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Kathleen
Jan 18, 2020
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Provenance by Elizabeth M. Lesher, donor, August 7, 2018 “I was brought up, a Member of the Society of Friends, in the North of England where my grandparents, Harry and Marion Hadfield, spent much of their time at Swathmoor Hall, which was the home of George Fox and Margaret Fell and the center of developing Quakerism. A well-known stipple engraving of the Anglo-American artist, Benjamin West, was handed down through the maternal side of my family. As a child in the 1950’s, I remember this intriguing “Family Gathering” of the artist’s son, wife, father, brothers and new-born baby, hanging in the gloomy expanse of the hallway at my Grandparent’s home – my Grandfather was a custodian of the nearby Swathmoor Hall. family gathering hanging in the gloomy expanse of her grandparent’s home. It featured the artist’s son, wife, brothers and newborn baby - as well as a depiction of the artist himself. My mother inherited the portrait from her parents and brought to my attention that it should “finally rest” in Pennsylvania where the artist was born. And it came to pass… that I moved with my family of five to Wisconsin in the United States, and of course it traveled with us. In 2016, my Grandson was born. He required medical and surgical attention, and I found myself in the Pennsylvania area taking care of him! On a visit to Independence Hall, I spotted another Benjamin West engraving and my excitement drew me to contact the Chief Curator of the Independence National Historical Park. The Curator put me in touch with Delaware County Historical Society since Benjamin West was born right here in Delaware County. And so, this captivating piece of art has come to rest with a group of historians and librarians who will surely treasure it, local generations and visitors who will enjoy and value its intricate detail and I am experiencing sheer joy!” Lesher said. History of Benjamin Rush Painting on which this Print is Based Domestic scene: interior with Elizabeth West sitting by the window on the left, gazing at her youngest son, Benjamin, lying in her lap, his brother Raphael standing to left, leaning against the chair, the artist’s father John and step-brother Thomas sitting on the right, looking at the baby, wearing dark Quaker dress and hats, their hands in their laps, with the artis standing behind, leaning on his father’s chair, wearing a pale waistcoat with a decorated hem, cravat, cloak and powdered wig tied at the nape, looking at his son, holding palette and brush. The original is in the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT. The West engraving can be seen at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or visit padelcohistory.org with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted.
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Kathleen
Dec 31, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Sandy Tutton didn’t anticipate the treasure she would unearth at Delaware County Historical Society while diligently working to help the organization fulfill its stewardship responsibilities. A retired history teacher, Tutton’s involvement at DCHS began as an extension of her ongoing research of her family tree, which had roots in the area preceding William Penn. During her exploration, she was recruited by Margie Johnson to volunteer and was eventually trained as the accessionist. In that role, Tutton takes the donations dating back to 1895 and enters them into the database, preparing them for storage into the DCHS collection. As the computer arrived in 2008, hers is quite a task ahead. In administering her duties, Tutton has run across various items from her extended family such as the day DCHS received a handmade wedding dress from the 1890’s. Upon opening the box and reviewing the family tree, Tutton pleasantly learned they were, in fact, her cousins. However, the jackpot find was yet to come. One day, Tutton was working her way through a group of enormous archival boxes that had yet to be processed from when they were donated. Sometimes, these types of boxes hold clothing. “I find clothing to be special because it was chosen by someone, was worn by someone generations ago, and it expressed their personality,” Tutton shared. One box that particular day, however, happened to be heavier than the boxes of clothes. Inside was 10-feet by 15-feet 35-star handmade American flag from the Civil War era. Reading an article included in the box about the flag, Tutton learned it was made by her great-great-great-grandmother Phoebe Osborne Miller and her sister-in-law Mrs. George Clegg and others from the Shoemakerville neighborhood in Chester in 1862 to honor the men from Chester who had volunteered to fight in the Union Army, who called themselves “The Chester Blues”. The Blues were sent to train in upstate New York before being sent to fight the war in the West over the Appalachian Mountains. This flag was used as a regiment standard as they left to join the Northern Army on April 24, 1862. The flag itself shows signs of wear with the corners having been repaired and other parts soiled. It’s assumed it was flown often. Parts of it, particularly the long seams, were sewn using a sewing machine and the stars and the finishing details were sewn by hand. Mrs. George Clegg, also known as Great Aunt Jessie Miller Clegg to Tutton, was the very person who donated the flag to DCHS in 1929. Clegg authored Tutton’s earliest family history and any of her family members researching genealogy referred to Clegg’s work. In 1862 while making the flag, Phoebe Osborne Miller was pregnant with Jessie, who was left to become its guardian. “It was at this point that I screamed, loud enough for DCHS Executive Director Laurie Grant to hear me and to come running,” Tutton said. “It’s not often that you get to touch something made by your ancestor!” Clegg died in 1950 but her work and the flag remain. Other genealogical treasures and the flag are preserved at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or visit padelcohistory.org with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. Delaware County Historical Society Board Member Sandy Tutton stands near the Civil War-era flag she discovered among the collection.
