The Shoulders of Giants

In 1895, the son of a runaway slave overcame various obstacles and fought racial inequality as he embarked on a journey, becoming the first African-American college football player in the state of Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and lead the Hawkeyes to their first-ever conference championship. Learn about this football pioneer, Frank Kinney Holbrook, from former NFL wide receiver, Quinn Early. Mr. Early produced a short film entitled “The Shoulders of Giants” about the life and career of Frank Holbrook. Join us on Sunday, December 12, at 1:30 PM via ZOOM. Quinn Early will introduce “The Shoulders of Giants” and then answer your questions after we all view this fascinating half-hour film.

Cost: $10 Call 215-438-1861 or MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE

Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 1:30 PM


Morris & Company: A Victorian Lifestyle Brand

by Concetta Martone, Ph.D.

One of the most influential figures of the nineteenth century, William Morris, was a poet, a designer, and an activist for social reform. His ideas about art and production stimulated a new way of thinking about the design and making of household objects. Morris established a successful commercial enterprise in the 1860s. His involvement in business bridged the gap between art and skilled manual work when industrial production was becoming the norm and stimulated consumption patterns by making readily available artful goods needed to create the sophisticated home look sought after by the flourishing Victorian middle class. This talk concentrates on Morris’ entrepreneurial efforts, investigating the relationship between his design/production methods, marketing strategies, and socialist ideals.

Sat., January 22, 2022, at 1:00 PM via ZOOM. Tickets are available until 11 AM on January 22

Cost: $10  Member cost: $8 TJU students: $6 Buy tickets online

Concetta Martone is an art and architectural historian and a founding principal of dMAS, an award-winning design studio in Philadelphia. She was born in Naples, Italy, where she began her studies, later moving to the United States to complete her education. Concetta holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. She teaches courses in the history and theory of art and architecture at Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University. As a historian, she searches for meaning in art and architecture; as a designer, she aims to create spaces that embody and express the values, ideals, and aspirations of the people that occupy them.

“No Limit to Space”

Popular Astronomy in 19th-Century Philadelphia

with Robert Hicks, PhD

Visitors to Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion might discover a curious object in the children’s room, a large 1871 cardboard planisphere that shows the stars, a rotating disk adjustable to the appearance of the night sky at any date or time. Designed for schools and the curious public, the planisphere speaks to the widespread interest in astronomy during the mid to late 1800s. This presentation surveys what discoveries were made in astronomy during the era and how it was promoted and taught. What did people then think about intelligent life elsewhere? The size and nature of the universe? Robert Hicks explores these topics through the work of a journalist who wrote the most popular guide to astronomy in America; the first professional woman astronomer and the first American scientist to discover a comet; and a lawyer, astronomer, and Civil War general who was the pre-eminent public lecturer on astronomy in the country. The presentation concludes with a virtual 1870s public observing night with a telescope!

Robert D. Hicks, Ph.D., is the former director of the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and a lifelong amateur astronomer whose doctoral study included the history of astronomy. As a college student, he worked at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

Saturday, March 12, 2021, at 1:00 PM  Cost: $20; Member cost: $15


Emilie Davis’s Civil War

with Judith Giesberg, Ph.D.

If you missed Dr. Giesberg’s illustrated talk about the Civil War era diaries of a Black Philadelphia woman, you can watch the presentation online on the Mansion’s YouTube channel

“The House Beautiful” – The Aesthetic Movement and the American Home

If you missed Dr. Concetta Martone’s fascinating illustrated talk entitled “The House Beautiful” – The Aesthetic Movement and the American Home, you can now view this on Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s YouTube Channel