of west Philadelphia, beginning years of confrontations with neighbors and police over its anti-establishment ways and militant stance against all social and political institutions. On May 13, 1985, following a period of increased MOVE activity and threats by neighbors to take matters into their own hands, the city moved from bureaucratic involvement to violent intervention. Police bullhorned arrest warrants, hosed down the rowhouse, sprayed tear gas through its walls, and dropped explosives from a helicopter. By the end of the day, eleven MOVE members were dead, an entire block of the neighborhood was destroyed, and Mayor Wilson Goode was calling for an investigation.

How did this struggle between the city and MOVE go from memos and meetings to tear gas and bombs? And how does the mandate to defend public order become a destructive force? Sifting through the hearings that followed the deadly encounter, Robin Wagner-Pacifici reconstructs the conflict between MOVE and the city of Philadelphia. Against this richly nuanced account, in which the participants—from the mayor and the police officers to members of MOVE and their neighbors—offer opposing versions of their aims, assumptions, and strategies, Wagner-Pacifici develops a compelling analysis of the relation between definition and action, between language and violence.

Was MOVE simply a radical, black separatist group with an alternative way of life? Or was it a terrorist cult that held a neighborhood and politicians hostage to its offensive language and bizarre behavior? Wagner-Pacifici shows how competing definitions of MOVE led to different strategies for managing the conflict. In light of the shockingly similar, and even more deadly, 1993 Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas, such an analysis becomes imperative. Indeed, for those who hope to understand—and, finally, to forestall—the moment when language and violence are inexorably drawn together, this book demands attention.
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Ethnic Renewal in Philadelphia's Chinatown
Space, Place, and Struggle
Kathryn Wilson
Temple University Press, 2015
Philadelphia’s Chinatown, like many urban chinatowns, began in the late nineteenth century as a refuge for immigrant laborers and merchants in which to form a community to raise families and conduct business. But this enclave for expression, identity, and community is also the embodiment of historical legacies and personal and collective memories.
 
In Ethnic Renewal in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Kathryn Wilson charts the unique history of this neighborhood. After 1945, a new generation of families began to shape Chinatown’s future. As plans for urban renewal—ranging from a cross-town expressway and commuter rail in the 1960s to a downtown baseball stadium in 2000—were proposed and developed, “Save Chinatown” activists rose up and fought for social justice.
 
Wilson chronicles the community’s efforts to save and renew itself through urban planning, territorial claims, and culturally specific rebuilding. She shows how these efforts led to Chinatown’s growth and its continued ability to serve as a living community for subsequent waves of new immigration.  
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Exploring Philly Nature
A Guide for All Four Seasons
Bernard S. Brown
Temple University Press, 2022

Do snakes and salamanders fascinate you or make you squeamish? Have you ever listened closely to the birds chirping in your neighborhood? Can you identify the flowers growing in Philadelphia’s urban parks? (Moreover, are the mushrooms safe to eat?) Exploring Philly Nature is amateur naturalist, urban herper,* and Grid contributor Bernard Brown’s handy guide to experiencing the flora and fauna in Philly. 

This compact illustrated volume contains 52 activities from birding, (squirrel) fishing, and basement bug-hunting to joining a frog call survey and visiting a mussel hatchery. Brown encourages kids (as well as their parents) to connect with the natural world close to home. Each entry contains information on where and when to participate, what you will need (even if it is only patience), and tips on clubs and organizations to contact for access.

The city and its environs contain a multitude of species from the lichen that grows on gravestones or trees to nocturnal animals like opossums, bats, and raccoons. Exploring Philly Nature is designed to get readers eager to discover, observe, and learn more about the concrete jungle that is Philadelphia.

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Flow
The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River
Beth Kephart
Temple University Press, 2014
The Schuylkill River-the name in Dutch means "hidden creek"-courses many miles, turning through Philadelphia before it yields to the Delaware. "I am this wide. I am this deep. A tad voluptuous, but only in places," writes Beth Kephart, capturing the voice of this natural resource in Flow.
An award-winning author, Kephart's elegant, impressionistic story of the Schuylkill navigates the beating heart of this magnificent water source. Readers are invited to flow through time-from the colonial era and Ben Franklin's death through episodes of Yellow Fever and the Winter of 1872, when the river froze over-to the present day. Readers will feel the silt of the Schuylkill's banks, swim with its perch and catfish, and cruise-or scull-downstream, from Reading to Valley Forge to the Water Works outside center city.
Flow's lush narrative is peppered with lovely, black and white photographs and illustrations depicting the river's history, its people, and its gorgeous vistas. Written with wisdom and with awe for one of the oldest friends of all Philadelphians, Flow is a perfect book for reading while the ice melts, and for slipping in your bag for your own visit to the Schuylkill.
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From Puerto Rico To Philadelphia
Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies
Carmen Whalen
Temple University Press, 2001
"We were poor but we had everything we needed," reminisces Dona Epifania. Nonetheless, when a man she knew told her about a job in Philadelphia, she grasped the opportunity to leave Coamas. "He went to Puerto Rico and told me there were beans to cook. I came here and cooked for fourteen workers." In San Lorenzo, Dona Carmen and her husband made the same decision: "We didn't want to, nobody wanted to leave....There wasn't any alternative." Don Florencio recalls that in Salinas work had gotten scarce, "especially for the youth, the young men....The farmworker that was used to cutting cane, already the sugar cane was disappearing," and government licensing regulations made fishing "more difficult for the poor."

Puerto Rican migration to the mainland following World War II took place for a range of reasons -- globalization of the economy, the colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, state policies, changes in regional and  local economies, social networks, and, not least, the decisions made by individual immigrants. In this wide-ranging book, Carmen Whalen weaves them all into a tapestry of Puerto Rican immigration to Philadelphia.

Like African Americans and Mexicans, Puerto Ricans were recruited for low-wage jobs, only to confront racial discrimination as well as economic restructuring. As Whalen shows, they were part of that wave of newcomers who came from areas in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia characterized by  a heavy U.S. military and economic presence, especially export processing zones looking for a new life in depressed urban environments already populated by earlier labor migrants. But Puerto Rican in-migration was also unique, especially in its regional and gender dimensions. Many migrants came as part of contract labor programs shaped by competing agendas.