Family treasure discovered at Delaware County Historical Society content media
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Kathleen
Dec 31, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
As the steward of items of significant county history, Delaware County Historical Society counts among its collection an extensive compilation of the county’s newspaper of record once headed by one of its own presidents. DCHS preserves an enormous amount of the content of the Daily Times in various formats. Delaware County Daily Times issues from 1877 to 1979 are stored on microfilm in the Research Library and a vast collection of clip files store information on a plethora of issues from Daily Times’ editions from the 1930’s to the 1990’s. Begun on Sept. 7, 1876 by an ailing Civil War veteran in his 80’s, Major John Hodgson, the first edition was only four pages with no local news or pictures and was published in a printing plant at the corner of Welsh Street and Avenue of the States. At that time, the largest amount of space was given to time schedules for the railroads that traversed from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Known then as the Chester Daily Times, the paper went through several management changes. On March 10, 1892, it was announced that William C. Sproul had purchased a half interest in the paper. John A. Wallace had secured the other half and he remained involved from 1883 until his 1915 death. In 1910, Sproul and Wallace were joined by Charles R. Long. Although he remained at the helm during his tenure as state senator, Sproul discontinued active participation in the paper after being elected governor in 1918. A heightened focus on local news began in earnest under the leadership of Alfred G. Hill in 1942. A colorful publisher who became deeply involved in the affairs of his community, he incorporated many new features, cartoons and columns. He also installed a Fairchild engraving machine so that more pictures could be incorporated into publication. On Oct. 18, 1955, the paper was sold to Robert S. Howard, who published the Idaho State Journal. Four years later, he changed the name of the newspaper to the Delaware County Daily Times. The Times’ offices remained in Chester until 1976 when they moved to a new plant on Mildred Avenue in Upper Darby. They stayed there until 2016 when they relocated to 639 S. Chester Road in Swarthmore. Since the publication of the actual newspaper, the Delaware County Daily Times has expanded to include content on its website, delcotimes.com, and has a Twitter account as well @delcotimes. For a walk into the past production of the county’s news, come take a look at the various Daily Times’ collections at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or visit padelcohistory.org with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. Among the collection at DCHS is a 1910 copy of the Delaware County Daily Times.
Glimpse of newspaper’s past in tangible form at DCHS
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Kathleen
Dec 16, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
The bottle is raised and her smile is electric as Gracie Allen readies to christen the new ship, ready to be launched, at the Sun Shipbuilding yard, with her partner George Burns by her side in a Delaware County Historical Society photograph capturing the jubilant moment. Ship christenings had foundations in Jewish and Christian traditions in which the act of using wine and water would symbolize a prayer to God for safety upon the seas. After the Reformation, these christenings became secular events as evidenced by the launching of the Prince Royal in 1610 with the Prince of Wales tending to the duties. Typically, a woman was assigned the pleasure of breaking the bottle as these celebrations shifted from one with religious connotations to secular events complete with music and celebrities. As was the case in the DCHS photograph as the dynamic duo comedic team of George Burns and Gracie Allen are pictured at the Chester Sun Shipbuilding yard right before the festivities began. Where the Harrah’s casino now stands, Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company use to stand. It was established to help with American defense in World War 1, by the Pew family, as a subsidiary of their Sun Oil Company, located right down the street in Marcus Hook. Sun Shipbuilding Company launched its first ship in 1917 and hundreds more followed. At its height in the early 1940’s, the shipyard employed more than 35,000 workers. Later, the shipyard turned its focus to manufacturing merchant ships, which it did until its 1989 closure. On its historical marker, it states that by the end of World War II, Sun Ship had launched 318 vessels, including 35 cargo ships, 35 barges and eight military vessels. In DCHS’s picture, the mood is festive at the waterfront property and the excitement was apparent. To have one celebrity the stature of Gracie Allen was a significant occasion but to have two with the accompaniment of her partner, George Burns, was colossal. In their day, the comedians were well-known for their banter, as they started as a two-person team traveling throughout the United States and headlining in vaudeville houses, and later became husband and wife. In the 1930’s, they transitioned to radio and then by 1950, the Burns and Allen Show aired on TV. It was an immediate success. In its eight-year run, the show was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards. Besides its huge commercial success, one of its episodes, the 1954’s “Columbia Pictures Doing Burns and Allen Story,” was considered by TV Guide as one of the top episodes in television. The two also had forays into film, starting with 1929’s Lambchops and ending with 1939’s Honolulu. Among their well-loved moments were the running gag search for Allen’s “lost brother” and Allen’s 1940 joke “Gracie Allen for President” campaign. The picture of Allen and Burns at the Sun shipyard christening is part of DCHS’s collection, stored at its home at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or visit padelcohistory.org with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. Grace Allen and George Burns christen ship at Sun Shipbuilding in Chester.
Gracie Allen and George Burns captured christening a new ship at the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in DCHS photo content media
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Kathleen
Nov 15, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Before William Penn, the Swedes and the colonists stepped foot onto the shores of Delaware County, Native Americans lived and thrived in this region as can be seen through the collections at Delaware County Historical Society. Through artifacts in the collection and on display in the Museum Gallery plus books housed in the Research Library, visitors can learn how these tribes, particularly the Lenni Lenape, flourished here. Several books expound on their lifestyle, such as a 1953 signed copy of C.A. Weslager’s Red Men on the Brandywine and John Hill Martin’s Chester (And Its Vicinity,) Delaware County, in Pennsylvania; with Genealogical Sketches of Some Old Families, written in 1877. Martin speaks of a tribe called the Okehockings, who lived in Chester and had their lodges on the banks of the Ridley and Crum creeks. He also noted a survey warrant dated Oct. 15, 1702. William Penn granted the tribe a reservation of 500 acres near Willistown, Chester County. Of the Lenni-Lenape, who lived along the banks of the Delaware River, Martin noted they called the river “Lenape Whittuck,” which meant “the rapid stream of the Lenape.” Red Men on the Brandywine states that the Lenni Lenape villages stretched through Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and as far north as New York and that the Swedes called them “Renappi” or “River Indians,” the French called them “Loups” and the English referred to them as “Delaware Indians.” In his book, Weslager described Native Americans, as “people who understood nature’s delicate balance and appreciated the need for maintaining it. They were true conservationists of all the land’s resources, taking only those things necessary to fill their needs, and allowing nature time to replenish the gifts she gave.” The books describe what was known about how these tribes lived, how they used tools, and how they buried their dead. According to Weslager, stone pestles were used for grinding corn and the Native Americans who lived along the Brandywine used arrowheads made of quartz, chert and jasper, some of which are on display at DCHS in the “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History” exhibit in the Museum Gallery. Speaking of an excavation of a grave site of a middle-aged male Native American in 1952, the author shared that two field stones were placed under the deceased’s head as if a pillow and part of the grave floor was paved with similar stones, smaller in size. They also found a variety of items including three European white clay pipes, two gun flints and an embossed brass button. There were also approximately 61 glass beads found around the man’s neck. These beads were estimated to be from between 1720 to 1740. Believed to have been made by white men, they were of a type widely used at the time by early settlers in bartering with Native Americans. This and more information regarding Native Americans in Delaware County can be explored at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or 610-872-0502 with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. DCHS is home to varying Native American artifacts, some of which are on display in the "Another Glimpse of Delaware County's History" exhibit. Come visit! Native Americans used stones and rocks for many purposes and those found in Delaware County are part of Delaware County Historical Society's collection.
