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Type of Item
Map of New Netherland, Virginia, and New England
Joan Vinckeboons (1617–70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and for more than 30 years produced maps for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Maior. This pen-and-ink and watercolor map ...
Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.
This document is the first printed version of the American Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution urging Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, to declare independence from Great Britain. Four days later, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee’s draft was read in Congress on June 28. On July 4, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, containing a list of grievances against the British ...
Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1896
This panoramic map shows Titusville, Pennsylvania, as it appeared in 1896. Located in western Pennsylvania, Titusville is known as the place where the modern oil industry began. In 1859, the recently formed Seneca Oil Company hired retired railroad conductor Edwin L. Drake to investigate suspected oil deposits near Titusville. Drake used an old steam engine to drill a well that began the first large-scale commercial extraction of petroleum. By the early 1860s, western Pennsylvania had been transformed by the oil boom. The numbered index at the bottom of the map ...
Map of the Atlantic Highway
The National Highways Association (NHA) was established in 1911 to promote the development of an improved national road network in the United States. Under the slogan “Good roads for everyone!” the NHA advocated the building and permanent maintenance by the federal government of a system of 50,000 miles (some 80,500 kilometers) of highways. This map, issued by the NHA in 1915, shows the Atlantic Highway, proposed by the Atlantic Highway Association and endorsed by the NHA. The projected route runs from Calais, Maine to Miami, Florida, a distance ...
Engrossed Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the American colonies set forth a list of grievances against the British Crown and declared that they were breaking from British rule to form free and independent states. On July 19, 1776, Congress resolved that the Declaration passed on the 4th be "fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile [sic]: 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America'...and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress ...
Illustrated Family Record (Fraktur) Found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W3079, for Philip Frey, Pennsylvania
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passed laws promising pensions or grants of government-owned land to officers and soldiers who served in the war, as well as to the survivors of those killed. This illustrated family record in the German Fraktur script, hand-colored with large birds, is a birth and baptismal document submitted as part of the application for a pension by Anna Margaretha Kolb, wife of Revolutionary War veteran Philip Frey. From Pennsylvania, Frey served between April 1776 and January 1778. He fought in the battles at Long ...
Dunlap Broadside [Declaration of Independence]
John Dunlap, official printer to the Continental Congress, produced the first printed versions of the American Declaration of Independence in his Philadelphia shop on the night of July 4, 1776. After the Declaration had been adopted by the Congress earlier that day, a committee took the manuscript document, possibly Thomas Jefferson's "fair copy" of his rough draft, to Dunlap for printing. On the morning of July 5, copies were dispatched by members of Congress to various assemblies, conventions, and committees of safety as well as to the commanders of ...
Articles of Confederation
On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed three committees in response to the Lee Resolution proposing independence for the American colonies. One of these committees, created to determine the form of a confederation of the colonies, was composed of one representative from each colony. John Dickinson, the delegate from Delaware, was the principal writer. Dickinson’s draft of the Articles of Confederation named the new country "the United States of America." It also provided for a Congress with representation based on population, and gave to the national government ...
Destruction by Fire of Pennsylvania Hall. On the Night of the 17th May, 1838
This dramatic print shows the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall, a large building that was constructed in 1837–38 at Sixth and Haines Streets in Philadelphia as a meeting place for local abolitionist (antislavery) groups. Dedication ceremonies began on May 14, 1838, and continued over several days in a climate of growing hostility from anti-abolitionist forces in the city. On the night of May 17, 1838, an anti-abolitionist mob stormed the hall and set it on fire. Fire companies refused to fight the blaze, and the building was completely destroyed. A ...
This lithograph shows a view of Founder's Hall at Girard College in Philadelphia, which was constructed in 1833–47 from designs by Philadelphia architect Thomas Ustick Walters. The hall occupied a site between what became Girard Avenue and Ridge Avenue at Corinthian Avenue. Girard College was established through a bequest from Stephen Girard, a Philadelphia financier and philanthropist, for the creation of a school for poor white male orphans. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from ...
The Girard College, Philadelphia
This lithograph shows an exterior view of Girard College at Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, including Founder's Hall and the eastern and western outbuildings. The school buildings, designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Ustick Walter in the Greek Revival style, were constructed in 1833–47. Girard College was established through a bequest from Stephen Girard, a Philadelphia financier and philanthropist, for the creation of a school for poor white male orphans. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris ...
Road to Philadelphy
This circa 1830 print by Edward Williams Clay (1799–1857) caricatures the pretentiousness and prejudice of early 19th-century Philadelphia Quakers toward people they regarded as their social inferiors, but it also mocks those seeking to imitate the Quaker elite. On a Philadelphia road in front of a small house with an open picket fence and a visitor arriving on horseback, a raggedly dressed, dark-skinned traveler with buck teeth, possibly an Irishman or African American, asks a rotund Quaker man and his daughter, "I say, this isn't the road to ...