By the 1990s, economic conditions, government policies, and racial ideologies had transformed Puerto Rican labor migrants into what has been called "the other underclass." The author analyzes this continuation of "culture and poverty" interpretations and contrasts it with the efforts of Philadelphia's Puerto Ricans to recreate their communities and deal with the impact of  economic restructuring and residential segregation in the City of Brotherly Love.
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Global Philadelphia
Immigrant Communities Old and New
Edited by Ayumi Takenaka and Mary Johnson Osirim
Temple University Press, 2010

The racial and ethnic composition of Philadelphia continues to diversify as a new wave of immigrants—largely from Asia and Latin America—reshape the city’s demographic landscape. Moreover, in a globalized economy, immigration is the key to a city’s survival and competitiveness. The contributors to Global Philadelphia examine how Philadelphia has affected its immigrants’ lives, and how these immigrants, in turn, have shaped Philadelphia.

Providing a detailed historical, ethnographic, and sociological look at Philadelphia’s immigrant communities, this volume examines the social and economic dynamics of various ethnic populations. Significantly, the contributors make comparisons to and connections between the traditional immigrant groups—Germans, Italians, the Irish, Jews, Puerto Ricans, and Chinese—and newer arrivals, such as Cambodians, Haitians, Indians, Mexicans, and African immigrants of various nationalities.

While their experiences vary, Global Philadelphia focuses on some of the critical features that face all immigrant groups—intra-group diversity, the role of institutions, and ties to the homeland. Taken together, these essays provide a richer understanding of the processes and implications of contemporary immigration to the area.

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If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress
Black Politics in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia
Edited by James Wolfinger
Temple University Press, 2022

Philadelphia has long been a crucial site for the development of Black politics across the nation. If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress provides an in-depth historical analysis—from the days of the Great Migration to the present—of the people and movements that made the city a center of political activism. The editor and contributors show how Black activists have long protested against police abuse, pushed for education reform, challenged job and housing discrimination, and put presidents in the White House.  

If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress emphasizes the strength of political strategies such as the “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” movement and the Double V campaign. It demonstrates how Black activism helped shift Philadelphia from the Republican machine to Democratic leaders in the 1950s and highlights the election of politicians like Robert N. C. Nix, Sr., the first African American representative from Philadelphia. In addition, it focuses on grassroots movements and the intersection of race, gender, class, and politics in the 1960s, and shows how African Americans from the 1970s to the present challenged Mayor Frank Rizzo and helped elect Mayors Wilson Goode, John Street, and Michael Nutter. 

If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress cogently makes the case that Black activism has long been a powerful force in Philadelphia politics.

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Independence
A Guide to Historic Philadelphia
George Boudreau
Westholme Publishing, 2012

An Intimate Illustrated Tour of America’s Most Iconic Colonial City

From its beginning as a haven for English Quakers in the colony William Penn founded in 1681, the city of Philadelphia prospered, becoming a leading port in the English Atlantic World and a center of American culture and politics. Grounded in enlightenment ideals, Philadelphia attracted diverse settlers from the Old and New Worlds. By the 1760s, a cash-strapped England set its sights on taxing the American colonies to pay its debts. Philadelphia assumed roles as a center of revolutionary protests, a meeting place for colonial delegates to decide on independence and a new form of government, and, finally, the first capital of the United States of America.

Richly illustrated with both new photography and an amazing array of early American art drawn from the collections of some of America’s leading museums and archives, Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia reveals the stories of the persons who experienced the early years of the new nation in America’s first capital. Based on meticulous research, Independence walks its readers through the lives of the residents and visitors of the revolutionary city, and through the streets and buildings that they knew. Famous names are here: Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Washington. But Independence also focuses on the fascinating stories of less famous American founders. Enslaved and free, women and men, rich and poor, patriot and Tory, shaped Philadelphia’s and America’s experience in the revolutionary era, and all have their say here. In addition, this guide tells the stories of the iconic buildings and streets where America was founded. The book explores the dozens of buildings that make up Independence National Historical Park and connects these with neighboring sites that are also intimately associated with the story of America’s birth.

Independence will enrich the experience of those who travel to these historic sites, as well as offer a vivid and fascinating story for the general reader.

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Insight Philadelphia
Historical Essays Illustrated
Finkel, Kenneth
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Each of the nearly 100 essays in Insight Philadelphia tells a succinct, compelling, and little-known tale of the city’s past. Some stories are quirky, like how early gas stations were designed to resemble classical temples, or the saga of how a museum acquired a 2000-year-old Greek statue, then had it demolished with a sledgehammer. Other stories turn serious, exploring the tragic deaths of child laborers in the city’s textile mills and a century-old case of racial profiling that led to a stationhouse murder. Historian Kenneth Finkel introduces readers to the many brave souls and colorful characters who left their mark on the city, from the Irish immigrant “coal heavers”—who initiated the nation’s first general strike—to the teenage Josephine Baker making a flashy debut on the Philadelphia stage.
 
Illustrated with scores of rare archival images, Insight Philadelphia will give readers a new appreciation for the people and places that make the City of Brotherly Love so unique. 
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The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia
History, Culture, People, and Ideas
Edited by Andrea Canepari and Judith Goode
Temple University Press, 2021

Italian arts and culture have been a significant influence on Philadelphia dating back to Thomas Jefferson and colonial times. Throughout the ensuing decades, Italian art and architecture styles flourished, and wealthy Philadelphians traveled to Italy and brought back objects to display in emerging institutions of art and culture. New immigration formed neighborhoods—such as South Philly, home to the Italian Market—and Italian business leaders, politicians, artists, musicians and sports figures came to prominence and became part of the social fabric of the city.

This glorious volume, The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia, celebrates the history, impact, and legacy of this vibrant community, tracing four periods of key transformation in the city’s political, economic, and social structures. The editors and contributors chronicle the changing dynamics of the city as Italian immigrants established themselves and as they continue to have lively interactions with people and institutions in Italy.

Interdisciplinary essays, along with nearly 250 gorgeous images, explore the changing perspectives and styles of those who contributed Italian influences. As settlers and their descendants brought everyday cultural practices, memories, and traditions, they created different Italian-American experiences that became important parts of American culture, a legacy that is thriving in contemporary, globalized Philadelphia.

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Life, Liberty, and the Mummers
Ed Kennedy
Temple University Press, 2007
The Mummers Parade is like no other parade in the world.  With 10,00 wildly-costumed participants stepping out every New Year's Day in South Philadelphia, it is one of the most spectacular annual parades in the U.S.  This remarkable book is a "family portrait" of the parade.  It presents, in pictures and in words, the flamboyantly-attired Mummers and reveals the everyday, working-class people beneath the outrageous garb.

Noted photographer E. A. Kennedy spent four years documenting the Mummers and their parade.  He has personally selected the striking images included here -- more than 150 in all -- and he has written an engaging history of the parade itself. As Kennedy explains, and as his photos make clear, "mummery" is a way of life for Mummers, who have deep attachments to their clubs, associations, and brigades.

