The musings of a physician who served the community for over six decades
Downtown A discussion about downtown area in Philadelphia and connections from today with its historical past.
West of Broad A collection of articles about the area west of Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Delaware (State of) Originally the "lower counties" of Pennsylvania, and thus one of three Quaker colonies founded by William Penn, Delaware has developed its own set of traditions and history.
Religious Philadelphia William Penn wanted a colony with religious freedom. A considerable number, if not the majority, of American religious denominations were founded in this city. The main misconception about religious Philadelphia is that it is Quaker-dominated. But the broader misconception is that it is not Quaker-dominated.
Particular Sights to See:Center City Taxi drivers tell tourists that Center City is a "shining city on a hill". During the Industrial Era, the city almost urbanized out to the county line, and then retreated. Right now, the urban center is surrounded by a semi-deserted ring of former factories.
Philadelphia's Middle Urban Ring Philadelphia grew rapidly for seventy years after the Civil War, then gradually lost population. Skyscrapers drain population upwards, suburbs beckon outwards. The result: a ring around center city, mixed prosperous and dilapidated. Future in doubt.
Historical Motor Excursion North of Philadelphia The narrow waist of New Jersey was the upper border of William Penn's vast land holdings, and the outer edge of Quaker influence. In 1776-77, Lord Howe made this strip the main highway of his attempt to subjugate the Colonies.
Land Tour Around Delaware Bay Start in Philadelphia, take two days to tour around Delaware Bay. Down the New Jersey side to Cape May, ferry over to Lewes, tour up to Dover and New Castle, visit Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Battlefield and art museum, then back to Philadelphia. Try it!
Tourist Trips Around Philadelphia and the Quaker Colonies The states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and southern New Jersey all belonged to William Penn the Quaker. He was the largest private landholder in American history. Using explicit directions, comprehensive touring of the Quaker Colonies takes seven full days. Local residents would need a couple dozen one-day trips to get up to speed.
Touring Philadelphia's Western Regions Philadelpia County had two hundred farms in 1950, but is now thickly settled in all directions. Western regions along the Schuylkill are still spread out somewhat; with many historic estates.
Up the King's High Way New Jersey has a narrow waistline, with New York harbor at one end, and Delaware Bay on the other. Traffic and history travelled the Kings Highway along this path between New York and Philadelphia.
Arch Street: from Sixth to Second When the large meeting house at Fourth and Arch was built, many Quakers moved their houses to the area. At that time, "North of Market" implied the Quaker region of town.
Up Market Street to Sixth and Walnut Millions of eye patients have been asked to read the passage from Franklin's autobiography, "I walked up Market Street, etc." which is commonly printed on eye-test cards. Here's your chance to do it.
Sixth and Walnut over to Broad and Sansom In 1751, the Pennsylvania Hospital at 8th and Spruce was 'way out in the country. Now it is in the center of a city, but the area still remains dominated by medical institutions.
Montgomery and Bucks Counties The Philadelphia metropolitan region has five Pennsylvania counties, four New Jersey counties, one northern county in the state of Delaware. Here are the four Pennsylvania suburban ones.
City Hall to Chestnut Hill There are lots of ways to go from City Hall to Chestnut Hill, including the train from Suburban Station, or from 11th and Market. This tour imagines your driving your car out the Ben Franklin Parkway to Kelly Drive, and then up the Wissahickon.
Philadelphia Reflections is a history of the area around Philadelphia, PA
... William Penn's Quaker Colonies
plus medicine, economics and politics ... nearly 4,000 articles in all
Try the search box to the left if you don't see what you're looking for on this page.
George R. Fisher, III, M.D.
George R. Fisher, III, M.D.
