>Killing some time before a movie, Scott and I spent at least an hour yesterday sitting on Church St. in Old City enjoying the giant old trees and peeping in on Christ Church. It was founded in 1695, and the side doors were open and we could see the font where William Penn and countless others were baptized. Benjamin Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried on their plot at 5th and Arch, and yesterday as we sat, they were finishing a wedding at the church. There’s something that strikes me as incredibly beautiful about that scenario. I’m not a religious person at all but I wish I could get married in a place so full of history.
With all my grad school readings I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of history and artifact… what makes something historically relevant and what is better off left to the waste bin of time? Even on the Christ Church website, besides the famous residents of their burial ground, they highlight a few “everyday people whose stories should never be forgotten.” Some of these are:
* John Taylor — gravedigger who buried Benjamin Franklin
* Timothy Penney — a two-year old who died, as did many others, in the smallpox epidemic of 1752
* John Clark — a Philadelphia merchant who died in 1803 while attempting a rescue in a burning building
It really warms my heart that someone took the time to keep a record of these lives, and that hundreds of years later we can still find information about them. Gone, but not forgotten.
Scott and I have tentative plans to take one of my summer hours days off and go to the main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library (it’s been far too long since I’ve been there) and take the 11am tour of the rare book room. We’re particularly interested in seeing the medieval manuscripts.
This morning I was watching Antiques Roadshow and they featured a few examples of early 20th century needlework. I thought about the wonderful people in my knitting circle, and how something they create could someday in the future be held up and appraised, and the new owners or historians will stop a moment and wonder about the men and women whose hands wrought this beautiful work.
Has anyone ever noticed that most of the experts on Antiques Roadshow are from Philadelphia? Strange. But god there are days where I just love this city to pieces.