For all its glitz, the Mummers Parade remains a folk parade.  This is the captivating story of the folks behind the parade.
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Little Italy in the Great War
Philadelphia's Italians on the Battlefield and Home Front
Richard N. Juliani
Temple University Press, 2020

The Great War challenged all who were touched by it. Italian immigrants, torn between their country of origin and country of relocation, confronted political allegiances that forced them to consider the meaning and relevance of Americanization. In his engrossing study, Little Italy in the Great War, Richard Juliani focuses on Philadelphia’s Italian community to understand how this vibrant immigrant population reacted to the war as they were adjusting to life in an American city that was ambivalent toward them. 

Juliani explores the impact of the Great War on many immigrant soldiers who were called to duty as reservists and returned to Italy, while other draftees served in the U.S. Army on the Western Front. He also studies the impact of journalists and newspapers reporting the war in English and Italian, and reactions from civilians who defended the nation in industrial and civic roles on the home front. 

Within the broader context of the American experience, Little Italy in the Great War examines how the war affected the identity and cohesion of Italians as a population still passing through the assimilation process.

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Love
A Philadelphia Affair
Beth Kephart
Temple University Press, 2017

Philadelphia has been at the heart of many books by award-winning author Beth Kephart, but none more so than the affectionate collection Love. This volume of personal essays and photographs celebrates the intersection of memory and place. Kephart writes lovingly, reflectively about what Philadelphia means to her. She muses about meandering on SEPTA trains, spending hours among the armor in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and taking shelter at Independence Mall during a downpour.

In Love, Kephart shares her loveof Reading Terminal Market at Thanksgiving: “This abundant, bristling market is, in November, the most unlonesome place around.” She waxes poetic about the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, the mustard in a Salumeria sandwich, and the “coins slipped between the lips of Philbert the pig.”

Kephart also extends her journeys to the suburbs, Glenside and Ardmore—and beyond, to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Stone Harbor, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware. What emerges is a valentine to the City of Brotherly Love and its environs. In Love, Philadelphia is “more than its icons, bigger than its tagline.”

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The Memoirs of Wendell W. Young III
A Life in Philadelphia Labor and Politics
Francis Ryan
Temple University Press, 2019

Philadelphia native Wendell W. Young III was one of the most important American labor leaders in the last half of the twentieth century. An Acme Markets clerk in the 1950s and ’60s, he was elected top officer of the Retail Clerks Union when he was twenty-four. His social justice unionism sought to advance wages while moving beyond collective bargaining to improve the conditions of the working-class majority, whether in a union or not. Young quickly gained a reputation for his independence, daring at times to publicly criticize the policies of the city’s powerful AFL-CIO leadership and tangle with the city’s political machine.

Editor Francis Ryan, whose introduction provides historical context, interviewed Young about his experiences working in the region’s retail and food industry, measuring the changes over time and the tangible impact that union membership had on workers. Young also describes the impact of Philadelphia’s deindustrialization in the 1970s and ’80s and recounts his activism for civil rights and the anti-war movements as well as on John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. 

The Memoirs of Wendell W. YoungIII  provides the most extensive labor history of late twentieth-century Philadelphia yet written.

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The MOVE Crisis In Philadelphia
Extremist Groups and Conflict Resolution
Hizkias Assefa
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990

In 1985, police bombed the Philadelphia community occupied by members of the black counterculture group MOVE (short for “The Movement”).  What began fifteen years earlier as a neighborhood squabble provoked by conflicting lifestyles ended in the destruction of sixty-one homes and the death of eleven residents - five of them children.  Some 250 people were left homeless.

Was this tragedy the only solution to the conflict?  Were John Africa and his morally and ecologically idealistic followers “too crazy” to negotiate with? 

The authors interviewed MOVE members and their neighbors, third-party intervenors, and representatives of the Philadelpia administration in the 1970s, and draw on their own knowledge of the field of dispute resolution.  More than simply describing a terrible event, they examine the dynamics of conflict, analyzing attempts at third-party mediation and the possibility of resolution without violence.  Their analytical approach provides insight into other major conflicts, such as the problems of perception and misperception in U.S. - Iranian relations.

In an age when terrorism and hostage-taking are regular features on the six o’clock news, their questioning of traditional views on negotiation with “irrational” adversaries is especially important.

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Nature's Entrepot
Philadelphia's Urban Sphere and Its Environmental Thresholds
Brian C. Black and Michael J. Chiarappa
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020
In Nature’s Entrepôt, the contributors view the planning, expansion, and sustainability of the urban environment of Philadelphia from its inception to the present. The chapters explore the history of the city, its natural resources, and the early naturalists who would influence future environmental policy. They then follow Philadelphia’s growing struggles with disease, sanitation, pollution, sewerage, transportation, population growth and decline, and other byproducts of urban expansion. Later chapters examine efforts in the modern era to preserve animal populations, self-sustaining food supplies, functional landscapes and urban planning, and environmental activism.

Philadelphia’s place as an early seat of government and major American metropolis has been well documented by leading historians. Now, Nature’s Entrepôt looks particularly to the human impact on this unique urban environment, examining its long history of industrial and infrastructure development, policy changes, environmental consciousness, and sustainability efforts that would come to influence not just this region but also the nation.
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"Other Sheep I Have" The Autobiography of Father Paul M. Washington
Paul Washington
Temple University Press, 1994

Father Paul M. Washington rose to local and nation prominence as an unflagging supporter of civil and women's rights. One of a handful of black priests in a traditionally white church, he fought for understanding among all people, eventually serving twenty-five years as the Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in an inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood. Though his ideas about equality often went against the views of the Episcopal church leadership, he rejected threats of withdrawn funding or retaliation to follow his heart and his theology.

Father Washington's story is a window of insight into the struggles for justice and dignity in the latter half of the twentieth century. In the tumultuous 1960s he supported the Black Power movement, the Black Panther Party, and many other groups working for peace and justice, providing meeting places and guidance. He often found himself in the midst of racial disturbances—the riots on Susquehanna Avenue in 1963 and on Columbia Avenue in 1964, in front of the Board of Education where high school students protested the Eurocentric curriculum, and outside the walls of Girard College where citizens and civic leaders demonstrated against the school's exclusion of black children. In the 1980s, he helped Philadelphia city officials negotiate with MOVE members and was a vocal supporter of Ramona Africa, fighting for her release from prison. It was in his church on the corner of 18th and Diamond Streets that women were first ordained a priests in the Episcopal church. And it was one of his congregation, Barbara Harris, who became the first female Episcopal bishop.