See Native American culture through artifacts and books at DCHS content media
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Kathleen
Nov 06, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
From witches to ghosts to bumps in the night, Delaware County is well represented when it comes to the mood appropriate for cooler, darker evenings and the arrival of Halloween. In the very first volume of Delaware County Historical Society’s own minutes from 1895 to 1901, the topic of “Some Ghosts and Haunted Places in Delaware County” took up considerable mention. In fact, the proceedings tell of one British sentinel who has been known to make his appearance seen in the area of Tinicum Island each November. According to DCHS minutes, in November 1777, a British vessel landed at Tinicum Island at the mouth of Darby Creek, to plunder a nearby farmhouse of “edibles, poultry and liquor.” They left one sentinel behind to protect the yawl from enemy capture. However, the Whigs learned of his presence and killed him. “(F)or years afterward it was asserted by residents of the locality that on the night of the anniversary of his death, a spectral British marine in the uniform of that day, could be seen walking post, his figure, on occasions when the moon was full, being magnified in the hazy light,” the minutes proclaimed. Colonial soldier ghosts are also reported as evident in Charles Adams’ Ghost Stories of Delaware County. ​Among his stories, Adams wrote that Rich Paul told of two sightings of a Revolutionary War soldier roaming the Thomas Massey house. One, in fact, was quite a bit perturbed the house was named after Massey. After his own research, Paul said he found a former resident of the house, Joshua Lawrence, did serve in the war. In the story Paul joked, “Maybe he’s the ghost and maybe he thinks the place should be named after him ... it ​is​ on Lawrence Road. But, I guess that’s not enough for him.” One woman to be put on trial for witchcraft in Delaware County was acquitted thanks to the wisdom of William Penn. Margaret Mattson lived with her husband, Neels, on a large acreage in the area of the Baldwin Locomotive plant in Eddystone. Accused of placing curses on neighbor’s cows and being possessed by demons, Mattson was charged by the Provincial Council and pled not guilty. A jury found her “Guilty of haveing the Comon fame of a witch, but not guilty in manner and forme as Shee stand Indicted.” Legend has it that Penn himself asked Mattson at the trial if she was a witch and if she had ever ridden through the air on a broomstick. Confused, she answered yes. To which, Penn allegedly noted there was no law against riding through the air on a broomstick and he recommended acquittal. Stories and books on these and other local ghosts are stored at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, please call 610-359-0832 or 610-872-0502. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. Charles J. Adams III's tome of spooky tales in Delco can be read at Delaware County Historical Society.
Visit Delaware County Historical Society for a tingling good ghost tale close to home content media
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Kathleen
Nov 06, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Excitement appears through the magic of capturing an image and visitors to Delaware County Historical Society can experience that enchantment through seeing a projector, a Polaroid camera, a spy camera and even glass negatives showing pictures of how the county looked through Dr. Anna Broomall’s lens. These artifacts and more are part of the “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History” exhibit currently on view in DCHS’s Museum Gallery. Items in the display include a vintage GAF XL 128 movie camera and its carrying case, a Revere 90X 8mm portable movie projector as well as a dark green Colorpack II Land Camera, built and sold in 1969 by Polaroid highlighting the device’s color image capability. Dating even earlier there is a No. 2 Brownie, which emerged into American culture in 1901. Manufactured by Eastman Kodak, both the No. 2 and its predecessor were created to build excitement in children over photography. The Brownie helped fashion the idea of “snapshot” photography and through the use of a simple cardboard box and a meniscus lens, the No. 2 could produce 2 ¼-inch by 3 ¼-inch photos. The No. 2 Brownie at DCHS was donated by Harry Lamb of Margate, N.J. on March 11, 1959. Another Kodak camera featured in the display comes from G. F. Lindemer, the successor to Thamer Optician Kodak, a business that developed, printed and enlarged photos on their premises at 443 South Salina Street in Syracuse, N.Y. Dr. Anna Broomall, who is legendarily known for her groundbreaking role and practices as a local obstetrician, was also noted for her photographic work which highlighted her interest in history. Having studied in Vienna and Paris, she assumed a chief resident physician at the Women’s Hospital in Philadelphia upon her return. The glass slides in the Dr. Anna Broomall collection consist of pictures she had taken in Philadelphia, mostly in the Germantown and Center City sections, and in Delaware County, particularly in Chester. When she retired from medicine, Broomall became the librarian and curator of Delaware County Historical Society. In addition to this equipment and the Broomall slides, DCHS houses 6,000 to 7,000 photographs of people, places and things in the files in its Research Library. The photography display, part of the larger exhibit, “Another Glimpse of Delaware County, in the Museum Gallery, as well as the collections in the Research Library, are accessible to all, at the home of DCHS, 408 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Please call 610-359-0832 or 610-872-0502 with any questions. Appointments and tours of our Children’s Education Center are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Friends memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. A film projector and film reels are part of the photography display in the "Another Glimpse of Delaware County's History" exhibit. Come see equipment used in creating still and moving images from the past at Delaware County Historical Society!