Age: 97 of Philadelphia, formerly of Haddonfield
Dr. George Ross Fisher of Philadelphia died on March 9, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in 1925 in Erie, Pennsylvania, to two teachers, George and Margaret Fisher, he grew up in Pittsburgh, later attending The Lawrenceville School and Yale University (graduating early because of the war). He was very proud of the fact that he was the only person who ever graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Science in English Literature. He attended Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where he met the love of his life, fellow medical student, and future renowned Philadelphia radiologist Mary Stuart Blakely. While dating, they entertained themselves by dressing up in evening attire and crashing fancy Manhattan weddings. They married in 1950 and were each other’s true loves, mutual admirers, and life partners until Mary Stuart passed away in 2006. A Columbia faculty member wrote of him, “This young man’s personality is way off the beaten track, and cannot be evaluated by the customary methods.”
After training at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia where he was Chief Resident in Medicine, and spending a year at the NIH, he opened a practice in Endocrinology on Spruce Street where he practiced for sixty years. He also consulted regularly for the employees of Strawbridge and Clothier as well as the Hospital for the Mentally Retarded at Stockley, Delaware. He was beloved by his patients, his guiding philosophy being the adage, “Listen to your patient – he’s telling you his diagnosis.” His patients also told him their stories which gave him an education in all things Philadelphia, the city he passionately loved and which he went on to chronicle in this online blog. Many of these blogs were adapted into a history-oriented tour book, Philadelphia Revelations: Twenty Tours of the Delaware Valley.
He was a true Renaissance Man, interested in everything and everyone, remembering everything he read or heard in complete detail, and endowed with a penetrating intellect which cut to the heart of whatever was being discussed, whether it be medicine, history, literature, economics, investments, politics, science or even lawn care for his home in Haddonfield, NJ where he and his wife raised their four children. He was an “early adopter.” Memories of his children from the 1960s include being taken to visit his colleagues working on the UNIVAC computer at Penn; the air-mail version of the London Economist on the dining room table; and his work on developing a proprietary medical office software using Fortran. His dedication to patients and to his profession extended to his many years representing Pennsylvania to the American Medical Association.
After retiring from his practice in 2003, he started his pioneering “just-in-time” Ross & Perry publishing company, which printed more than 300 new and reprint titles, ranging from Flight Manual for the SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane (his best seller!) to Terse Verse, a collection of a hundred mostly humorous haikus. He authored four books. In 2013 at age 88, he ran as a Republican for New Jersey Assemblyman for the 6th district (he lost).
A gregarious extrovert, he loved meeting his fellow Philadelphians well into his nineties at the Shakespeare Society, the Global Interdependence Center, the College of Physicians, the Right Angle Club, the Union League, the Haddonfield 65 Club, and the Franklin Inn. He faithfully attended Quaker Meeting in Haddonfield NJ for over 60 years. Later in life he was fortunate to be joined in his life, travels, and adventures by his dear friend Dr. Janice Gordon.
He passed away peacefully, held in the Light and surrounded by his family as they sang to him and read aloud the love letters that he and his wife penned throughout their courtship. In addition to his children – George, Miriam, Margaret, and Stuart – he leaves his three children-in-law, eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and his younger brother, John.
A memorial service, followed by a reception, will be held at the Friends Meeting in Haddonfield New Jersey on April 1 at one in the afternoon. Memorial contributions may be sent to Haddonfield Friends Meeting, 47 Friends Avenue, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
Market, Chestnut and Walnut Streets go right across the Schuylkill on bridges; that fact was once their glory, but now is the source of their problem. The first bridge to be built, at Market Street, was originally placed there in 1804. Placing your mansion on an important street makes you prominent, but if the street gets too busy, crowded and noisy you eventually wish you lived somewhere else. Air conditioning helps somewhat by allowing your windows to be closed all the time, but eventually, the increasing commercial value of the location gives you unwelcome neighbors. So right now the last few blocks of Chestnut and Walnut before you reach the river are pretty run down. Students from the Universities on the far side of the river make for street activity at night, but most of them head for the Eastern edge of Rittenhouse Square, where droves of them sit at sidewalk tables on a summer evening. Irreverent college kids refer to such a congregation as a meat market, but I'm only quoting them.