In his evocative voice, Father Washington describes the pivotal events of his life and how each impacted upon his evolving ideas of the relationship between religion and justice. Spanning seven decades, his account is at once an insightful and unique historical account of political action, of the reformation of the church, of the changing urban landscape, and of a life graced by leadership and spiritual enlightenment.

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The Outsider
Albert M. Greenfield and the Fall of the Protestant Establishment
Dan Rottenberg
Temple University Press, 2018
Albert M. Greenfield (1887-1967), an ambitious immigrant outsider, was courted for his business acumen by mayors, senators, governors, and presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. As this feisty Russian Jew built a business empire that encompassed real estate, stores (including Bonwit Teller and Tiffany's), hotels (including the Ben Franklin and the Bellevue-Stratford), banks, newspapers, transportation companies, and even the Loft Candy Corporation, he challenged the entrenched business elite. Greenfield was also instrumental in bringing both major political conventions to Philadelphia in 1948.
 
In The Outsider, veteran journalist and best-selling author Dan Rottenberg deftly chronicles the astonishing rises, falls, and countless reinventions of this savvy businessman. Greenfield's power allowed him to cross social, religious, and ethnic boundaries with impunity. He alarmed Philadelphia's conservative business and social leaders-Christians and Jews alike-some of whom plotted his downfall.
 
In this engaging account of Greenfield's fascinating life, Rottenberg demonstrates the extent to which one uniquely brilliant and energetic man pushed the boundaries of society's limitations on individual potential. The Outsider provides a microcosmic look at three twentieth-century upheavals: the rise of Jews as a crucial American business force, the decline of America's Protestant establishment, and the transformation of American cities.
[more]

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P Is For Philadelphia
Susan Korman
Temple University Press, 2005
P Is for Philadelphia is a unique, alphabetic tour of the city and the region, illustrated by the area's public school children, who participated in a city-wide drawing contest. From A is for Athlete to Z is for Zoo, all of the city's rich history is explored. P Is for Philadelphia includes entries on William Penn's arrival and historic treaty with the Delaware Indians, the city's heritage as the cradle of American liberty, as well as its food, sports teams, neighborhoods, and festivals. This book will have the kind of impact on Philadelphia and the region that few children's books ever have. It belongs on the bedside tables of every child in the Delaware Valley and the bookshelves of every visitor.
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The Perfect Square
A History of Rittenhouse Square
Nancy M. Heinzen
Temple University Press, 2009
Great cities and neighborhoods rise and fall, yet Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia has seized the imagination and envy of social climbers, urban planners, and novelists alike for two centuries. In The Perfect Square, Nancy Heinzen—a resident of Rittenhouse Square for over 40 years and an activist committed to its preservation—provides the first full-length social history of this public urban space.

One of the five squares William Penn established when he founded the city, the southwest-situated Rittenhouse Square has transformed from a marshy plot surrounded by brickyards and workers’ shanties into the epicenter of Philadelphia high society. A keystone of center city Philadelphia, it was once home to great dynasties, elegant mansions, and grand dames of the Victorian era. Today it is lined with million-dollar high-rise condominiums, where nouveau-riche entrepreneurs and descendants of ethnic immigrants live side-by-side.

Heinzen lovingly chronicles this urban space’s development and growth, illustrating that not only is Rittenhouse Square unique, but so is the combination of human events and relationships that have created and sustained it.

Painstakingly researched and generously illustrated with black-and-white photos from public archives, The Perfect Square will appeal to lay readers interested in history, to professional historians and urban planners, and to the thousands of new residents who have settled on or near Rittenhouse Square since the dawn of the 21st century.
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Philadelphia
A Brief History
Roger D. Simon
Temple University Press, 2017

Understanding Philadelphia’s history requires that we understand that nothing is inevitable; history is not made by abstract forces, but by the decisions of real individuals as they conduct their lives. With its insightful analysis and engaging prose, Philadelphia provides an accessible and readable overview of the history of the Quaker City from its founding by William Penn to the deindustrialization and gentrification of the early twenty-first century. Roger Simon asserts that the history of Philadelphia is a story of the efforts to sustain economic prosperity while fulfilling community needs, and the continued tension between those priorities.

Philadelphia devotes considerable attention to the evolving physical development of the city and to the social conditions and class structure of the people. Three dozen maps and illustrations enrich this edition, which has been fully updated and revised to reflect new scholarship on Philadelphia’s role in the post-industrial present and the diverse communities that incorporated women and minorities into the economic and social fabric of the city. 

Published in association with the Pennsylvania Historical Association

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Philadelphia and the Development of Americanist Archaeology
Edited by Don Fowler and David R. Wilcox
University of Alabama Press, 2003

For two and a half centuries, Philadelphians have been actively involved in archaeological research. In particular, three vital and venerable cultural institutions—the American Philosophical Society (founded 1743), the Academy of Natural Sciences (founded 1812), and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (founded 1893)—have nurtured the "systematic study of antiquities." 

The ten essays in this volume focus on Philadelphians who were concerned with Americanist archaeology, or the "archaeology of the New World." As Europeans, and later, Euroamericans, spread across North, Central, and South America in the 16th through the 19th centuries, they encountered a bewildering variety of native peoples, customs, and languages, as well as tens of thousands of ancient ruins attesting to a long endemic culture history of obvious complexity. 

The essays examine most of the key players in the development of the methods to study these phenomena. Enlightenment scholars such as Benjamin Smith Barton, Peter S. Duponceau, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Garrison Brinton, John Wesley Powell, and Benjamin Rush all contributed to the surge of scientific study of America's prehistoric cultures. So did two pioneering women who have received scant attention to date—Sara Yorke Stevenson and Lucy W. Wilson—but whose work is well treated in this study. Other essays detail the varied contributions of C. C. Abbott, Frank Hamilton Cushing, Clarence B. Moore, Edgar Lee Hewett, and John L. Cotter. This volume should stimulate continued interest in the origins and history of archaeology and the relationship of Philadelphia patrons and institutions to scientific inquiry.


 

[more]

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Philadelphia Battlefields
Disruptive Campaigns and Upset Elections in a Changing City
John Kromer
Temple University Press, 2020

Should the surprisingly successful outcomes achieved by outsider candidates in Philadelphia elections be interpreted as representing fundamental changes in the local political environment, or simply as one-off victories, based largely on serendipitous circumstances that advanced individual political careers? John Kromer’s insightful Philadelphia Battlefields considers key local campaigns undertaken from 1951 to 2019 that were extraordinarily successful despite the opposition of the city’s political establishment. 