Photographic equipment gives snapshot of how Delaware Countians took pictures content media
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Kathleen
Oct 23, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Wedding gowns are the epitome of utilizing clothing for celebration and two on display at Delaware County Historical Society showcase an extravaganza of creativity and skill through exquisite beadwork, embroidery and lace draped over silk and ribbons. The two gowns are on display at DCHS in the Museum Gallery as part of the newest exhibit “Another Glimpse of Delaware County History.” In addition to their beauty and obvious attention to detail, one also illustrates significant Delaware County historic importance as it was the very dress worn by Emmaline Roach when she wed William C. Sproul on Jan. 23, 1892. In the early days of the United States, marriage was basically required. According to a 1974 American Life article, marriage was every man’s duty and every woman’s reason for existence. In fact, Maryland passed a tax on single men and Connecticut made it illegal in 1636 for a young man to live alone, unless he had issued valid authority. Women fared even worse. Considered a “stale maid” if not wed by 20-years-old, unwed women were often ridiculed and described as cranky, disagreeable, never-to-be-pleased and other insults – until Benjamin Franklin had his say. Again according to American Life, the founding father actually advised a friend to choose an older woman as “she’d be more knowledgeable; when they cease to be handsome, they study to be good; there were no “Hazard of Children”; and, she’d prevent the ruin of his health and fortune among prostitutes.” Franklin also advised, “the pleasure of corporal enjoyment with an old woman is at least equal, and frequently superior.” Besides he added, she’d be “so grateful.” As time progressed, weddings in the New World became filled with tradition. For instance, once a bride was completely dressed, she was forbidden from looking in a mirror. Prior to the marriage ceremony being connected to religious rituals, they usually were held in the bride’s home; it was considered bad luck to have it in the couple’s future home. Wednesday was considered the best day to have a wedding with “wed” in the day’s name and Sundays were popular for quiet ceremonies. Groom and bride festivities seem to have been a tradition dating far back. One was called “running for the bottle.” Friends of the groom would meet friends of the bride at a halfway point between the two houses. Then, the groom and his groomsmen would race to the bride’s house, where they’d shoot off their muskets and the victor would win a bottle of whisky. By the mid-1700’s, milliners began placing more attention to the accoutrements of wedding gowns, adding ribbons, laces, gauzes, flowers and fringes while also introducing ruffles, caps and headdresses. One of the dresses on display at DCHS is a beautiful shade of ivory and is adorned with elaborate ruffles on its long sleeves with intricate lace spread up the neck across the chest. The Roach gown, more amber in color, is fabulously accentuated with detail from the drop beadwork gracing the décolletage to the sumptuous lacework on the chest over the shoulders and down the sleeves. Along its fine silk border is meticulous embroidery, and tying it all together is an enormous beaded bow behind the waist. Both can be seen currently on display at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, please call 610-359-0832 or 610-872-0502. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. Wedding dresses are part of the clothing display in Delaware County Historical Society's "Another Glimpse of Delaware County History" exhibit. Included in the display is the gown Emmaline Roach wore when she wed William C. Sproul in January 1892.
Wedding gown fashion highlights seamstress skills and historic importance at DCHS content media
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Kathleen
Oct 14, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Food preparation in earlier days was more labor-intensive in every way, as can be seen by the antique meat grinder on display at Delaware County Historical Society. Inside a wooden box is a spiked wheel to pulverize the meat into pieces. A lid cover has strips of sharp metal to shred the meat of choice; chicken, deer, cow, or even bison. The device had to be handspun via the large handle on its right.  The grinder could be used for a variety of meats, in different forms, as seen in the 1824 cookbook, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats penned by a Miss Leslie of Philadelphia. It was published in Boston and New York and was in its seventh edition by the 1824 version, so her expertise was highly regarded and widely read. Among Miss Leslie’s recipes were instructions for boiling terrapins, cooking a boned turkey, pickling oysters and a-la-mode beef. However, one easy dish used by the most helpful hand-cranked mechanism was the basic burgers. While they were created in Hamburg, Germany, (thus the name hamburgers) they appeared in this European port town as more of a steak for sailors and other dock workers. With the advent of the meat grinder in the mid-1800’s, more ports such as New York and Chester saw the beefy creation find its way to their shores. The buns, however, weren’t added until the late 19th century or early 20th century and history debates whether it was a cook in a small town in Texas that stuck a Hamburg steak between two buns or if it was White Castle who claims fame with its “Hamburger Sandwich.” Either way, the hand-cranked meat grinders helped make domestic and large-scale meal preparation easier until further industrialization. The hand-cranked meat grinder can be seen at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, please call 610-359-0832 or 610-872-0502. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted. This meat grinder tore meat into pieces by closing the lid and turning the hand crank.