Roper's Gymnasium. 274 Market Street, Philadelphia
This circa 1831 print is an advertisement for the gymnasium operated by James Roper on the 800 block of Market Street in Philadelphia. The illustration shows the interior of the facility, in which men exercise in front of a crowd of spectators. On the right, three men perform moves on a balance beam next to a wall with a rack from which boxing gloves and squash rackets hang. Beside the beam, two men wearing boxing gloves are talking near the pommel horse. In the front center and left of the ...
American Classical and Military Academy at Mount Airy, Germantown, 8 Miles from Philadelphia
This lithograph shows the American Classical and Military Academy in the Mount Airy section of Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, located some eight miles (13 kilometers) from the center of Philadelphia. The right wing was built in 1750 as “Mount Airy,” the country seat of Pennsylvania Chief Justice William Allen, and early in the 19th century the area took the building’s name. Founded as Mount Airy Seminary (later Mount Airy College or Collegiate Institute) in 1807, the school served as a military academy in 1826–35 under the superintendence of Augustus ...
Friends Asylum for the Insane near Frankford
This lithograph depicts the first private psychiatric hospital in the United States as it appeared in the early 1830s. Known as the Friends’ Asylum for the Insane, it was founded in 1813 by the Society of Friends (also called the Quakers) and opened to patients in 1817. The institution stood on land that formerly was a 52-acre farm in Oxford Township, near Frankford, six miles (10 kilometers) northeast of the center of Philadelphia. Shown here is an exterior view of the almshouse building as it appeared after two patient wings ...
Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. Near Philadelphia
This hand-colored lithograph shows a view looking past farmland to the Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. In the foreground, two boys sit in a fenced pasture in which cows graze near sheds and an enclosed pond with ducks swimming on it. In the background, a farm is visible in front of the prison at which a carriage is parked and a man rides on horseback. The penitentiary was built in 1823–36 after the designs of John Haviland and opened in an unfinished state in 1829. Located at 2101–99 Fairmount ...
Friends' Asylum for the Insane near Frankford
This circa 1836 lithograph depicts the first private psychiatric hospital in the United States. Known as the Friends’ Asylum for the Insane, it was founded in 1813 by the Society of Friends (also called the Quakers) and opened to patients in 1817. The institution stood on land that formerly was a 52-acre farm in Oxford Township, near Frankford, ten kilometers northeast of the center of Philadelphia. The view here, a pastoral scene with men standing in the foreground and animals grazing, is of the almshouse building as it appeared after ...
Charles Oakford's Hat and Cap Store, Wholesale and Retail, Number 104, Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
This print is an advertisement for the retail and wholesale hat store operated by Charles Oakford in Philadelphia. Oakford established his business in 1827, relocated to 104 Chestnut Street in 1843, where he began his wholesale trade in 1850, and operated from this address until 1852. The advertisement contains an exterior view of the store, surrounded by a decorative border comprised of hats and vignettes. The proprietor is seen standing behind the double-sided glass door of his establishment and displays of hats adorn the showcase windows of the store. The ...
General View of Laurel Hill Cemetery
In the 1830s, a group of influential Philadelphians wanted to establish a rural cemetery that would be naturalistic, serene, and in genteel seclusion. They settled on Laurel Hill at 3822 Ridge Avenue, the former estate of merchant Joseph Sims, which had rocky bluffs and spectacular views and was about six kilometers from the city center. The cemetery, built in 1836–39 after the designs of Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman, is seen in this bird's-eye view of part of the grounds. This view shows horse-drawn carriages and ...
Newmarket Hardware, Cutlery and Nail Store
This 1846 print is an advertisement for the Newmarket Hardware, Cutlery and Nail Store in Philadelphia. Owned by Baxter & Brother, the store was located at 244 South Second Street, later renumbered to 522 South Second Street following the consolidation of the city in 1854. Merchandise adorns the display windows of the shop and a clerk assisting a customer is visible through the doorway. A sign for "looking glasses," i.e., mirrors, and two teapots and an anvil hang above the open entrance door. In front of the store, crates, barrels ...
This landscape view looking west from Reservoir Hill in Philadelphia shows the Fairmount Water Works, originally constructed between 1812 and 1822 after the designs of Philadelphia chief engineer Frederick Graff. Built to supply the expanding city with safe drinking water, the works included an engine house, mill house, and a millrace bridge. Visitors are seen strolling on the landscaped grounds of the works and rowers are visible on the nearby Schuylkill River. Also depicted are residences, probably including Lemon Hill, the Schuylkill Canal lock, and the river dam. The illustration ...