Kromer draws on election data and data-mapping tools that explain these upset elections as well as the social, economic, and demographic trends that influenced them to tell the story of why these campaign strategies were successful. He deftly analyzes urban political dynamics through case studies of newcomer Rebecca Rhynhart’s landslide victory over a veteran incumbent for Philadelphia City Controller; activist Chaka Fattah’s effective use of grassroots organizing skills to win a seat in Congress; and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez’s hard-fought struggle to become the first Hispanic woman to win a City Council seat, among others. 

Philadelphia Battlefields shows how these candidates’ efforts to increase civic engagement, improve municipal governance, and become part of a new generation of political leadership at the local and state level were critical to their successes.

[more]

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Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting
A City’s Struggle against an Epithet
Brett H. Mandel
Temple University Press, 2023
More than a century after muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens derided the city of Philadelphia as being “corrupt and contented,” Philadelphia struggles to rise above this unfortunate characterization. Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consentingis the story of a city’s confrontation with a history that threatens its future. Author Brett Mandel, who has been a reform-oriented government official and political insider, provides a detailed account of the corruption investigation of John Dougherty, one of the city’s most powerful political figures, in order to expose and explore networks of corruption. 
 
He examines the costs of corruption, both financial and nonpecuniary, and considers the opportunity cost that corruption imposes. Mandel explores the nature and development of Philadelphia’s unique culture of corruption, emphasizing how machine politics and self-dealing are entwined with city history, creating a culture that allows corruption to thrive. In addition, he provides practical, achievable policies and actions that can produce positive change in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
 
Mandel seeks to provide insight into how our collective actions or inattention give consent to the corruption, as well as its roots and effects, and the reasons for its persistence. Philadelphia, Corrupt and Consenting is a critique, but above all, it is a call to action.
 
[more]

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Philadelphia
Finding the Hidden City
Joseph E. B. Elliott
Temple University Press, 2017

Philadelphia possesses an exceptionally large number of places that have almost disappeared—from workshops and factories to sporting clubs and societies, synagogues, churches, theaters, and railroad lines. In Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City, urban observers Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall uncover the contemporary essence of one of America’s oldest cities. Working with accomplished architectural photographer Joseph Elliott, they explore secret places in familiar locations, such as the Metropolitan Opera House on North Broad Street, the Divine Lorraine Hotel, Reading Railroad, Disston Saw Works in Tacony, and mysterious parts of City Hall.

Much of the real Philadelphia is concealed behind facades. Philadelphia artfully reveals its urban secrets. Rather than a nostalgic elegy to loss and urban decline, Philadelphia exposes the city’s vivid layers and living ruins. The authors connect Philadelphia’s idiosyncratic history, culture, and people to develop an alternative theory of American urbanism, and place the city in American urban history. The journey here is as much visual as it is literary; Joseph Elliott’s sumptuous photographs reveal the city's elemental beauty.

[more]

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The Philadelphia Mummers
Building Community Through Play
Patricia Anne Masters
Temple University Press, 2007

Every New Year's Day since 1901, the Philadelphia Mummers have presented a spectacular show of shows that raucously snakes and shimmies its way through city streets. The Mummers Parade features music, dance, comedy, and mime, along with dazzling costumes and floats. Although the lavish event is now televised to a wide audience, it is still rooted in the same neighborhoods where it began.

This book explores the community created and annually reaffirmed by the Philadelphia Mummers. The author spent more than five years with the Mummers, observing their lives and rituals as she took part in their preparations and parades. Writing with the fascination of a sociologist and the excitement of a participant, Masters examines the Mummers from their beginnings. Through the prism of their century-long history, we can see how communities retain their identities and how they are affected by larger cultural trends.

[more]

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The Philadelphia Reader
Robert Huber
Temple University Press, 2006
Do you love Philadelphia? Do you love good writing? Well, this is the book for you. It's about the people of Philadelphia--the good, the fine, and the imperfect. Yes, the sports heroes are here--Mike Schmidt, Julius ("Dr. J.") Erving. And the politicians--Ed Rendell, John Street. And the moguls--Brian Roberts, Comcast honcho. And the would-be moguls--Mark Yagalla, world-class embezzler. And so many more, including--writing in their own words--Terry Gross, Patti LaBelle, W. Wilson Goode, Sr., Judy Wicks, Judith Rodin, and Smarty Jones (proving that this horse is no one-trick pony). And so many more--25 of them in all. The people--and the horse--who have meant something to this city during the last 20 years. Ripped from the pages of Philadelphia magazine (well, OK, carefully removed and lovingly pasted into this book), here are profiles of the people who made an era.
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The Problem of Jobs
Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia
Guian A. McKee
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Contesting claims that postwar American liberalism retreated from fights against unemployment and economic inequality, The Problem of Jobs reveals that such efforts did not collapse after the New Deal but instead began to flourish at the local, rather than the national, level.

With a focus on Philadelphia, this volume illuminates the central role of these local political and policy struggles in shaping the fortunes of city and citizen alike. In the process, it tells the remarkable story of how Philadelphia’s policymakers and community activists energetically worked to challenge deindustrialization through an innovative series of job retention initiatives, training programs, inner-city business development projects, and early affirmative action programs. Without ignoring the failure of Philadelphians to combat institutionalized racism, Guian McKee's account of their surprising success draws a portrait of American liberalism that evinces a potency not usually associated with the postwar era. Ultimately interpreting economic decline as an arena for intervention rather than a historical inevitability, The Problem of Jobs serves as a timely reminder of policy’s potential to combat injustice.
 
[more]

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Protecting Home
Class, Race, and Masculinity in Boys' Baseball
Grasmuck, Sherri
Rutgers University Press, 2005

What can neighborhood baseball tell us about class and gender cultures, urban change, and the ways that communities value public space? Through a close exploration of a boys’ baseball league in a gentrifying neighborhood of Philadelphia, sociologist Sherri Grasmuck reveals the accommodations and tensions that characterize multicultural encounters in contemporary American public life. Based on years of ethnographic observation and interviews with children, parents, and coaches, Protecting Home offers an analysis of the factors that account for racial accommodation in a space that was previously known for racial conflict and exclusion. Grasmuck argues that the institutional arrangements and social characteristics of children’s baseball create a cooperative environment for the negotiation of social, cultural, and class differences.