Grinder key to meaty meals in Delaware County's earlier culinary arts content media
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Kathleen
Oct 01, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
From the distribution of awards to changes on the board to a summary of past and future events, this year’s Annual Meeting and Open House showcased Delaware County Historical Society as it moves forward while cherishing its past. In line with the start of its fiscal year, DCHS holds an Annual Meeting and Open House to which this year attendees filed the Society as Thomas C. Grubb was elected board chairperson, a position held by outgoing Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda A. Cartisano. The board of DCHS also welcomed Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden to its ranks. DCHS Executive Director Laurie J. Grant explained how the public is intrinsic to the society and its Chester home. “This is really open to the public,” she said. “This is your story. It is our collective Delaware County story. Our displays purposely don’t have a lot of information associated with them. That’s because we don’t want to tell you your story. You bring your own story that these artifacts remind you of.” She explained that DCHS is trying to remain true to its original mission of collecting, protecting and preserving artifacts and as part of that, must be good stewards, as evidenced in the full house inventory that continues. Grant highlighted two major accessions this year: the original manuscript, written and composed by Jennifer Campbell, of the Four Seasons of Delaware County and a family loom that dates to the 1600’s. She encouraged the community to consider DCHS, especially to expand certain aspects of the county’s history. “We are missing part of the collective story and a lot of that is Black History,” she said. “We can only showcase what we receive and what is in our collection. So, we are always looking for people to share their story from their family.” Throughout the past year, DCHS also sent out 300,000 postcards to raise awareness and fund raise to restore, maintain and preserve the 1860 Abraham Lincoln presidential campaign banner. “We’re going to continue this campaign until we can complete it,” Grant said. This upcoming year, Grant explained, will feature a lecture, demonstration and tasting by archaeologist, anthropologist and chef, Henry Ward; a series of genealogy lectures and the launching of the DCHS Young Professionals spearheaded by DCHS Board Member and Marketing and Membership Manager Erica Burman as the society prepares for its 125th anniversary in 2020. During the meeting, Angela Hewett received the prestigious A. Lewis Smith award for her dedication and passion for the contributions she’s made to history in Delaware County. Hewett is the longtime president of Friends of the Thomas Leiper House and is a founder of the Nether Providence Historical Society. Among her research is editing two booklets of Leiper correspondence, one with Thomas Jefferson and another with James Madison. In addition, Board Member Sandra Tutton received the Gail Irvine Memorial Award and Andrew Saul was the recipient of the DCHS Volunteer of the Year Award. The occasion was also a kickoff for the new exhibit at DCHS, “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History,” and featured guest speaker Beverly Rorer, who gave an overview of county mills, in conjunction with the Year of the Mill. The exhibit remains on display at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, please call 610-359-0832. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. It was a full house at Delaware County Historical Society's 2019 Annual Meeting and Open House. Delaware County Historical Society Executive Director Laurie J. Grant bestows the DCHS Volunteer of the Year Award to Andrew Saul.
DCHS celebrates passing and upcoming year with Annual Meeting and Open House content media
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Kathleen
Sep 26, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Among the treasures available to view in the new exhibit at Delaware County Historical Society is a trove of artifacts used in early American education. One of the 13 displays in “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History” is dedicated to teaching and learning as evident by the tools, tomes and even a hornbook shown in the case. “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History” was kicked off at Delaware County Historical Society’s Open House and Annual Meeting Sept. 25. This exhibit also includes a special section dedicated to celebrating “The Year of the Mill” in the Record Room. Nestled in the exhibit’s education display are several books, including a collection of McGuffey readers, with a pictorial primer and a parent-teacher guide, a “Manual of Geography” and a handbook. McGuffey readers, known by their “Eclectic” titles on the cover, were intended for children in first through sixth grades from the mid-1800’s to the mid-1900’s. William Holmes McGuffey was one of 11 children born to a Washington County, Pa. farmer. With a passion for learning and education, he graduated Washington College in 1826. McGuffey drafted the Eclectic Readers, which were widely used to teach reading and writing in many one-room schools across the country. Besides the basics of English, a large focus of lessons in early America were centered on morality. For example, one of McGuffey’s Golden Rules was “Never be afraid to do good, but always fear to do evil.” Another example can be seen in a line in a 1909 Little Learner’s Paper on display. It reads, “Love helps us to see good things in others, and not faults.” Here in Pennsylvania, education was helped crafted into shape by Dr. George Smith, the first school board president of the Upper Darby School Board. A man of multiple talents from farming and botany to medicine and politics, Smith was chairman of the State Senate Education Committee and drafted the final version of the Free Public School Act. Passed in 1836, the legislation designated free public education for all children and provided state funding for local districts. To learn more about early American education techniques or about the happenings of Delaware County Historical Society, please visit the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, in Chester or go online at padelcohistory.org. The telephone number is 610-359-0832.
Education plays a part in the new exhibit at DCHS content media
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Kathleen
Sep 23, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Delaware County Historical Society invites the community to its 2019 Annual Meeting and Open House, Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m., with guest speaker Beverly Rorer presenting a brief timeline and overview of the history of the Mills in Delaware County. Alongside the event, DCHS opens its newest exhibit, “Another Glimpse of Delaware County’s History,” with a special component celebrating “The Year of the Mill” in the Record Room. The exhibit is comprised of 13 unique displays from Civil War-era artifacts, to pharmacological elements, such as those used in a Chester pharmacy for over 50 years, to sewing machines, even two sets of china from the Lewis family - one monogrammed dating back to the 1700’s and another harkening back to the 1800’s. Touches of Abraham Lincoln’s impact on Delaware County can be seen throughout the main floor. One is a remembrance issued by the City Councils of Philadelphia upon the death of the 16th president, proclaiming, “A Nation Mourns A Patriot Gone!” Another are the “Union Blues” badges worn by those responding to his first call to war service. DCHS itself has embarked on an aggressive campaign to restore and preserve the 1860 Lincoln presidential campaign banner used by Lincoln while garnering support here in Delaware County both in 1860 and in 1864. Updates about the campaign will be presented at the Annual Meeting, along with the presentation of Annual Awards, and guest speaker Rorer’s verbal tapestry of the origin of Mills in Delaware County, as well as light fare and refreshments. Tours will be available. “Delaware County Historical Society has been hosting its Annual Meeting for members for decades, last year DCHS decided to open its “home” for this gathering to all residents as well, in order to update county residents on new pieces of Delaware County’s story and to welcome all residents to share their own stories,” Laurie J. Grant, DCHS executive director, said. For more information about the Annual Meeting & Open House, on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the home of DCHS at 408 Avenue of the States, please visit: padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832. In addition, DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. 