John Wanamaker had one of his many mansions just past the Square at 2032 Walnut, but it now is mostly an entrance to an apartment building towering above it. What now distinguishes this area most are the surviving churches.
The Unitarian Church at 22nd and Chestnut is one of Frank Furness' finest buildings and next to it is a renovated former Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian Church), now used for an advertising agency. Frank Furness won the Medal of Honor during the Civil War before he thought much about architecture. Swedenborg, for his part, founded what is known as a thinking man's religion, since Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) himself was a scientist of the first rank who might have won a Nobel Prize if there had been such a thing in his day. The Mother Church of this religion moved out to Bryn Athyn, abandoning the center city after what is reported to be a heated dispute. While the new cathedral is absolutely spectacular, the old one on Chestnut Street is still pretty fine, itself.
Across Chestnut Street is the Lutheran Church, which proves to be astonishingly large when you enter it, and it has great acoustical qualities related to the Moravian influences of the last century. Up at the NorthWest corner of Rittenhouse Square is Holy Trinity. Its minister, Phillips Brooks, wrote the words of the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem", which are a poem of considerable merit and sophistication. Unfortunately, the need to adjust these words to music which children might single to the attachment of three different tunes of less than classic musical proportions, sometimes even less sonorous when sung simultaneously by adults who remember different tunes from their childhood. In view of the far from the peaceful scene of present-day Bethlehem, at least the message of the carol warrants recollection indeed. And, yes, the church is reddish brown in color, as most Episcopalian churches seem to be.
There once was a time when Anthony Drexel walked down Walnut Street to work every day. One can easily imagine him tipping his hat to passers-by, striding along in front of formerly elegant mansions which line the street but are now too big to maintain. This area was a place of show houses, of downtown places to hold parties during the social season, from thence fleeing to a second house in the suburbs, or in Maine, or in Europe, during the summer. The Great Depression of the 1930s forced most of these people to choose between their various residences, and because of the advent of the automobile, they mostly chose the other places, abandoning these. It was the end of the Gilded age.
Stephen Girard died on December 26, 1831. It required 7 years for executors to settle the estate of this richest man in America, valued at $7 million, of which $5.25 million was to establish a school for poor white orphan boys. Two million dollars of that was set aside in the will for the construction of his new school. Considerable criticism was raised about the fact that the various administrators of his estate did not admit a single student for the first sixteen years, during which time extensive trustee tours of Europe were conducted to study suitable models and publish books about them. At the end of that time of preparation, the two million dollars were just about all gone.
It turns out that Girard could actually afford this luxurious approach. In 1886 the estate would rise in value to $11 million, in 1914 it was worth $30 million. In 1926 it was worth $73 million. This appreciation was in spite of educating more than 10,000 boys, and also purchasing and repaving (with Belgian blocks) both Delaware Avenue and Water Street, from Vine to South Street as a public service to which more than $2 million was devoted.
In 1935 Cheesman Herrick wrote a history of Girard College, in which is found the following, rather delicate, history of the long-term financial management by the Board:
"The Board of Directors of City Trusts is a creation of the State of Pennsylvania. At the outset in the administration of the Girard will, the city authorities looked to the state Legislature for an empowering act to proceed with the organization of Girard College. The same authority [then] set aside the control of the City councils and put the Girard Estates and Girard College under a new Board which became a part of the machinery of the city government. Probably no more successful administration of public trusts has ever been known than that by the Board of Directors of City Trusts. Time has known the wisdom of Stephen Girard in leaving the administration of his estate as he did.
"Colonel Alexander K. McClure, who knew Philadelphia well and who was relentless in his inquiry as to the discharge of trusts by public officials, paid the Board of Directors of City Trusts a deserved compliment in saying that no shadow of doubt or suspicion had ever fallen upon the doing of that body. It may be added further that probably no other government agency or private business enjoys a higher reputation for integrity and efficiency in the conduct of its affairs that does this Board. That this record is good is owing primarily to the standard set by those who have served under the Board in various business and administrative positions.