Chapters explore coaching styles, parental involvement, institutional politics, parent-child relations, and children’s experiences. Grasmuck identifies differences in the ways that the mostly white, working-class “old-timers” and the racially diverse, professional newcomers relate to the neighborhood. These distinctions reflect a competing sense of cultural values related to individual responsibility toward public space, group solidarity, appropriate masculine identities, and how best to promote children’s interests—a contrast between “hierarchical communalism” and “child-centered individualism.”

Through an innovative combination of narrative approaches, this book succeeds both in capturing the immediacy of boys’ interaction at the playing field and in contributing to sophisticated theoretical debates in urban studies, the sociology of childhood, and masculinity studies.

[more]

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Real Philly History, Real Fast
Fascinating Facts and Interesting Oddities about the City's Heroes and Historic Sites
Jim Murphy
Temple University Press, 2021

Philadelphia is known as the home of vibrant colonial history: the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall. But the City of Brotherly Love is also home to—and less well known for—its quirky history. The country’s first quarantine station was located here. One of Philly’s clocks has a face larger than Big Ben’s in London. And a unique skill of Black abolitionist James Forten saved him from a life of West Indian servitude (and “Forten” was not even his real name).  

In Real Philly History, Real Fast, Jim Murphy provides an original tour of the city. He highlights artistic gems including the Dream Garden Tiffany mosaic and Isaiah Zagar’s glittering Magic Gardens. He profiles intriguing historical figures from military leader Commodore Barry to civil rights heroes like Lucretia Mott. Murphy also explores neighborhoods from Chinatown to the Italian Market and the unique architectural details of Carpenters’ Hall and the PSFS building.  

Each chapter provides a pithy story about a historical person or site, along with bullet points featuring interesting oddities, and nearby attractions along with fun facts such as: Why there are so many churches? What is the Philadelphia Eagles’ connection to the U.S. Custom House? Which famous artist may have been Philadelphia’s first nude model? And where was the Liberty Bell secretly damaged? (We didn’t do it!)   

This is Philly history in bites that are as digestible as a soft pretzel with mustard.

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Reforming Philadelphia, 1682–2022
Richardson Dilworth
Temple University Press, 2023

Reforming Philadelphia examines the cyclical efforts of insurgents to change the city’s government over nearly 350 years. Political scientist Richardson Dilworth tracks reformers as they create a new purpose for the city or reshape the government to reflect emerging ideas. Some wish to thwart the “corrupt machine,” while others seek to gain control of the government via elections. These actors formed coalitions and organizations that disrupted the status quo in the hope of transforming the city (and perhaps also enriching themselves).

Dilworth addresses Philadelphia’s early development through the present day, including momentous changes from its new city charter in 1885 and the Republican machine that emerged around the same time to its transformation to a Democratic stronghold in the 1950s, when the city also experienced a racial transition. Focusing primarily on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Dilworth evaluates the terms of Mayors Frank Rizzo, Wilson Goode, and Ed Rendell, as well as John Street, Michael Nutter, and Jim Kenney to illustrate how power and resistance function, and how Philadelphia’s political history and reform cycles offer a conceptual model that can easily be applied to other cities.

Reforming Philadelphia provides a new framework for understanding the evolving relationship between national politics and local, city politics.

[more]

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Reshaping Ethnic Relations
Immigrants in a Divided City
Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider
Temple University Press, 1994

What happens when people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds come together to live and work in the same neighborhood? Unlike other examinations of this question that focus on one group, this book looks at the interaction of both old and new immigrant populations in three Philadelphia neighborhoods.

In this ethnographic study, which is a result of the Ford Foundation-funded Changing Relations: Newcomers and Established Residents in Philadelphia Project, the authors consider five primary groups—whites, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Eastern Europeans—in Olney, Kensington, and Port Richmond. Focusing on the interaction of racial, ethnic, and immigrant communities in schools, organized community celebrations and social events, the workplace, shopping areas, and neighborhood politics, the authors show that the contradictions of individual beliefs, actions, and strategies of power are not easily resolved.

By examining the local, citywide, and national economy and government, previous human relations efforts, changing immigration patterns, community-level power structures, real estate turnover, and gentrification, the authors evaluate current strategies to create harmony in communities with an ever-changing mix of established residents and newly arrived immigrants. Through their findings, Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider develop better alternatives that will encourage understanding and cooperation among different racial and ethnic groups sharing their lives and neighborhoods.

[more]

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Salut!
France Meets Philadelphia
Lynn Miller and Therese Dolan
Temple University Press, 2021

One highly visible example of French influence on the city of Philadelphia is the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, modeled on the Champs-Élysées. In Salut!, Lynn Miller and Therese Dolan trace the fruitful, three-centuries-long relationship between the City of Brotherly Love and France. This detailed volume illustrates the effect of Huguenots settling in Philadelphia and 18-year-old William Penn visiting Paris, all the way up through more recent cultural offerings that have helped make the city the distinctive urban center it is today. 

Salut! provides a magnifique history of Philadelphia seen through a particular cultural lens. The authors chronicle the French influence during colonial and revolutionary times. They highlight the contributions of nineteenth-century French philanthropists, such as Stephen Girard and the Dupont family. And they showcase the city’s vibrant visual arts community featuring works from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation, and the Joan of Arc sculpture, as well as studies of artists Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. There is also a profile of renowned Le Bec-Fin chef Georges Perrier, who made Philadelphia a renowned culinary destination in the twentieth century.

With lavish illustrations and enthusiastic text, Salut!celebrates a potpourri of all things French in the Philadelphia region.

[more]

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Snowshoeing Through Sewers
Adventures in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia
Michael Aaron Rockland
Rutgers University Press, 2008
When Daniel Boone heard a neighbor's dog bark, he moved West. But when there's no Wild West left, where is adventure to be found? Michael Aaron Rockland looks for adventure in the megalopolis, "not where no one has been but where no one wishes to go . . . across traffic-clogged cities, the parking lots of wall-to-wall suburban malls, and the sinister waterways that seep through rusting industrial sites."

In these ten alternately poetic and comic tales of adventure in the New York/Philadelphia corridor, the most densely populated chunk of America, Rockland walks and bikes areas meant only for cars and paddles through waters capable of dissolving canoes. He hikes the length of New York's Broadway, camps in New York City, treks across Philadelphia, pedals among the tractor trailers of Route 1 in New Jersey, and paddles around Manhattan and through the dark tunnels under Trenton.