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Kathleen
Aug 19, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Upon receiving one of the postcards from Delaware County Historical Society asking for “spare change” to help restore an 1860 Abraham Lincoln Presidential banner, a kind Havertown resident took the moniker “Pennies4 Lincoln” seriously. Ms. Durso spent a considerable amount of time and effort locating all of her spare change throughout her home, from pennies to quarters, gathered in rolls, tin cans and boxes and donated the collection of coins to Delaware County Historical Society. Timing is everything, Joan Durso was in the process of moving, and had been sorting through her personal effects when she came across a heap of coins. She pondered what to do with her find when she received a “Pennies4Lincoln” postcard in the mail, she was inspired to look for more change to donate. Launched on Lincoln’s birthday, Delaware County Historical Society has been in the midst of a campaign to restore the 1860 banner to its original glory. The 75 foot by 64 foot banner was created for a rally in front of the Media Courthouse to celebrate the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln and features a rare image of him without his beard. It also sported the name of Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s first vice president, but was changed to Andrew Johnson when it was used again in 1864. Delaware County sears its place into the banner’s legacy as the words “Media/Delaware Co.” are emblazoned on the banner’s back. Even with careful care, the banner had deteriorated over the years. At the onset of an effort to salvage it, DCHS sought the expertise of appraisers Frisk and Borodin, who described it as a, “FINE, RARE, AND IMPORTANT AMERICAN PAINTED CLOTH PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION PARADE BANNER FOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S TWO INUGURATIONS, DELAWARE COUNTY, PA, 1860, WITH MINOR ALTERATIONS FOR THE SECOND INAUGURATION IN 1864.” Honoring its uniqueness, DCHS embarked on the Pennies4Lincoln campaign, calling on all Delaware County residents to give what they can to help restore and preserve this precious artifact of the county’s and nation’s history. DCHS has mailed a series of postcards to over 100,000 Delaware County residents in an effort to raise awareness of the campaign. It just took one of these postcards to spark Durso to donate all of her loose change as her support of the campaign. Her answer had arrived. To help DCHS, Durso packed her $2 rolls of nickels, her bag of dimes and a Chock Full O’Nuts can filled to the brim with pennies and brought it to the headquarters. Her treasure will be used as a “guess the total” game at the upcoming Open House and Annual Meeting on September 25 th at DCHS. Community members are encouraged to learn more about the Pennies4 Lincoln campaign on the website padelcohistory or at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. Joan Durso's change matters for Pennies 4 Lincoln to help Delaware County Historical Society restore the 1860 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Campaign Banner.
Literally every penny counts towards the Pennies 4 Lincoln campaign goal content media
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Kathleen
Jul 29, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
A lighter, a metal box and documents including 1892 newspapers are tangible reminders of the connection of Pennsylvania Military College and Chester Hospital to the Leet family. The items were donated by Carolyn Leet Phillips Erbaugh, sister of Richard Leet Phillips, who was the grandson of Chester Hospital Administrator Thomas E. Leet. Carolyn and Richard’s mother, Joyce Helen Leet, who was also the daughter of Thomas Leet, died this past March. Upon Joyce Helen Leet’s death, Erbaugh found the lighter and silver box in her mother’s drawer with a note to donate it to Delaware County Historical Society. Both the lighter and the box are petite in size and have a miniature logo of Pennsylvania Military College engraved on them. The collection also includes several copies of newspapers including the Chester Times, the Delco Democrat, the Delco Republican and the Chester Evening News with their reports of the laying of the hospital’s cornerstone in July 1892. Erbaugh recalled her brother, around 18-years-old at the time, sandblasting the Chester Hospital cornerstone and time capsule. Perhaps that was by directive of his grandfather, Thomas E. Leet, who served as Chester Hospital’s administrator from 1947 until his sudden death. On Sunday, Dec. 15, 1957, he was stricken with a heart attack at his home at 422 E. 21st St. in Chester, then taken to Chester Hospital, where he passed. Prior to that, he had been a part of PMC for almost 20 years - first as a cadet and a lineman on their football team then line coach of the team after his 1917 graduation. He also was a member of the engineering and military faculty at the school. From there, he entered the Army Air Force in 1941 as a captain and helped set up the training school at Miami Beach, Fla., helping it expand from 500 men to 100,000 airmen. In 1945, he returned to Pennsylvania Military College as an assistant to the commandant before taking the Chester Hospital position two years later. At the time of Leet’s death, Col. Frank K. Hyatt, whom Leet had served as Adjutant at PMC, said, “Tom Leet was a fine man - one of the greatest. His word was as good as gold and he didn’t hesitate to disagree with me. He was fearless and clean-cut.” The Leet collection is stored at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. Thomas E. Leet was a fixture at Pennsylvania Military College and Chester Hospital in the 20th century. Some of his items are included in Delaware County Historical Society's collection.
