Mid-Nineteenth-Century Suburban Housing in Germantown and the “Taste for Villa Life” 

An illustrated lecture by Nancy Holst, PhD


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Dr. Holst will talk about the diversity of activity that coalesced around the making of what was really a new and unprecedented type of residential environment– something we recognize as suburban today but that really had no such name at the time and was attributed to an increasing “taste for villa life.” From a large number of developers, speculators, and owners, working with small amounts of capital and little regulation, came widespread agreement on new standards for modern suburban life. She will examine the ways in which cultural ideas about nature, health, morality, taste, status, and aesthetics interacted with market forces and technology to produce a broad range of house types-from the elegant country seat to the small speculative dwelling-that offered material solutions to these new demands.

Nancy Holst received her B.S  from Wellesley College and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Delaware. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and has taught at the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania.

This event is open to the public and free of charge.

LOCATION: Aulenbach Parish House, 29 West Tulpehocken Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 2 pm.  CLICK HERE for reservations or call 215-438-1861


Dickens in America – Members only lecture

With Edward G. Pettit


In 1842, Charles Dickens toured America. And America embraced him. He was cheered everywhere he went. Balls and sumptuous dinners were held in his honor. Crowds clamored just to get a glimpse of Dickens as he arrived at each destination, lining up for hours just to shake his hand. Some journalists derided this adulation for a British author. Dickens toured factories and prisons, dined with authors, met the President, then wrote a travel book heavily criticizing America’s manners and institutions. Dickens had created the first celebrity author tour and in 1867, he returned for a series of dramatic readings from his novels that were so intense they hastened his early death in 1870.

Following Pettit’s talk, the Mansion’s Annual Report will be presented to members. Cookies will be served.

Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 2 pm Free of charge to members. Call 215-438-1861 for reservations.