Category Archives: Public Services

Photography: A Mini-History

  1839 was an important year in the history of record-keeping. It was in this year that the first practical form of photography, the Daguerreotype, was invented. Without this invention almost 170 years ago, PhillyHistory.org would not have been possible. Most of the images on this website come from one of three photographic types: the […]
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Photographic Firsts

  Philadelphia is famous for many things, including its inventors. Perhaps most famous of these is Ben Franklin. However, another Philadelphia inventor, Joseph Saxton, was responsible for creating one of the first photographs made in America. That photograph was taken in 1839 from the United States Mint (pictured above), where Saxton worked. In it he […]
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Learning for the Real World

  Late in the 19th century and early in the 20th, child labor reformers were busy trying to devise a plan for keeping the nations children out of the factories and in the schools for as long as possible. However, the things they were doing to extend the amount of time a child spent in […]
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Natural Healing

  In its most recent past, the buildings of the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, pictured here, were in a state of ruin. These ruins, combined with the less than desirable reputation the hospital had come to possess, attracted thrill seekers and urban explorers alike. It was rumored to have been the site of numerous […]
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Keeping the Children Well

  Today we take the school nurse for granted. Whenever a child scrapes his knee at recess or becomes ill and needs to go home early, the nurse is there. However, the school nurse and school medical inspections are, in America, largely a creation of the twentieth century. This photo, taken at the Alexander D. […]
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