"When the record of the Board is taken into consideration, and the magnitude of the work which it has to supervise is regarded, one can readily see that service on this Board is a signal distinction. The list of the Board has been a sort of honor roll of Philadelphia's foremost citizens. That the standard in this Board has been so high and that members of the Board have served so faithfully, have been due in no small part to its members' having seen beyond the millions of Stephen Girard, and numerous other funds which they have handled, to the great good which these various trusts are accomplishing. With the interest of the beneficiaries always in mind the Board has conscientiously sought to make the Girard Estate, and the other foundations under its supervision, serve the community to the greatest possible extent. The idea of service has been the touchstone making the Board of Directors of the City of Trusts a great Board."
Starting with Nicholas Biddle, the Board of the institution was certainly composed of men who had distinguished themselves in business and finance. However, a great deal of credit must be given to Stephen Girard, himself. A year before he died, he bought roughly 18,000 acres of Schuylkill County after the discovery of coal outcroppings on the property. In subsequent years over a hundred million dollars of anthracite coal were extracted by the mining agents of the Girard Estate, based in Pottsville, PA. The clean-burning properties of this form of coal were promoted with the image of "Phoebe Snow", and were the basis for much of the industrialization of the region. Coal came down the Schuylkill River on canal barges with a terminus opposite the present boathouses, hence the Lighthouse adorning Sedgwick, the most northern boathouse. Later, it was carried on the Reading Railroad, which at one time was the largest railroad in the nation.
The Girard heirs felt this went far beyond Girard's contemplated income from the estate, and went to court to obtain for themselves what they considered a more appropriate share of it. Their argument boiled down to saying Girard College had so much money it didn't know what to do with it and was returning income to principal. It was their contention that if Girard could have predicted both the revenue and the expenses of the school, he would have left the school less money, and given more to his numerous heirs.
The managers of the estate, who felt their own acumen was largely responsible for the windfall, made a sophisticated and ultimately successful rebuttal. Instead of relying on the contrast between the incredibly good performance of the Board of City Trusts, compared with the earlier looting of the estate by City Council, their lawyer
(Horace Binney) relied on and largely invented some important legal reasoning. Coal in the ground was a dwindling asset, and speed of its dwindling was under the control of the owners. The managers of Girard's estate had shrewdly transformed the coal into a more conventional source of income by taking proceeds at the best available price, regardless of the needs of the school. With it, they put up office buildings and department stores in the center of Philadelphia on the land around 12th and Market, first intended to be the site of the orphan school. Also, the six hundred acres of Girard's farm in South Philadelphia were converted to rental houses. In time, the income from the coal-bearing properties was transferred to center-city rentals -- all within the bounds of real estate which Girard had purchased before his death. The trustees had enhanced the value of Girard's properties by shifting assets amongst them, a result that greatly benefited the entire city and region, and rendered the entire concept of annual income -- irrelevant. The legalisms of this dispute are very clever, but in truth, the Girard's heirs probably never had a chance in court against the political and business establishment of the whole state, united in the firm belief they were doing a remarkably benevolent thing for orphans.
It is breath-taking to reflect that Girard College's anthracite did become the economic pump for the entire Philadelphia industrial region from Pottsville to Trenton, for nearly a century. And equally breathtaking to reflect that, about a century later, anthracite mining just about ceased entirely. Although there was shrewd later management of the assets, the fact is the coal was discovered, purchased and bound up in irrevocable covenants by a single man in 1829, who was therefore dead during every day of this activity, except during the first year when the plan was organized. If he wanted to do this for orphans, it is scarcely possible even to suggest a reason why he shouldn't.
