Each of the nearly 100 essays in Insight Philadelphia tells a succinct, compelling, and little-known tale of the city’s past. Some stories are quirky, like how early gas stations were designed to resemble classical temples, or the saga of how a museum acquired a 2000-year-old Greek statue, then had it demolished with a sledgehammer. Other stories turn serious, exploring the tragic deaths of child laborers in the city’s textile mills and a century-old case of racial profiling that led to a stationhouse murder. Historian Kenneth Finkel introduces readers to the many brave souls and colorful characters who left their mark on the city, from the Irish immigrant “coal heavers”—who initiated the nation’s first general strike—to the teenage Josephine Baker making a flashy debut on the Philadelphia stage.
Kenneth Finkel is a professor of history at Temple University in Philadelphia, and the author of nine books on Philadelphia. He was a former curator of prints and photographs at the Library Company of Philadelphia, program officer at the William Penn Foundation, and executive director of arts and culture service at WHYY.
Description courtesy of Rutgers University Press.
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