Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List

Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten Philadelphia World's Fair of 1926

With Tom Keels, Author of the Newly Published Sesqui!

Wednesday September 13th6:30 – 7:30 PM

We cannot get enough of the hidden stories underlying Philly’s rich history.  Penn’s Village, teaming up with Temple University Press and Friends in the City, has arranged for Tom Keels to share the mostly embarrassing story behind the Sesqui-Centennial

International Exposition envisioned in 1916 by John Wanamaker to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Keels places this disappointingto say the leastcelebration in the context of transformations taking place in America during the 1920s. These include the changes to women’s and African-Americans’ rights, anti-Semitism, eugenics, Prohibition, and technological advances. The “Sesqui” was meant to be the greatest world's fair of all time—but it ended up as the “Flop Heard 'Round the World”

About the Author

Historian Thomas Keels is a lecturer, tour guide, writer, and commentator specializing in Philadelphia history, architecture, and cemeteries. Tom has spoken to the American Institute of Architects, the Friends of Independence National Historical Park, the Harvard Club of Philadelphia, and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. His other books include Forgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City (Temple), Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries and Philadelphia's Golden Age of Retail.

We will meet in the Philadelphia Institute Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library located at 1905 Locust Street. Please email or call 215 925 7333 to register. The Library, we regret, is not handicapped accessible. We are having difficulty finding a handicapped accessible and/or evening venue for larger groups (more than 25) of attendees. Ideas welcome!