Girard College It's Semi Centennial of Girard College: George P. Rupp ASIN: B000TNER1G
We are about to look at a remarkable
a fourteen-block stretch of street, with several unifying historical
themes, but there is one notable feature which stands by itself. The PSFS
building is now the site of a luxury hotel, but it once
housed the Philadelphia
Savings Fund Society, the oldest savings bank in the country,
having been founded in 1816. Setting aside the place of this
the institution in American finance, and passing quickly by the deplorable
end of it with swashbuckling corsairs in three-piece suits, 1929
the building itself remains so remarkable that the hotel still displays the
PSFS sign on its top. The imagination of the architects was so advanced
that a building constructed seventy-five years ago looks as though it
might have been completed yesterday. The Smithsonian Institution
conducts annual five-day tours of Chicago to look at a skyscraper
architecture, but hardly anything on that tour compares with the PSFS
building. From time to time, someone digs up old newspaper clippings
from the 1930s to show how the PSFS was ridiculed for its odd-looking
the building, but anyhow this is certainly one example of how the Avante
the guard got it right.
At the far Eastern end of Market Street, right in the middle of the
street once stood a head house, which in this case was called the
market terminal building
. In those days, street markets were mostly a line
of sheds and carts down the middle of a wide street, but usually there
was a substantial masonry building at the head of the market, where
money was counted and more easily guarded. An example of a restored
ahead house can today be found at Second and Pine, although that market
("Newmarket") was less for groceries than for upscale shops. The market
on Market Street started at the river and worked West with the
advancing city limits, making it understandable that buildings which
lined that broad avenue gradually converted to shops, and then stores.
The grandest of the department stores on Market Street was, of course, John Wanamaker's,
all the way to City Hall, built on the site of Pennsylvania
Railroad's freight terminal (the passenger terminal was on the West
side of City Hall). In the late Nineteenth Century, the Pennsylvania
Railroad and the Reading Railroads terminated at this point, so
rail traffic flowing east merged with ocean and river traffic flowing
west. Well into the Twentieth Century, a dozen major department stores
and hundreds of specialty stores lined the street, with trolley cars,
buses, and subway traffic taking over for horse-drawn drainage. The
the pinnacle of this process was the corner of Eighth and Market, where
four department stores stood, one on each corner, and underneath them
three subway systems intersected. The Reading terminal market is
Philadelphia's last remnant of this almost medieval shopping concept,
although the Italian street markets of South Philadelphia display a
more authentic chaos. Street markets, followed by shops, overwhelmed by
department stores showed a regular succession up Market Street, and
when commerce disappeared, it all turned into a wide avenue from City
Hall to River, leaving few colonial traces.
The history of Market Street is the history of the Reading Terminal
Market. Farmers and local artisans thronged to sell their wares in
sheds put up in the middle of the wide street, traditionally called
"shambles" after the similar areas in York, England. Gradually, elegant
stores were built on the street, and upscale competitors began to be
uncomfortable with the mess and disorder of the shambles down the
center of the street. By 1859 the power structure had changed, and the
upscale merchants on the sidewalks got a law passed, forbidding
shambles. After the expected uproar, the farmers and other shambles
merchants got organized, and built a Farmers Market on the North side
of 12th and Market Relative peace and commercial
tranquility then prevailed until the Reading Railroad employed power
politics and the right of eminent domain to displace the Farmer's
Marketplace with a downtown railroad terminal that was an architectural
marvel for its time, with the farmers displaced to the rear in the
Reading Terminal Market, opening in 1893. Bassett's, the ice cream
maker, is the only merchant continuously in business there since it
opened, but several other vendors are nearly as old. The farmers market
persisted in that form for a century until the City built a convention
center next door. As a result, the quaint old farmers market became a
tourist attraction, with over 90,000 visitors a week. That's fine if
you are selling sandwiches and souvenirs, but it crowds out meat and
produces and thereby creates a problem. If the tourist attraction gets
too popular, it drives out everything which made it a tourist
attraction; so rules had to be made and enforced, limiting the number
of restaurants, but encouraging Pennsylvania Dutch farmers. Competition
and innovation are the lifeblood of commercial real estate, but they
are always noisy processes. The history of the street is the history of
clamor and jostling, eventually dying out to the point where everyone
is regretful and nostalgic for a revival of clamor.
