September 7, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - Most books in the State Library of Pennsylvania sit available on the shelves when they have not been borrowed by a reader. But other volumes - a book from 1493, prints from the shop of Benjamin Franklin, the debut of Spider-Man - are locked in vaults, where they are kept in the dark at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, accessible to only a few people who have a fingerprint programmed to open the doors. They are part of the rare collections library, a set of about 20,000 items that merit special protection.
September 5, 2016
As Philadelphians honor the contributions and achievements of the American worker on Labor Day, consider the story of the International Typographical Union, one of the oldest such organizations in the country. Many early settlers counted the new world's lack of the printed word as a benefit. "I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing. . . . God keep us from both," professed William Berkeley, a colonial governor, in 1671. For these logophobes, Philadelphia was no respite.
September 4, 2016 |
A Chester County school district's controversial plan to tear down a Civil War-era barn on land it recently acquired has been put on hold, as administrators consider possible uses for the two-story structure. The Phoenixville Area School District had applied for a demolition permit because the barn needs repairs to its foundation, among other fixes, and officials were concerned it could be a liability. This week, however, the district's insurance provider confirmed that the building is covered by liability insurance.
August 22, 2016
'Today has been a memorable day and I thank God I have been spared to see it. The day was religiously observed, all the churches were open. We had quite a jubilee in the evening. " And so began the 1863 diary of Emilie Davis, a young free black woman living in Philadelphia, as she recounted the Emancipation Proclamation. Davis' three pocket diaries - each no larger than a smartphone - span the years 1863, 1864, and 1865. Purchased by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1999, the diaries provide a remarkable glimpse of Philadelphia's free black community during the Civil War. "Few diaries by young women of this period survive, even fewer from African American women," said Tamara Gaskell, public historian in residence at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities.
May 31, 2016
By Ron Grossman Just as we have on previous Memorial Days, my wife and I will play "Taps" Monday in a small-town cemetery. Our habit began after we read an editorial about Americans losing sight of the holiday's meaning, thinking of it as the seasonal start of trips to picnic grounds and summer cottages. That idea wasn't new, but it was accompanied by a story about the dwindling ranks of buglers. Now, there was a problem with which we could help out. We play the harmonica, which can mimic a bugle's mournful sound.
May 30, 2016 |
The tree was a living link to more than 160 years of Philadelphia history, and a favorite spot for tourists and history buffs. Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes - all Civil War generals and U.S. presidents - once sheltered beneath its branches at Laurel Hill Cemetery in the city's East Falls section. Legendary Union Gens. Philip Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and Dan Sickles were there, too, on the same gentle slope overlooking the Schuylkill.
May 11, 2016
It typically takes less than three hours to travel the 140 miles between Philadelphia and Gettysburg. But it took years to reach the conclusion that artifacts in the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia's collection should be moved to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The collection hasn't had a permanent home since 2008, when a mansion at 18th and Pine Streets that served as the museum closed. The plan then was to build a more fitting facility to serve as a museum, but it never happened.
May 10, 2016 |
At the press event a few weeks ago heralding Civil War , Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige talked Black Panther. "(Directors) Joe and Anthony Russo and our screenwriters thought it would be very valuable to have somebody that was (new) and wasn't quite as invested (in the conflict)," Feige said. "We wanted somebody who, perhaps, was invested, but didn't have allegiance to any one side-who was essentially in it for very personal reasons, himself. "We knew we wanted to make a 'Black Panther' movie at some point, but at that time we weren't exactly sure when it would be," Feige continued.
May 9, 2016
Allen C. Guelzo is a professor of history at Gettysburg College They had just glued the world back together, and within a year it was threatening to come apart again. That might sound like a description of the Arab Spring, or even the fall of the Soviet Union. In fact, it's what happened 150 years ago in the United States. The Civil War had been brought to a close, slavery abolished, and the American Union restored. Sort of. The problem was that the postwar Reconstruction that followed the collapse of the Confederacy and the death of Abraham Lincoln turned out to be a good deal harder to manage, or even imagine, than anyone had dreamt.
May 5, 2016 |
LOS ANGELES - Paul Bettany has had an impressive career, with Academy Award-worthy fare like A Beautiful Mind on his resumé - yet he says he might be most impressed by the achievement of his latest film, Captain America: Civil War . "You watch these and you see that they're incredibly difficult films to make," said Bettany, who plays The Vision. "I have directed a movie and I wouldn't have the first clue how to go about making a movie with this many moving parts. The Russo brothers did a great job. " Bettany's character has grown from the voice of Jarvis in 2008's Iron Man to a full, evolving character in last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron , and that was always part of the famous long-range vision of Marvel Studios.