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

of 1926

With Tom Keels, Author of the Newly Published Sesqui!

May 31st: 6:15 – 7:45 PM

We cannot get enough of the hidden stories underlying Philly’s rich history. Penn’s Village, working with Temple University Press, 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 includeForgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City(Temple), Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries and Philadelphia's Golden Age of Retail.

We will meet in the Independence Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library located at 18 South 7thStreet. This program is free for Penn’s Village members and volunteers. Other guests are welcome to attend three programs before joining and/or volunteering. A $5 donation to Penn’s Village from guests will be most appreciated. Books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Please email or call 215 925 7333 to register.  The Library is handicapped accessible.

201 South 21stStreet

Philadelphia, PA 19103


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