"During the winter of 1616, Shakespeare summoned his lawyer Francis Collins, who a decade earlier had drawn up the indentures for the Stratford tithes transaction, to execute his last will and testament. Apparently, this event took place in January, for when Collins was called upon to revise the document some weeks later, he (or his clerk) inadvertently wrote January instead of March, copying the word from the earlier draft. Revisions were necessitated by the marriage of [his daughter], Judith... The lawyer came on 25 March. A new first page was required, and numerous substitutions and additions in the second and third pages, although it is impossible to say how many changes were made in March and how many currently came in January. Collins never got round to having a fair copy of the will made, probably because of haste occasioned by the seriousness of the testator's condition, though this attorney had a way of allowing much-corrected draft wills to stand" (@ Schoenbaum 242-6).
Words which were lined-out in the original but which are still legible are indicated by [brackets]. Words which were added interlinearly are indicated by italic text. The word "Item" is given in the bold text to aid reading and is not so written in the document.
From the first line of Shakspere's will
In the name of God Amen I William Shakespeare, of Stratford upon Avon in the country of Warr., gent., in perfect health and memory, God be praised, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say, first, I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits, of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting, and my body to the earth whereof it is made. Item, I give and bequeath unto my [son and] daughter Judith one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto her in the manner and form following, that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion within one year after my decease, with consideration after the rate of two shillings in the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid unto her after my decease, and the fifty pounds residue thereof upon her surrendering of, or giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will shall like of, to surrender or grant all her estate and right that shall descend or come unto her after my decease, or that she now hath, of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement, with appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaid in the said country of Warr., being parcel or holder of the manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall and her heirs forever. Item, I give and bequeath unto my saied daughter Judith one hundred and fyftie poundes more, if shee or anie issue of her bodie by lyvinge att thend of three yeares next ensueing the daie of the date of this my will, during which tyme my executours are to paie her consideracion from my deceas according to the rate aforesaied; and if she dyes within the said term without issue of her body, then my will us, and I doe give and bequeath one hundred poundes thereof to my niece Elizabeth Hall, and the fifty poundes to be set fourth by my executours during the life of my sister Johane Harte, and the use and profit thereof coming shall be paid to my said sister Jone, and after her decease the saied l.li.12 shall remain amongst the children of my said sister, equally to be divided amongst them; but if my said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said three years, or any use of her body, then my will is, and so I devise and bequeath the said hundred and fifty poundes to be set our by my executors and overseers for the best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paid unto her so long as she shall be married and covert baron [by my executours and overseers]; but my will is, that she shall have the consideracion yearly paied unto her during her life, and, after her decease the said stock and consideracion to be paid to her children, if she has any, and if not, to her executours or assignes, she living the said term after my decease. Provided that if such husband as she shall at the end of the said three years be married unto, or at any after, do sufficiently assure unto her and tissue of her body lands answerable to the portion by this my will given unto her, and to be adjudged so by my executors and overseers, then my will is, that the said cl.li.13 shall be paid to such husband as shall make such assurance, to his own use. Item, I give and bequeath unto my said sister Jone xx.li. and all my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within one year after my decease; and I doe will and devise unto her the house with appurtenances in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of xij.d. Item, I give and bequeath
Shakspere's 1st signature