Whereas Henry David Thoreau built his cabin on Walden Pond to get out of town, for Rockland, the challenge is to head into town. As he writes, "in the late twentieth century, a weed and trash-filled city lot . . . may be a better place than the wilderness to contemplate one's relationship to nature."
[more]

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Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression
Philadelphia's African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890-1940
Robert Gregg
Temple University Press, 1998
While assuming the importance of  churches within black communities, social historians generally have not studied them directly or have treated the black denominations as a single unit. Gregg focuses on the African Methodist churches and churchgoers in Philadelphia during the Great Migration and the concurrent rise of black ghettoes in the city to show the variety and richness of African American culture at that time.
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Spy Sites of Philadelphia
A Guide to the Region's Secret History
H. Keith Melton
Georgetown University Press

An illustrated guide to the history of espionage in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley.

Philadelphia became a battleground for spies as George Washington’s Patriot army in nearby Valley Forge struggled to survive the winter of 1776-77. In the centuries that followed—through the Civil War, the rise of fascism and communism in the twentieth century, and today’s fight against terrorism—the city has been home to international intrigue and some of America’s most celebrated spies.

Spy Sites of Philadelphia takes readers inside this shadowy world to reveal the places and people of Philadelphia’s hidden history. These fascinating entries portray details of stolen secrets, clandestine meetings, and covert communications through every era of American history. Along the way, readers will meet both heroes and villains whose daring deceptions helped shape the nation.

Authors H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace weave incredible true stories of courage and deceit that rival even the best spy fiction. Featuring over 150 spy sites in Philadelphia and its neighboring towns and counties, this illustrated guide invites readers to follow in the footsteps of moles and sleuths.

Authoritative, entertaining, and informative, Spy Sites of Philadelphia is a must-have guidebook to the espionage history of the region.

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St. Peter's Church
Faith in Action for 250 Years
Cornelia Frances Biddle
Temple University Press, 2011

Celebrating 250 years, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, has witnessed a rich mixture of people and events that reflect critical periods of American political and cultural history. George Washington worshiped here as did abolitionists and slave holders, Whigs, Democrats, and Republicans. St. Peter's was a point of first contact for thousands of immigrants, and the church opened schools for immigrants to help them to acculturate to life in Philadelphia.

Opening a window onto colonial Philadelphia and the nation's histories, St. Peter's Church is a glorious testament to this National Historic Landmark. In addition to the stories and hundreds of black-and-white and color photographs, this handsome volume provides a history of the grounds, the churchyard, and the church itself-a classic example of eighteenth-century Philadelphia design that later incorporated the work of renown architects William Strickland, Thomas U. Walter, and Frank Furness.

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Still Philadelphia
Fredric Miller
Temple University Press, 1983

This is a book about Philadelphia and about photography, but it is not the usual book about either. On one level, this is the pictorial story of a great industrial metropolis in transition. It is the story of a railroad city, a city of trolleys and subways and horse-drawn vehicles, as it gradually succumbed to the automobile. It is the story of a city filled with neighborhood industry giving way to suburbs, to commuter travel, and to a change in the very nature of work. It is the story of a city spreading out, expanding and doubling in population in fifty years. It is the story of urban exuberance and vitality where ethnic groups mixed and mingled, but it is also the story of slums and poverty, crime and conflict. A Philadelphia family album, filled with pictures of ordinary people, Still Philadelphia focuses on the city of immigrants and industry, not on the lives and houses of the wealthy.

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Strange Philadelphia
Stories from the City of Brotherly Love
Lou Harry
Temple University Press, 1995

Most history books paint Philadelphia as a place of revolutionary greatness, but there exists a forgotten, alternative history of the City of Brotherly Love. For example, did you know that

when Ben Franklin was Deputy Postmaster General for the American colonies, he ignored rival printers' requests for mailing priveleges. Instead, he loaded down the mail carriers with his own papers and enjoyed the use of a private delivery system that cut off the competition.


the Slinky was created by a marine engineer stationed in Philadelphia, who later became an evangelist and Bible salesman in Bolivia, leaving behind his wife, his children, and the Slinky fortune.


50,000 people gathered in Fairmount Park in 1953 hoping to see a vision of the Virgin Mary, who three schoolgirls claimed to have seen near a park bush. Though the Blessed Mother never did appear, visitors to the site left behind offerings of rosaries, flowers, crutches, and over $6,000.


while 11,000 spectators sat in the Spectrum waiting for the Ice Capades to begin, 32-mile-an-hour winds blew a chunk of the roof off the city's newly constructed stadium.


Find these and a hundred more "strange" and fascinating stories in this collection of vignettes. These pieces of the past can't be found in history books—they are surprising side bars to the famous and not-so-famous events and people of historical Philadelphia.

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SUBURB IN THE CITY
CHESTNUT HILL, PHILDELPHIA, 1850-1990
DAVID R. CONTOSTA
The Ohio State University Press, 1995

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Tampico
A Novel
By Toby Olson
University of Texas Press, 2008

Four old men—John, Gino, Larry, and Frank—have been warehoused at "the Manor," a long-eroded home for the forgotten. The men take turns telling stories, stalling death as they relive pivotal parts of their pasts. Outside, the cliff crumbles and a lighthouse slips toward the sea.

John, in particular, enthralls the others with his tale of Tampico, Mexico, where he met an Indian woman named Chepa who owned a house at the edge of a mountain wilderness. She was his first love—and his first lesson in the dangers of foreign intrigue. But his is not the only memory haunted by mysteries born in Mexico. Sick of waiting for death, stirred by the shifting ground beneath their feet, the Manor's residents finally resolve to quit that place and head out for Tampico.

With inexorable pull, and exquisite scenes that could only come from Toby Olson, Tampico celebrates a sublime band of calaveras, "those skeleton messengers of mortality," who seek self-discovery even as their lives are ending.

[more]

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Tasting Freedom
Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America
Daniel R. Biddle
Temple University Press, 2017

 Octavius Valentine Catto was an orator who shared stages with Frederick Douglass, a second baseman on Philadelphia’s best black baseball team, a teacher at the city’s finest black school and an activist who fought in the state capital and on the streets for equal rights. With his racially-charged murder, the nation lost a civil rights pioneer—one who risked his life a century before Selma and Birmingham. 

In Tasting Freedom Murray Dubin and Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Biddle painstakingly chronicle the life of this charismatic black leader—a “free” black whose freedom was in name only. Born in the American south, where slavery permeated everyday life, he moved north where he joined the fight to be truly free—free to vote, go to school, ride on streetcars, play baseball and even participate in July 4th celebrations.   

Catto electrified a biracial audience in 1864 when he proclaimed, “There must come a change,” calling on free men and women to act and educate the newly freed slaves. With a group of other African Americans who called themselves a “band of brothers,” they challenged one injustice after another. Tasting Freedom presents the little-known stories of Catto and the men and women who struggled to change America.

