Philadelphia Then and Now

Ed Mauger, Author, Edward Arthur Mauger, Author
Ed Mauger, Author, Edward Arthur Mauger, Author Thunder Bay Press $18.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-57145-880-3
Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 12/01/2002
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Thunder Bay (publishers of New York Then and Now and Portland Then and Now, among others) brings its history lite and photo-heavy city series to the City of Brotherly Love with a good deal of success. Author and walking tour impresario Mauger researched a series of tours in Philadelphia-including one for conservatives at the Republican convention that included all right turns-and his anecdotes about 18th and 19th-century Philadelphia bring the city's history to life. Some of the photographs are breathtaking, among them the then-and-now of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, dedicated in 1926, and those that show the transformation of the Wanamaker Store, which originally included a 10,200-seat auditorium where well-known evangelicals Moody and Sankey preached for two months. (After they moved on, John Wanamaker sponsored weekly public events there). Others show very little change and are simply backdrops for Mauger's vignettes-the Merchant's Exchange and Newmarket photographs, for example, aren't very interesting, but the Newmarket text brings the 18th-century photograph to life by describing merchants' ways of thinning crowds on market day: they would let frogs loose in the market to get rid of women and their space-hogging hoop skirts. The book offers some insight into the social changes that have taken place in the city, too-photographs of Elfreth's Alley's show the transformation of the ""cramped alley"" in which lived a female businessperson, a free black tailor and one of the founders of the city's first synagogue in William Penn's day, to a gentrified ""charming street"" whose residents ""have their own association."" Not all the pictures bear dates, however, which is the one real criticism to be made of this succinct photographic history. 140 photos.
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