unto her three sonnes, William Harte, ---- Hart, and Michaell Harte, five pounds apiece, to be paid within one year after my decease [to be sett out for her within one year after my decease by my executors, with advice and direction of my overseers, for her best profit, until her marriage, and then the same with the increase thereof to be paid unto her]. Item, I give and bequeath unto [her] the said Elizabeth Hall, all my plate, except my broad silver and gilt bole, that I now have at the date of this my will. Item, I give and bequeath unto the poor of Stratford aforesaid ten pounds; to Mr. Thomas Combe my sword; to Thomas Russell esquire five pounds; and to Frauncis Collins, of the borough of War. in the county of Warr. gentleman, thirteen pounds, six shillings, and eight pence, to be paid within one year after my decease. Item, I give and bequeath to [Mr. Richard Tyler thelder] Hamlett Sadler xxvj.8. viij.d. to buy him a ring; to William Raynoldes gent., xxvj.8. viij.d. to buy him a ring; to my dogs on William Walker xx8. in gold; to Anthony Nashe gent. xxvj.8. viij.d. [in gold]; and to my fellows John Hemynges, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, xxvj.8. viij.d. a piece to buy them rings, Item, I give, will, bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to perform this my will, and towards the performance thereof, all that capital messuage or tenement with appurtenances, in Stratford aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I now dwell, and two messuages or tenements with appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in Henley street, within the borough of Stratford aforesaid; and all my barns, stables, orchards, gardens, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, whatsoever, situated, lying, and being, or to be had, received, perceived, or taken, within the towns, hamlets, villages, fields, and grounds, of Stratford upon Avon, Old Stratford, Bishopton, and Welcome, or in any of them in the said counties of Warr. And also all that messuage or tenemente with appurtenaunces, wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, situate, lying and being, in the Balckfriers in London, nere the Wardrobe; and all my other lands, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever, To have and to hold all and singuler the said premisses, with their appurtenaunces, unto the said Susanna Hall, for and during the term of her natural life, and after her decease, to the first son of her body lawfully issueing, and to the heires males of the body of the said first son lawfully issueing; and for defalt of such issue, to the second son of her body, lawfully issueing, and to the heires males of the body of the said second son lawfully issueing; and for default of such heires, to the third son of the body of the saied Susanna lawfullie yssueing, and of the heires males of the bodie of the said third son lawfully issueing; and for defalt of such issue, the same to be and remaine to the fourth [son], ffyfth, sixte, and seaventh sonnes of her bodie lawfullie issueing, one after another, and to the heires
Shakspere's 2nd signature
males of the bodies of the said fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sonnes lawfully issuing, in such manner as it is before limited to be and remain to the first, second, and third sons of her body, and to their heirs males; and for default of such issue, the said premises to be and remain to my said niece Hall, and the heir males of her body lawfully issuing; and for default of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the heirs males of her body lawfully issuing; and for default of such issue, to the right heirs of me the said William Shakespeare forever. Item, I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture, Item, I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leases, plate, jewels, and household stuff whatsoever, after my debts and legacies paid, and my funeral expenses discharged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my son in law, John Hall gent., and my daughter Susanna, his wife, whom I ordain and make executors of this my last will and testament. And I do entreat and appoint the said Thomas Russell Esquire and Frauncis Collins gent. to be overseers hereof, and do revoke all former wills, and publish this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my [seale] hand, the date and year first above written.
Witnes to the publishing
hereof Fra: Collyns
Atlantic City has long been a summer resort, crowded with people on the boardwalk by the sea. But families suddenly disappear at Labor Day, when the kids go back to school. So, in 1921 the merchant community hit on an idea to extend the busy season an extra week, by having a big beauty contest on the week following Labor Day. The early Miss America contest struggled for a year or two and then became an established annual national ritual. The hotels and boardwalk did indeed stay crowded for an extra week, during which a publicity campaign was conducted to build up anticipation for the big Saturday night event. The preliminaries included interviews and mini contests, for the bathing suit division, the evening gown division, arguments about official state representation, occasional scandalous behavior, parades in open convertible cars, and whatnot and whatnot. Behind the scenes, there were little local battles, including a grim determination not to have a negro girl represent a state from the old Confederacy. Since only one Jewish girl ever won the contest in eighty years, there were probably other issues in other states, hidden behind the curtains. Smoking and drinking were prohibited but scarcely non-existent, as was getting married or pregnant; much of the fuss about these lesser moral issues was probably intended to cloak the event with the high moral tone, counteracting some unfortunate early beginnings of the pageant, and the exciting laxity traditionally associated with summer resorts by the ocean. But they aimed at and succeeded in attracting, a certain kind of audience.