Items from Leet collection show connection between Chester Hospital and Pennsylvania Military College content media
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Kathleen
Jul 26, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
A plow, tobacco cutter, hay fork and a corn-cutting chair are among the tools that would have been in full use this time of year in early American farming. At DCHS, these artifacts are among many illustrating the way of life for early Delaware County residents. The plow, a farm staple, at first had no wheels, but they were pulled by animals. According to britannica.com, wheeled plows were initially pulled by oxen, then horses and helped the spread of agriculture throughout Europe. By mid-19th century, John Deere noticed the struggle of farmers trying to till the tough prairie ground and he created the moldboard plow with its steel blade on the back to assist in breaking apart the soil. The moldboard plow in Delaware County Historical Society’s collection has a steel blade attached to a thin metal wheel and wooden handles, which the farmer guided. In the United States, farming was influenced by Native American crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, squashes, beans and even tobacco as well as items brought from settlers from clover and alfalfa and slaves who introduced melons, okra, peanuts and more. The tobacco cutters were basically used to slice chest-high tobacco plants to be collected and used in making products. They look like small curved blades attached to two long wooden handles, providing the holder with a long reach. A four-pronged hay fork, or pitchfork as they are commonly called, was more than a garden tool in early American farming. It helped to lift hay, straw and leaves to clear an area or to help feed an animal. Somewhat a mystery to the modern day visitor, the corn-cutting chair is a low-sitting device with a hinged piece of sharpened steel on its right. In theory, the ear of corn would be strategically placed so that it could be sliced as needed. In the winter months, a farmer’s household would shear dry corn. Dry corn could be ground into flour and used in baking. The chair at DCHS was invested as a convenient - and restful - method to complete that chore. The chair, hay fork, tobacco cutter and plow are among the items stored at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. This chair made tending to the chore of cutting the corn a bit easier back in the day. Early American farm tools are on display at Delaware County Historical Society.
Delaware County Historical Society holds evidence of reaping the harvest content media
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Kathleen
Jul 26, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
A 4 foot by 4 foot map of Philadelphia and the surrounding area housed at Delaware County Historical Society is testament to the lasting legacy of courthouse architect and former DCHS president Clarence Wilson Brazer. Born in Philadelphia, Brazer established his architectural firm in Chester after graduating from Drexel Institute of Technology. Here, he designed many iconic Delaware County buildings, including the 1920 remodeling of the Delaware County Courthouse (for which he wrote the most comprehensive overview of the original building to date), the Alfred O. Deshong Memorial Art Museum in Chester and the Dunwoody Home for Convalescents in Newtown Square. In addition, Brazer designed the plans for the 1916 Chester City Hall and for the 90-acre, 170-home Westinghouse Corp. Village in Essington. Brazer, was noted as well for his contributions outside of Delaware County, including drawing the design for the San Juan, Puerto Rico capitol building. He had submitted a design in the competition for that project and although his came in second, the architect that won purchased his designed and used it in creating his own. On Sept. 22, 1930, he donated two sizable maps to Delaware County Historical Society. One was a large colored map of Delaware County created by Joseph W. Ash, M.D. in 1848. The other was a “Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia” crafted in 1860 by D.J. Lake and S.N. Bears.  Stretched on a piece of oilcloth rolled around one rod, the map showcases Philadelphia and the municipalities of its day in Delaware, Montgomery and Chester counties, as well as parts of Bucks County, New Jersey and northern Delaware. Each town is designated by a different color. Familiar places are represented such as Aston, Haverford, Radnor, Newtown, Chester and Ridley. However, there are only about half of today’s towns on the map as some towns, such as Aldan, Prospect Park and Glenolden had not yet been incorporated. Both the 1860 Philadelphia vicinity map and the 1848 Ash Delaware County map are part of the collection at the home of Delaware County Historical Society  at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.  For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. Architect Clarence Brazer donated this map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia to Delaware County Historical Society, as well as the Ash map of Delaware County.
Philadelphia-area map one of many Delaware County contributions made by renowned architect content media
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Kathleen
Jul 12, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
In the days preceding air-conditioning, cooling down in the oppressive heat of the summer was an art form and perhaps one of the most joyful ways was to take a dip. With the passage of the Fourth of July, summer is now in full swing and Delaware County Historical Society celebrates with a nod to the occasion by displaying a 20th century male swimsuit. Lavender and black stripes extend across the width of the persimmon suit, punctuating a flourish of style on the woolen garment. One might ask why in the world would our ancestors pick itchy, hot wool as swimsuit material? Cotton, after all, was available then. Wool, however, was conducive for knitting - and was water repellent, making a sit under the shade after a splash more comfortable. The suit also consists of two pieces - a tank-top styled shirt with a pair of trunks. At the time, in some places by law, in others by custom, men were discouraged from baring their chest at the local swimming holes. It wasn’t until the 1930’s when men’s swimming attire would consist of only the bottoms. The turn-of-the-century male swimsuit is on display at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. The turn-of-the-century male swimsuit is a seasonal part of Delaware County Historical Society's collection.
