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In the 1864 engraving Reading the Emancipation Proclamation , a group of slaves, possibly generations of a family, listens in joy and astonishment as a white Union soldier reads the presidential order granting their long-awaited freedom. One of the first prints of the era to depict African Americans...
Started in the 1700s by a grain merchant and the Botanist to the King, the French company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie grew to become the most important seed company in the world by the mid-1800s, known not only for its incredible rate of production but for its scientific research on selection and...
In 1630, a Dutch diamond merchant named Killiaen van Rensselaer joined his country’s push for globalization and exploration and negotiated with the Mohican Indians for a tract of land in the Hudson River Valley of New Netherland (present-day New York State). His purchase founded the Manor of...
German-speaking immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries documented their religious beliefs, as well as important events in their personal lives, through decorated manuscripts called fraktur. In each, colorful images of flowers, animals, and religious scenes surround...
Clayton Douglass Buck, who served as governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1943 to 1949, lived his entire life on a beautiful estate in New Castle known as Buena Vista. He was not the first statesman to own the property, as John M. Clayton, who built the house between...
Less commonplace today—maybe because they never unstuck cleanly from the not-so-tasty backing paper—Candy Buttons were once a childhood staple. The colorful dots of sugar came in three flavors, lemon, lime, and cherry, arrayed in rows of four. “Candy Bottoms,” a work reminiscent of the candy (but...
In the case of architect Frank Furness (1839-1912), one can easily see how the buildings are the product of the man. Furness has been described as hotheaded and difficult, as well as pioneering and imaginative. Critics and admirers alike have called his buildings challenging, even outrageous, but...
At first glance, it may seem contradictory that celebrated artist Chuck Close is best known for his large-scale portraits. Close has prosopagnosia, which means that he has trouble recognizing faces—even those of people he has known for years. But flattening out a face through the process of painting...
As the colonies prepared for a revolution in 1775, Pennsylvania faced a conflict of its own. Dissatisfaction with its conservative governing body, which had not supported any proposals for independence, had led to the formation of local “committees” that were demanding major change. In June 1776,...
Even before he was old enough to officially rule France and the territories the nation had acquired throughout the world, King Louis XV knew his geography. He was eight years old when Guillaume Delisle, the great mapmaker who pioneered scientific cartography, took the position of Royal Geographer...