Pennsylvania State Guide
Today in History
Political and social reformer Lucretia Coffin Mott was born on January 3, 1793 in Nantucket, Massachusetts to a Quaker family. Inspired by a father who encouraged his daughters to be useful and a mother who was active in business affairs, Lucretia Mott worked as a tireless advocate for the oppressed while also raising six children. Over the course of her lifetime, Mott actively participated in many of the reform movements of the day including abolition, temperance, and pacifism. She also played a vital role in organizing the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, which launched the woman suffrage movement in America.
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, but his adopted home was Philadelphia, the largest city in eighteenth-century America. His many accomplishments as printer, scientist, and statesman are particularly remarkable when considered in the context of colonial North America. A spirit of pragmatic innovation imbued all of Franklin's intellectual, social, and scientific pursuits. He dedicated himself to the improvement of everyday life for the widest number of people and, in so doing, made an indelible mark on the emerging nation.
On March 12, 1901, Andrew Carnegie, one of the world's foremost industrialists, offered the city of New York $5.2 million for the construction of sixty-five branch libraries. The Scottish immigrant's fortune eventually would establish many more libraries and charitable foundations.
Carrie S. Burnham began her argument, made before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on April 3 and April 4, 1873, for her right to vote. "It is not simply," Burhnam reasoned, "whether I shall be protected in the exercise of my inalienable right and duty of self-government, but whether a government, the mere agent of the people, …can deny to any portion of its intelligent, adult citizens participation therein and still hold them amenable to its laws…"
On May 4, 1894, Bird Day was first observed at the initiative of Charles Almanzo Babcock, superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania. By 1910, Bird Day was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day.
On June 4, 1754, twenty-two-year-old Colonel George Washington and his small military force were busy constructing Fort Necessity, east of what is known today as Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
On July 3, 1863, Union troops repelled a massive artillery assault on Cemetery Ridge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania. During the early morning hours Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered General Longstreet to prepare General Pickett's troops for the assault.
On September 26, 1777, British troops marched into Philadelphia and occupied the city forcing the Continental Congress, meeting in the Pennsylvania State House (later renamed Independence Hall), to flee to the interior of Pennsylvania. General Washington and his army had battled the British south of Philadelphia at Brandywine Creek on September 11.
On October 3, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt met with miners and coalfield operators from the anthracite coalfields in Pennsylvania in an attempt to settle the strike, then in its fifth month. The country relied on coal to power commerce and industry and anthracite or "hard coal" was essential for domestic heating.
William Penn, English religious and social reformer and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, was born on October 14, 1644, in London. Pennsylvania, while predominantly Quaker, soon became a haven for minority religious sects from across Europe, as well as the most culturally diverse of the thirteen original colonies.
Many subscription libraries—founded to benefit academies, colleges, and other groups—were established from the late seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. The Library Company of Philadelphia grew out of the needs of the Leather Apron Club, also known as the "Junto," of which Franklin was a member. In addition to exchanging business information, these merchants discussed politics and natural philosophy, contributing to their requirements for books to satisfy their widespread interests. Volumes were purchased with the annual contributions of shareholders, building a more comprehensive library than any individual could afford.
On December 12, 1787, delegates to the Pennsylvania ratifying convention meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) voted to ratify the Constitution of 1787. Five days earlier, Delaware had become the first state to adopt the work of the Constitutional Convention.