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Translingual Inheritance
Language Diversity in Early National Philadelphia
Elizabeth Kimball
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021
Honorable Mention, Rhetoric Society of America Book Award

Translingual Inheritance tells a new story of the early days of democracy in the United States, when English had not yet become the only dominant language. Drawing on translingual theory, which exposes how language use contrasts with the political constructions of named languages, Elizabeth Kimball argues that Philadelphians developed complex metalinguistic conceptions of what language is and how it mattered in their relations. In-depth chapters introduce the democratically active communities of Philadelphia between 1750 and 1830 and introduce the three most populous: Germans, Quakers (the Society of Friends), and African Americans. These communities had ways of knowing and using their own languages to create identities and serve the common good outside of English. They used these practices to articulate plans and pedagogies for schools, exercise their faith, and express the promise of the young democracy. Kimball draws on primary sources and archival texts that have been little seen or considered to show how citizens consciously took on the question of language and its place in building their young country and how such practice is at the root of what made democracy possible.
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Unveiled Voices, Unvarnished Memories
The Cromwell Family in Slavery and Segregation, 1692-1972
Adelaide M. Cromwell
University of Missouri Press, 2006
When an industrious slave named Willis Hodges Cromwell earned the money to obtain liberty for his wife—who then bought freedom for him and for their children—he set in motion a family saga that resounds today. His youngest son, John Wesley Cromwell, became an educator, lawyer, and newspaper publisher—and one of the most influential men of letters in the generation that bridged Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois. Now, in Unveiled Voices, Unvarnished Memories, his granddaughter, Adelaide M. Cromwell, documents the journey of her family from the slave marts of Annapolis to achievements in a variety of learned professions.
John W. Cromwell began the family archives from which this book is drawn—letters and documents that provide an unprecedented view of how one black family thought, strived, and survived in American society from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. These papers reflect intimate thoughts about such topics as national and local leaders, moral behavior, color consciousness, and the challenges of everyday life in a racist society. They also convey a wealth of rich insights on the burdens that black parents’ demands for achievement placed on their children, the frequently bitter rivalries within the intellectual class of the African American community, and the negative impact on African American women of sexism in a world dominated by black men whose own hold on respect was tentative at best.
The voices gathered here give readers an inside look at the formation and networks of the African American elite, as John Cromwell forged friendships with such figures as journalist John E. Bruce and the Reverend Theophilus Gould Steward. Letters with those two faithfully depict the forces that shaped the worldview of the small but steadily expanding community of African American intellectuals who helped transform the nation’s attitudes and policies on race, and whose unguarded comments on a wide range of matters will be of particular interest to social historians. Additional correspondence between John and his son, John Jr., brings the family story into modern times.
Unveiled Voices, Unvarnished Memories is a rare look at the public and private world of individuals who refused to be circumscribed by racism and the ghetto while pursuing their own well-being. Its narrative depth breaks new ground in African American history and offers a unique primary source for that community.
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Upon the Ruins of Liberty
Slavery, the President's House at Independence National Historical Park, and Public Memory
Roger C. Aden
Temple University Press, 2014
The 2002 revelation that George Washington kept slaves in his executive mansion at Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park in the 1790s prompted an eight-year controversy about the role of slavery in America's commemorative landscape. When the President's House installation opened in 2010, it became the first federal property to feature a slave memorial.
 
In Upon the Ruins of Liberty, Roger Aden offers a compelling account that explores the development of this important historic site and how history, space, and public memory intersected with contemporary racial politics. Aden constructs this engrossing tale by drawing on archival material and interviews with principal figures in the controversy-including historian Ed Lawler, site activist Michael Coard, and site designer Emanuel Kelly.
 
Upon the Ruins of Liberty chronicles the politically-charged efforts to create a fitting tribute to the place where George Washington (and later, John Adams) shaped the presidency while denying freedom to the nine enslaved Africans in his household. From design to execution, the plans prompted advocates to embrace stories informed by race, and address difficulties that included how to handle the results of the site excavation. As such, this landmark project raised concerns and provided lessons about the role of public memory and how places are made to shape the nation's identity.
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The Urban Crucible
Gary B. Nash
Harvard University Press, 1986
The Urban Crucible boldly reinterprets colonial life and the origins of the American Revolution. Through a century-long history of three seaport towns—Boston, New York, and Philadelphia—Gary Nash discovers subtle changes in social and political awareness and describes the coming of the revolution through popular collective action and challenges to rule by custom, law and divine will. A reordering of political power required a new consciousness to challenge the model of social relations inherited from the past and defended by higher classes. While retaining all the main points of analysis and interpretation, the author has reduced the full complement of statistics, sources, and technical data contained in the original edition to serve the needs of general readers and undergraduates.
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VIOLENT DEATH IN THE CITY
SUICIDE, ACCIDENT, AND MURDER IN NINETEE
ROGER LANE
The Ohio State University Press, 1999

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Violent Death in the City
Suicide, Accident, and Murder in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia
Roger Lane
Harvard University Press, 1979

Roger Lane uses the statistics on violent death in Philadelphia from 1839 to 1901 to study the behavior of the living. His extensive research into murder, suicide, and accident rates in Philadelphia provides an excellent factual foundation for his theories. A computerized study of every homicide indictment during the sixty-two years covered is the source of the most detailed information. Analysis of suicide and accident statistics reveals differences in behavior patterns between the sexes, the races, young and old, professional and laborer, native and immigrant, and how these patterns changed overtime.

Using both these group differences and the changing overall incidence of the three forms of death, Lane synthesizes a comprehensive theory of the influences of industrial urbanization on social behavior. He believes that the demands of the rising industrial system, as transmitted through factory, school, and bureaucracy, combined to socialize city dwellers in new ways, to raise the rate of suicide, and to lower rates of simple accident and murder. Finally, Lane suggests a relation between these developments and the violent disorder in the postindustrial city, which has lost the older mechanisms of socialization without finding any effective new ones. Original and probing, Lane's combination of statistics and theory makes this a significant new work in social, urban, and medical history.

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Wobblies on the Waterfront
Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia
Peter Cole
University of Illinois Press, 2007
 
During the 1910s and 1920s, the Philadelphia waterfront was home to the most durable interracial, multiethnic union seen in the United States prior to the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) era. For much of its time, Local 8's majority was African American and included immigrants from Eastern Europe as well as many Irish Americans. In this important study, Peter Cole examines how Local 8, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), accomplished what no other did at the time. He also shows how race was central not only to the rise but also to the decline of Local 8, as increasing racial tensions were manipulated by employers and federal agents bent on the union's destruction.
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