The Ladies of the Fair

An illustrated lecture by Thomas H. Keels, drawn from his new book,
Sesqui! Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten World’s Fair of 1926.

Presented by Mr. Tom Keels

Thursday, October 5th, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church – Bethlehem Pike & East Mill Road in Flourtown, PA

The Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition of 1926 was meant to be the greatest world’s fair since the 1876 Centennial. Thanks to political corruption, greed, egotism, and the wettest summer on record, it became a crumbling, sodden, bankrupt mess, Philadelphia’s “forgotten fair.”

The Sesqui served as a symbol for the city’s monolithic Republican Organization, where one boss (Congressman William S. Vare, the “Duke of South Philadelphia”) could kidnap an entire world’s fair and whisk it from the newly completed Fairmount Parkway to the swamps of South Philly, his congressional district.

One of the few bright spots of this ill-fated fair was the High Street of 1776, a recreation of a Federal-era Market Street lined with 22 reconstructions of vanished historic structures, from William Penn’s Slate Roof House to the Jefferson Declaration House. Created by the Women’s Committee, the Street of 1776 was the Sesqui’s most popular single attraction, and one of the few to turn a profit. Other popular attractions created by women included Sulgrave Manor, a replica of the ancestral English home of the Washington family, and a recreation of Mount Vernon.

The Ladies of the Fair describes how Philadelphia women – most of them from the city’s oldest and most venerable families – defied the corrupt Republican Organization to create some of the fair’s most memorable monuments.It also shows how these women used their exhibits to bring the history of Philadelphia and America to vivid life.

The Springfield Township Historical Society welcomes back Mr. Tom Keels, author or co-author of six published books on Philadelphia history: Wicked Philadelphia: Sin in the City of Brotherly Love; Forgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City; Chestnut Hill; Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries; Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square; and Philadelphia’s Golden Age of Retail (with Lawrence M. Arrigale).

Please join us on October 5th, as Mr. Keels talks about this fascinating and entertaining aspect of the fair detailed in his latest book Sesqui! Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten World’s Fair of 1926 the compelling story of a world’s fair that crashed and burned against the backdrop of a changing, conflicted city during the Roaring Twenties.

The public is invited to attend, and there is no charge for admission. Reservations are not required. Light refreshments will be served. For more information call 215-233-4600.

Springfield Township Historical Society

Proudly presents its

4th Annual
“The People of Whitemarsh Hall”

Thursday, November 2, 2017 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm
at the Ambler Theater
108 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA 19002

The November 2 event is sold out, but a second date has been added!
April 5, 2018 at 7pm
Reserve your tickets now.

It’s back! Springfield Township Historical Society’s 4th Annual History in Motion on Thursday November 2nd at the Ambler Theater.

Please join us for this extremely unique, one-time event being presented by Andy Logan (Stotesbury), Edward Zwicker III (Trumbauer and Smith), and Edward Zwicker IV (Duveen and Deschamps) at the Ambler Theatre on Thursday, November 2nd.

Edward T. Stotesbury was a self-made man, having risen from the position of $200 per year office boy to that of senior partner in the firm of J.P. Morgan & Company, and its Philadelphia affiliate of Drexel & Company, worth over $100 million at his zenith. A widower for over 30 years after the death of his first wife, he then married Lucretia Roberts Cromwell, known to her friends as Eva. With this marriage his life would change dramatically from both a social and a financial perspective. Stotesbury built “Whitemarsh Hall”, a 120-room Georgian mansion situated on 325 acres in Springfield Township, as a tribute to Eva and her desire to gain them acceptance into the uppermost reaches of Philadelphia society.

This Gilded age “Versailles of America” magically appeared on a rise looking over the Whitemarsh Valley by 1921, and appeared to run as if by magic. The truth was that it was painstakingly created by a famous dream team consisting of architect (Horace Trumbauer), landscape architect (Jacques Greber), and art dealer (Joseph Duveen). Once built it took a staff of over one hundred to tend to the house, the grounds, and the Stotesburys themselves.

This upstairs-downstairs story will be presented in first-person by historical reenactors. Edward Stotesbury will welcome you and set the stage for the evening’s presentation. He will be followed by Horace Trumbauer and Joseph Duveen who will talk about the creation of “Whitemarsh Hall”. Hugh Smith (footman) and Maurice Deschamps (head gardener) will then talk about the running of the home and property.

The evening will be filled with never before told stories and memories taken from actual interviews of the staff from over thirty years ago, along with some of their personal photographs and videos taken in the early 1930’s.

A 30 min complimentary wine tasting by Chaddsford Winery will take place just before this enchanting evening begins! Whitemarsh Hall Merchandise will be available for Sale; Sally Yates Notecards, Whitemarsh Hall Tiles, Deming Collection Prints, and “Images of America WHITEMARSH HALL The Estate of Edward T. Stotesbury” will be available.

Note: Due to overwhelming number of ticket sales and for us to properly accommodate our attendees, the Wine Tasting will begin at 6:30 PM followed by the Program.

For more information call 215-233-4600