The Little Founder That Could: William Penn in Myth, Memory, and Material Culture

Winterthur’s collection holds a treasure trove of objects depicting or commemorating William Penn and the founding era of Pennsylvania. These material goods, including maps,  an urn, prints, toy tea sets, a chair, and boxes, served important functions in creating Pennsylvania origin stories that are part true, part imagined. How did William Penn use objects to represent Pennsylvania to the broader colonial world? How did his children and grandchildren craft a family history through images and objects? And how have later craftspeople and merchants used the image of Penn to sell history and to sell goods?

Join us next Thursday, June 6, at 12:15 for the lunchtime lecture “The Little Founder That Could: William Penn in Myth, Memory, and Material Culture” to explore these and other questions. Catharine Dann Roeber, curatorial intern, will highlight the processes of relic-making and uncover the role such objects have played in crafting a public history for Pennsylvania from the seventeenth century to today.

Here are a few highlights of objects that will be featured in the lecture:

Layout 1Object credits clockwise: Medallion. Wedgewood Factory. Hanley, England, 1900–1960. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1962.0546; A MAP OF THE IMPROVED PART OF THE PROVINCE OF PENNSILVANIA IN AMERICA. Thomas Holme. London, England, c. 1701–05. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1963.0853; Trade card. A.C. Yates & Co. Philadelphia, 1882. Private Collection; Textile. England, 1785–90. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1969.3841

Post by: Catharine Dann Roeber, PhD, curatorial intern at Winterthur Museum.

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