Orange wool swimsuit gives history of how men took a turn-of-the-century splash content media
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Kathleen
Jun 17, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Pictures, books and artifacts present an image of life in Delaware County mills as seen in the newest DCHS exhibit, “Mill Images from the Delaware Valley, 1646 to 1876.” The DCHS Mill display opened last week in conjunction with the County wide yearlong celebration of Mills. On the weekend of September 28 th and 29 th there will be coordinated Southwestern Delaware County Mills tours, of which Delaware County Historical Society will participate. Visitors to the exhibit will see a variety of mill pictures, such as one of the Skinner’s Cotton Lap Mill along Crum Creek in Edgemont Township. Books on display include “A Survey of Mills in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 1826-1880” by Robert P. Case, Ph.D. with Ellen M. Cronin, Marianne D. Squyres, Nancy V. Webster, AICP, and H. Dabbs Woodfin, Ph.D. Another book on display; “The Chester Mills,” written by Jervas Jefferis Jr. in 1965, contains such information as the facility grounding grist occasionally in 1826 then turning its main focus to cutting 310,000 feet of lumber a year. Also on view are tools used in these mills such as an iron-spiked hackle or card, used to comb and clean wool. Also visitors will see materials used in homes prior to mass production, such as a sample of flax from the College of Pharmacy Botanical Garden. A Tape Loom, once belonging to the Lewis family, is also on display and was donated to DCHS by J. William Lewis of Upland. Prior to that, it had been in the possession of the Middlekauff family of Charlestown, W. Va., and dates back to c.1752. This Loom was used to make woven tape. Smaller tape was used for draw strings and wider tape was used for things like rugs and window curtains. Robert Middlekauff shared some history of the loom in one account. “Old Aunt Catherine Middlekauff, or Aunt Kitty as we called her, would get out the little loom for me when quite a little chap, thread it up and get me to work making tape, just to keep me out of badness and would tell me to take good care of the loom.” Middlekauf shared that “Aunt Kitty’s” grandfather made the loom for his wife before they were married and that “he would court while his girl made tape.” “Mill Images from the Delaware Valley, 1646 to 1876” is on display at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. The Lewis loom is part of a display highlighting mills in Delaware County. Pictures, books and artifacts are part of "Mill Images from the Delaware Valley, 1646 to 1876" at Delaware County Historical Society.
Mill display gives expansive look on the creek industry at Delaware County Historical Society content media
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Kathleen
Jun 10, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Even outside of the traditional sense of “father,” fathers to society come in various forms. For instance, Hippocrates is the father of modern medicine and Socrates is considered the father of western philosophy. Here in Delaware County, we have our own father of note. Gov. William C. Sproul, the namesake of Sproul Road itself and a resident of Chester, has been labeled the “father of good roads.” Although Sproul was not originally from Delaware County, he is a graduate of Chester High School c 1887 and of Swarthmore College c 1891. He was born in Lancaster County and lived in Michigan before his family moved to the place where Sproul would have great impact. For a time, Sproul lived in a mansion at Ninth and Kerlin streets in Chester. Eventually, he moved and lived in Lapidea Manor in Nether Providence. The home had been built in 1818 by mill owner Thomas Leiper for his son, James. Sproul added two wings to the home and converted the stables to a carriage house. It is said that he hid his cigars in a secret compartment behind a painting on the wall in the house. In 1896, as a 26-year-old, Sproul was elected to the state senate and was re-elected five times. In 1918, he was endorsed by the Republican Party for governor, easily beating his opponents from the Democratic and Prohibition parties. During his service as an elected official, he sponsored the Highway Act of 1911 that created the state road system. During this era in the United States, cars began to replace horses as methods of transportation. Through Sproul’s efforts, state legislators appropriated $100 million for the building and improvement of roads. It was during his administration that state highways were constructed, a system of routes was established and roads were classified as state or local. In 1920, he was one of the candidates considered for the Republican presidential nomination. The nod eventually went to Warren G. Harding, who offered him the position of vice president, which Sproul refused. While noted for his political work, Sproul had interests in many fields from journalism to banking to rails and coal. He also was the inaugural chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. As governor, he led an effort to save the 1724 Courthouse in Chester, which had been targeted for redevelopment. More about Gov. Sproul and others in the Sproul family is available at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. Gov. William C. Sproul is known as the "Father of Good Roads" in Pennsylvania for his leadership and advocacy that lead to the construction of roads throughout the commonwealth.
"Father of Good Roads" has deep ties to Delaware County  content media
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Kathleen
Jun 03, 2019
In WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT
Opening the large, heavy doors of the dark travel trunk at Delaware County Historical Society gives a peek into the world of a Pennsylvania Military College student in the 20th century. With “McK” in red letters next to its leather handle, the case belonged to John Gunning McKay Jr., a member of PMC’s class of 1938. Pennsylvania Military College began as The Bullock School for Boys in 1821 in Wilmington, Del. with the leadership of John Bullock. It was under the tutelage of Theodore Hyatt that the military component was introduced to the school, after he found some students practicing military drills in the gym. The school moved to Chester in 1862 and in 1892, it became known as Pennsylvania Military College. In 1972, amongst the environment of the Vietnam War, the school disbanded its Corps of Cadets and was named Widener College, in memory of Eleanor Elkins Widener of the prominent Widener family in Philadelphia. Seven years later, the college became Widener University. When it was Pennsylvania Military College, McKay studied there and was a member of the staff of the “Sabre and Staff” yearbook of 1937. Inside his chest are several uniforms, including a ankle-length dress winter coat and other accoutrements linked to his time at the College. The trunk opens. On the left, two rods, extending for easier use, hold pieces of hanging attire.On the right, four cloth drawers contain belts, buttons and even a maroon scarf. It also includes a sepia picture of McKay as a student adorning his military blues. Some of the attire in the chest include a woolen blue dress tunic with collar buttons reading, “Pennsylvania Military College Chester”; a caped coat with “U.S. ROTC” embroidered on its sleeve; and a lighter weight white coat sporting “P. M.C.” and crossed firearms pins on each of its lapels. Three of the badges feature the coat of arms of the United States with the bald eagle holding the flag, and a talon full of arrows and another with an olive branch. The image is known from its appearance on the cover of American passports. The McKay chest is stored/held at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. The travel trunk of John G. McKay Jr., who graduated from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1938, is in the collection of Delaware County Historical Society. Here is the wool uniform worn by John G. McKay when he was a PMC student. The white uniform is lighter in material for warmer days.
Travel trunk stores garments linking to Delaware County's military college past content media
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