Category Archives: Library

The Day the Earth Shook

One-hundred-thirty years ago on August 31, 1886, Charleston, South Carolina, suffered a natural disaster that altered its cityscape once again. In its recent past, the city had endured considerable damage, first from the Union bombardment and capture in the Civil … Continue reading

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Shake Your Groove Thing

Get ready to tap your toes with our newest online exhibit, Shall We Dance? Three Centuries of Dance in America.  The beauty of virtual shows is the ability to breathe new life into a previous exhibit with supplemental material and … Continue reading

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A Blog Post Helps Solve an Art Mystery

The March blog post “Sleuthing in Rare Books to Reveal and Art Lover’s Interest” presented the collection of William Barnes Bement (1817–1897). Bement was a prominent Philadelphia industrialist and avid art collector. However, his descendants sold off his art collection … Continue reading

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A Priestly Treasure Trove of Ceramics

Around the turn of the 20th century, the Reverend Edward McClure, a Roman Catholic priest in Brockton, Massachusetts, commissioned photos of his house.  Lovingly bound in red morocco, the album cover proudly proclaims “Home of Father McClure” in gilt lettering.  … Continue reading

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Sleuthing in Rare Books to Reveal an Art Lover’s Interest, Part Two

The works of art in my possession were not purchased with a view to selfishly enjoying them; for, believing that collections of good pictures serve as educators in art and tend to foster a refined and healthful taste, I have … Continue reading

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The Custom of New Year’s Calling

Looking to kick the New Year off right? Why not skip the bacchanalian revelry of New Year’s Eve and re-create the centuries-old custom of calling on friends on New Year’s Day? Popular in the 1800s, calling evolved from a Dutch … Continue reading

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Strawbridge and Clothier’s Game of Consumerism

The youth demographic—the golden ticket in marketing. Every retailer looks to target this market to ensure future business success. It’s never more apparent than during the holidays when shopping and consumerism crescendo to an all-time high. Before social media, online … Continue reading

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Back of the House and Beyond: The Millionaire’s Household, 1900–1942

For a number of years, Maggie Lidz, Winterthur’s recently retired estate historian, and I have been working on a book that takes an in-depth look at the rarely explored spaces in large American houses and estates.  It has taken a … Continue reading

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Playing with Fire

“Fire engines gave us the same thrill that children have felt in all times at the sight of running horses accompanied by the clanging of bells.” –Samuel Canby Rumford  Samuel Canby Rumford grew up in a house on the corner … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Archibald Hamilton Rowan: Textile Manufacturer on the Banks of the Brandywine

In the summer of 1795, exiled Irishman Archibald Hamilton Rowan arrived in Philadelphia, his journey to America quite an extraordinary one. Born in 1751 into an Irish family of privilege, he was raised by his wealthy English grandfather and educated … Continue reading

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