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

Join Concetta Martone, Ph.D. for what promises to be an interesting ZOOM illustrated talk — Between November and May 1876, ten million people visited the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Some of the most prominent members of the British Aesthetic Movement participated in this international event introducing Aesthetic ideas to the American public. Aestheticism was an artistic movement that originated in Great Britain in the 1850s and 1860s as a reaction against the perceived excesses and deceitfulness of mid-nineteenth-century art and decoration. The artists and designers associated with the movement held strong views about the place of art in everyday life and sought to reform the domestic environment by introducing art in home design and decoration. The decoration of one’s home was the source of much preoccupation in the 1870s and 1880s in England and America. How could the average homeowner be expected to have the artistic sensibility required to recognize and create the beautiful and truthful? In this lecture, we will explore the origin and evolution of the “artistic” interior and identify its main elements, reflecting on evolving notions of taste and beauty and their impact in transforming how people lived and the spaces they called home.

Saturday, January 16, 2021, at 1:00 pm – Cost: $6


Ticket holders will receive the ZOOM sign-in information on Friday, January 15, and then again on Saturday, January 16.

The Institute for Colored Youth

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is thrilled to host Dr. Judith Giesberg with an illustrated talk via ZOOM about The Institute for Colored Youth. Opened in 1852, the Institute offered educational opportunities for African American children in Philadelphia. Many graduates and teachers of the Institute became important 19th-century civil rights activists and leaders. Graduates include Octavius Catto, Dr. Rebecca Cole, and Caroline LeCount. Want to learn more? Join us on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at 1:30 pm for a truly informative and interesting afternoon.

Dr. Giesberg is an expert on the history of women and gender during the U.S. Civil War. She has focused on African American communities during the war, in particular in the North. Giesberg oversees an ongoing project collecting and digitizing information wanted ads taken out by former slaves looking for loved ones lost in the domestic slave trade. She has recently appeared on CBS Evening News, The Washington Post, and NPR.

Saturday, February 6, 2021, at 1:00 pm


Ticket holders will receive the ZOOM sign-in information on Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6.

Henry Ossawa Tanner via ZOOM

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is pleased to host Dr. Anna O. Marley for an illustrated talk about Henry Ossawa Tanner. Tanner was born in Pittsburg but grew up in Philadelphia In 1879, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and was the only African American enrolled at that time. He is known as a realistic painter and became the first African American painter to gain international acclaim.

Curator of Historical American Art, Anna O. Marley joined PAFA in March of 2009. Marley is a scholar of American art and material culture from the colonial era to 1945 and holds a B.A. in Art History from Vassar College, an M.A. in Museum Studies from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. At PAFA, Marley has curated over 14 exhibitions, including the touring retrospective Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit. (2012)

Saturday, March 6, 2021, at 1:00 pm

Cost: $6


Octavius Catto

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Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is pleased to welcome Amy Cohen for an illustrated talk via ZOOM about the life of Octavius Catto, 19th-century civil rights activist. Catto was murdered in broad daylight on election day,  October 10, 1871. Catto’s assassin, Frank Kelly, was not prosecuted. In her talk, Cohen draws parallels to what happened in the 19th-century and what is happening today. Join us for what surely will be a most informative talk with time for discussion afterward.

Saturday, April 10, 2021, at 1:00 pm – Cost: $6


Ticket holders will receive ZOOM sign-in information at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 10, 2021

Amy Cohen spent 20 years as a middle and high school social studies teacher. While teaching at Masterman School, she was also among the first cohort of educators to teach African American History. She is currently the Director of Education at History Making Productions. She also produced Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century which won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Historic/Cultural Program Features. Cohen is a monthly columnist for Hidden City, an online magazine about Philadelphia’s history and the built environment.