Sunday, November 29, 2015

POSTED: Saturday, August 31, 2013, 6:00 AM
Maggie Kuhn, outside her home in April 1975. (Inquirer collection)

Margaret Eliza Kuhn was born on August 31, 1905, in Buffalo, New York.

She graduated from West High School in Cleveland and then attended Western Reserve University. In 1930, she became head of the Professional Department of business girls at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.

In 1941, she became a program coordinator and editor for the YWCA’s USO division. She later became program coordinator for the General Alliance for Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Women in Boston. In 1950, in order to take care of her ailing parents, she accepted a job near them in Philadelphia as assistant secretary of the Social Education and Action Department at the Presbyterian Church’s national headquarters. In 1969, she became a program executive for the Presbyterian Church’s Council on Church and Race, and was a member of a subcommittee that dealt with the problems of the elderly.

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POSTED: Friday, August 30, 2013, 6:00 AM
John D. Lankenau (

John D. Lankenau (1817-1901) was perhaps the greatest Lutheran layman in 19-century America.

Born in Germany, he emigrated to America in 1836 and became a prosperous Philadelphia businessman. In 1865, he sold his firm and retired from business and from 1869 until his death was president of the German Hospital of the City of Philadelphia.

After his wife and two children died between 1873 and 1882, charitable work became a focus of his life. He greatly enlarged German Hospital, and in 1884 brought seven deaconesses from Germany to take charge there. He also built the Mary J. Drexel Home and Philadelphia Motherhouse of Deaconesses, which housed a home for the aged and a children’s hospital, as well as the deaconesses.

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Mentioned: Lankenau Medical Center
POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 6:00 AM
Pegg's Run in Northern Liberties. (Source: Annals of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, in the ... v.1. Watson, John F. (John Fanning), 1779-1860)

On August 29, 1820, a group of residents of Philadelphia and Northern Liberties wrote a letter to the Philadelphia County Board of Health about the polluted condition of Pegg's Run. Originally called Cohoquinoque Creek, this small but potent waterway was immediately north of Callowhill Street. It arose around current-day 15th Street and was fed by a spring near Ninth Street.

The stream was named after Daniel Pegg (ca. 1665-1702), a well-to-do Quaker brick-maker who once owned the ground in the area now know as the Callowhill East industrial district (the wasteland of parking lots between Vine and Spring Garden Street). The creek was said to have been navigable as far west as Ridge Road, about a mile in from the Delaware. Farmers would take their meats and produce on flatboats down this stream to deliver them to Philadelphia markets via the Delaware.

The pollution of Pegg's Run really was due to the fact that Philadelphia’s first manufacturing sector was located on the banks of the creek. Those early industries - breweries, slaughterhouses, soap makers, tanneries, and so on - discharged their wastes directly into the creek for outflow to the river.

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POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:43 PM
Police activity during Columbia Avenue riots, on Aug. 31, 1964. (Albert Wagner, Inquirer archives via Temple University Libraries)

The Philadelphia race riot of August 1964 was one of the first in the civil rights era.

It took place in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of North Philadelphia from August 28-30, at a time when tensions between black residents and police had been escalating for several months over several well-publicized allegations of police brutality.

The unrest began after the car of a black woman named Odessa Bradford stalled at 23rd Street and Columbia Avenue on August 28, 1964 - exactly one year after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Bradford got into an argument with two police officers, one black and the other white, about the stalled car and her inability to move it.

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POSTED: Sunday, August 18, 2013, 6:00 AM
A replica of Henry Hudson's ship Halve Maen, which is the ship he captained during his exploration of the Delaware Bay and what would come to be known as the Hudson River. (Wikimedia Commons)

Great cities have great rivers, and the city of Philadelphia has two of the finest and most historic rivers in the United States: the Delaware and the Schuylkill.

Both have played critical roles in the American Revolution of the eighteenth century, the Industrial and Transportation Revolutions of the nineteenth century, and even the Environmental Revolution of the twentieth century.

At 330 miles long, the Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi and the third longest on the East Coast. The river and bay were named after Sir Thomas West (1577–1618), the 3rd Baron De La Warr and first governor of the colony of Virginia. The English erroneously thought that he had discovered the river, but there’s no evidence that West ever saw or visited the Delaware.

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POSTED: Saturday, August 17, 2013, 6:00 AM
Labor and community organizer Mother Jones, pictured here in 1902, a year before her famous "Children's Crusade." (Wikimedia Commons)

In the early twentieth century, child labor was a pervasive phenomenon. Few laws protected the children from the hazards of their workplace, or from the exploitation of the factory owners. The situation was especially appalling in the textile mills, where children worked near powerful machinery that left many of them severely injured and maimed.

In June of 1903, a strike began in the textile mills of Kensington. The Textile Workers Union had demanded that the work-week decrease from sixty to fifty-five hours, and that women and children be prohibited from working night hours in the city's 600 mills. At the time, the walkout was one of the largest strikes in American history, with over 90,000 workers walking off the job. More than 25 percent were under age 15.

Radical labor firebrand Mother Jones (a.k.a. Mary Harris; 1837-1930) was organizing coal miners in West Virginia at the time, but when she heard about the Kensington mill strike, she vowed to expose the crimes of child labor. After convincing strike leaders to prioritize the issues related to child labor, Mother Jones organized a children's march from Philadelphia to New York to protest working conditions and publicize the campaign. This was the nation's first juvenile workers' march.

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POSTED: Thursday, August 15, 2013, 6:00 AM
Ethel Barrymore in 1901, wearing one of the dresses from Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. (Wikimedia Commons)

Philadelphia was hometown of "America's First Family of Theater," the famous Drew-Barrymore clan.

Lionel and John Barrymore had a sister, Ethel, who was born August 15, 1879, in Philadelphia. She attended the Convent of Notre Dame in Philadelphia, and made her professional stage debut at the age of 14.

After an engagement with Henry Irving in London, she returned to New York City, where, under the Frohman banner, she appeared in Clyde Fitch's Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1901) and achieved instant success.

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POSTED: Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 12:14 PM

On August 16, 1971, the Eagles played the first football game in Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Eagles defeated the Buffalo Bills 34 to 28 in the preseason game.

As a multi-use facility, the venue was regarded as state-of-the-art when it was completed in 1971. It was the largest of the round and nearly round municipally-owned outdoor arenas built in the 1960s and 1970s. At a total cost of $52 million, it was one of the most expensive stadiums to date.

It housed the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles from 1971 to 2002 and the National League's Philadelphia Phillies baseball team from 1971 to 2003.

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About this blog
HMP was conceived and formed in 2008 by Sam Katz as part of a plan to produce a multi-part series on the history of Philadelphia. It is now a full service production company with a focus on helping organizations with a rich history tell their stories through the powerful medium of film.

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