For months before the pageant by the sea, preliminary contests were held throughout various states to select the local Queen, Miss Arizona, Miss Mississippi, Miss Delaware and so on. The people involved in these local contests duly trooped to Atlantic City to see the big event and cheer their candidate. Over time, it became clear that some states worked really hard on this effort; Mississippi was a notorious big spender, and a consistent big winner, but others were almost as determined to win. The grassroots campaign was largely centered on small-town high schools, but the effort was conducted by a great many local women, mostly middle-aged and often quite homely, who somehow got control of local beauty politics and ran the local contests. Over the years, two of these groupies had been nurses who worked in hospitals where I was a consultant, and I got to watch their enthusiasm bubbling under the surface. One woman had worked for years as a night nurse. The sort of person who sleeps all day and works all night tends to be a little odd, often slightly hostile. But when I asked this ancient battle-ax every year about the contest, she immediately blossomed and went on for half an hour about the gossip surrounding this year's contestants and winner. There was something about all this which was like the fantasies of playing with dolls, fulfilling unfulfilled dreams. If you pause to think about it, that enormous convention hall in Atlantic City wasn't filled with school kids after Labor Day; the school kids were back at school. Although the publicity was all about kids and giggles, the real fans were dreaming of days long past, perhaps as former beauties, more often only wannabes, their dreaming only intensified by knowing for a certainty that this success would never be theirs.
It was this self-delusion quality which the promoters of the contest never seemed to get through their heads; after all, the pageant was created and promoted by local merchants who mostly aimed to sell salt-water taffy to the rubes. Radio, and then television, gave the Miss America contest a big publicity push, and then eventually used up its material. When the casino crowd moved into A.C., the non-gambling ladies playing with dolls quickly demonstrated they didn't gamble, in fact, would sass the serious gamblers for their idiotic behavior losing money as fast as they could. TV ratings, contest attendance, and publicity began to fall off rather seriously. The idea was tried that perhaps women now wanted careers, so "points" were awarded for talent shows, musical performances, and brief contests about current events. Foo. That's not what the audiences wanted. So the contest moved to Las Vegas, and the date was shifted to January, a slow time for casinos. The awards were shifted from national tours and opportunities for screen tests to the awarding of college scholarships. Unfortunately, most of the contestants were already in college or married, and the scholarships were in fact mostly used to pay off trailing debts from colleges already attended.
So Miss America, now regularly a black woman but seldom a Jewish one, continue to be fodder for the sponsors and promoters of the pageant. But wherever it goes and whatever its modifications, the Miss America contest is never going to return to former glory until it learns who its real audience is. The lonesome, middle aged lady who dreams of playing dolls with live dolls.
And then, Miss America went away. Some other city has her. Atlantic City lost her. And there she goes, Miss America.
Philadephia: America's Capital, 1774-1800 The Continental Congress met in Philadelphia from 1774 to 1788. Next, the new republic had its capital here from 1790 to 1800. Thoroughly Quaker Philadelphia was in the center of the founding twenty-five years when, and where, the enduring political institutions of America emerged.
Philadelphia: Decline and Fall (1900-2060) The world's richest industrial city in 1900, was defeated and dejected by 1950. Why? Digby Baltzell blamed it on the Quakers. Others blame the Erie Canal, and Andrew Jackson, or maybe Martin van Buren. Some say the city-county consolidation of 1858. Others blame the unions. We rather favor the decline of family business and the rise of the modern corporation in its place.