Philadelphia: The World War I Years. Peter John Williams’s book is loaded with stories and photographs, many of them rare, gathered from libraries, private collections and museums. In 1914, Philadelphia was the nation’s third largest city, and because of its manufacturing might, mobilized itself for full war-time production almost overnight. The Great War would forever alter the city’s landscape and its people, says Williams.
When The United States Spoke French. François Furstenberg’s book follows the American adventures of five Frenchmen – Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord; Rochefoucauld, the duc de Liancourt; Louis-Marie Vicomte de Noailles; Moreau de Saint-Méry; and, Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, Comte Volney – after they land in Philadelphia, America’s capital after the Revolution. Through their stories, some of the most famous events of early American history can be seen in a new light, from the diplomatic struggles of the 1790s to the Haitian Revolution to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, A Postcard History. Harry Kyriakodis’s third book is a pictorial history from Arcadia Publishers about the creation of Philadelphia’s most beautiful and controversial mile-long avenue, one that links Center City with Fairmount Park.
Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations, by Charlene Mires. Philadelphia was among the more than 200 cities and towns competing to become “Capital of the World” and very nearly succeeded, says Rutgers University history professor Charlene Mires, in this dramatic and often comic tale of diplomacy gone wild.
The Contagious City, by Simon Finger. An academic historian at Reed College, Finger explores the complex relationship between medicine and politics in colonial Philadelphia. The city’s earliest deciders weighed in on everything – urban planning, sanitation, immigration, charity and public relief, social reform, the development of scientific and medical education, and the role of medicine in enabling a healthy citizenry to achieve national power.
Digging In the City of Brotherly Love, by Rebecca Yamin. Urban archaeologist Rebecca Yamin digs into the lives of former inhabitants while excavating inch by painstaking inch the extraordinary layers of Philadelphia’s 18th and 19th century histories. Some chapters of her book can be read online, but you’ll prefer having your own copy in your home library. Great photos too!
Treacherous Beauty, by Stephen Case and Mark Jacob. The Philadelphia Inquirer said it best about this first comprehensive biography of Revolutionary Philadelphia’s femme fatale Peggy Shippen, aka Mrs. Benedict Arnold: “History with all the sex, suspense, knavery, and bravery of a spy thriller.”
Philadelphia Beer – The Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty, by Richard Wagner. Brewery historian and author Richard Wagner has researched Pennsylvania’s brewing heritage since 1980. Over the years, the retired high school science teacher has compiled a photographic inventory of over 400 long-gone brewery sites throughout Pennsylvania. He has a diploma in brewing technology and is actively involved in Philadelphia’s craft brewery revival. Richard Wagner has also published four guidebooks on historic Pennsylvania breweries.
Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront, by Harry Kyriakodis. Popular Philadelphia historian Harry K. often gives walking tours, lectures and writes stories about the little known and lesser appreciated areas of the City. A frequent contributor to Hidden City and Scribd, he has possibly one of the largest private collections of books about the City of Brotherly Love. He recently published his second book, Northern Liberties: The Story of a Philadelphia River Ward.
John Barry: A Hero in the Age of Sail by Tim McGrath. Naval historian Tim McGrath writes a compelling page-turner about the romantic and gutsy Irish Philadelphian, John Barry, who became a renowned merchant sea-captain and ultimately the founder and commander-in-chief of the US Navy.
A Glorious Enterprise – The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science, by Robert McCracken Peck and Patricia Tyson Stroud. Naturalist and historian Robert McCracken Peck and historical biographer Patricia Tyson Stroud stalk the remarkable achievements of scientific pioneers who shaped the first 200 years of the Academy, the oldest natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere. Patricia Stroud has also written biographies about Philadelphia naturalists Thomas Say and Charles-Lucien Bonaparte, as well as another on Joseph Bonaparte, exiled brother of Napoleon, uncle and father-in-law to Charles-Lucien Bonaparte.
Philadelphia’s Golden Age of Retail, by Lawrence M. Arrigale and Thomas H. Keels. Philadelphia was the birthplace of America’s consumer culture, home to some of country’s largest and most innovative department and specialty stores. The authors have assembled hundreds of pictures which trace the birth, rise, and decline of the City’s great stores. Tom Keels’ other books include Wicked Philadelphia: Sin in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia’s Graveyards and Cemeteries, Forgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City, and Chestnut Hill.
Mob Files: Mobsters, Molls and Murder by George Anastasio. Veteran Philadelphia journalist George Anastasia is the author of five books on Philadelphia organized crime, casino gambling in Atlantic City, and criminal prosecutions. Mob Files is an anthology of articles about Philly’s mob scene, written for the Philadelphia Inquirer over the years. His other books include: The Last Gangster, Blood and Honor, The GoodFella Tapes and The Summer Wind. He is also the co-host of a weekly radio show, Crime Guys, on WPHT 1210 AM.
Middletown Township, Delaware County by Mary Anne Eves. Local historian Mary Anne Eves investigates the history of this small, former farming town, founded in 1868, and once home to the Unami tribe of Native Americans. Mary Anne Eves is the vice president of the Middletown Township Historical Society. Her family has lived in Delaware County since 1795 and have been residents of Middletown Township since 1900.
Roxborough, by Deborah Del Collo. A Swede named Rambo settled the small community of Roxborough long before William Penn arrived in Philadelphia, but pioneers like Levering and Rittenhouse would shape the fabric of the community. Archivist Deborah Del Collo and the Roxborough, Manayunk, and Wissahickon Historical Society selected photographs and stories from its collection, as well as from former and present-day residents, showcasing the streets of Roxborough’s later past in this book from Arcadia Publishers.
City Abandoned: Charting the Loss of Civic Institutions in Philadelphia, by Vincent David Feldman. Over the last two decades, Tyler School of Art professor Vincent D. Feldman photographed Philadelphia’s architectural ghosts – crumbling schools, libraries, post offices, museums and other important landmarks – producing this melancholy portrait of a city in transition, sometimes lost in translation.
Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia, by George Boudreau. Cultural historian George Boudreau specializes in 18th Century Pennsylvania. In this illustrated tour of Philadelphia, he tells stories of the persons who experienced the early years of the new nation, as well as about the iconic buildings and streets where America was founded.
Lost Philadelphia. The authors, Ed Mauger and Bob Skiba, are avid historians and certified professional tour guides in Philadelphia. In this well-researched book they offer a nostalgic journey back in time to visit some of the lost treasures that once graced the City. Featured sites include the first Water Works, The Great Central Fair, Music Fund Hall, Graff House, Masonic Hall, Smith and Windmill Islands, Wanamaker’s Grand Depot, Starr Garden, Lubinville Film Studios, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Metropolitan Opera House, Arch Street Theater, Betsy Ross House, Broad Street Station, and many more.
A Guide to the Great Gardens of the Philadelphia Region, by Adam Levine. Photos by Rob Cardillo. This beautifully illustrated guide showcases nearly one hundred gardens and horticultural destinations in the Tri-state area.