Saturday, May 2, 2020

Constitution High School — One block from Independence Hall  

History Camp began in 2014 in the Boston area and this spring it’s coming to Philadelphia. History Camp is a project of the non-profit organization, The Pursuit of History.

Sign up for updates, including when registration opens, here.

If you love history, you’ll love History Camp.

Here’s what one participant said:

“I’ve been to dozens of official academic conferences with big names where all submissions are thoroughly vetted by panels of experts, and none of those conferences were as fun and informative as History Camp. It really was the best set of speakers I’ve seen at a conference: relaxed and informed and direct.”

History Camp brings together people from all walks of life, regardless of degree or profession, who are passionate about history. And you don’t have to be a member of any organization to participate.


This is a good overview, and especially helpful if you are curious about what makes History Camp different than any other conference or gathering you’ve attended.

Join us on May 2 and see why we say, “Spend a Saturday with some of the most interesting people in history.”

Presenting at History Camp

One of the things that makes History Camp unique is that we welcome any presenter who wishes to share their love of history.  You might be an author, Park Ranger, armchair historian, volunteer, reenactor, executive director of a historic site, retired public health nurse, student, tour guide . . . In fact, we’ve had folks with those backgrounds and many more present.

Your topic must relate to history, but unlike other conferences, you don’t have make your presentation conform to a theme, geography, or narrow subject area.

You might cover historical people and events, historical research and methods, managing a historic site or history organization, careers for people who love history, teaching history, or other topics related to history.

There are, however, two things you won’t find at History Camp, current or recent politics and product pitches.

We all chip in to cover the cost of History Camp, so speakers register, just like everyone else.

And because sharing information as broadly as possible is one of the fundamental principles of History Camp, many sessions are recorded and all presenters are asked to post their slides.  If you have things that you don’t want to appear online (on YouTube or elsewhere), don’t include them in your slides or consider a different presentation.

If you’re interested in presenting, please sign up here.

Would your organization like to offer a special program or tour Sunday or discounted admission to your site? Please send us a description with details about your offer and I will add it below, include it in the session guide, and announce it at the beginning and end of History Camp.


History Camp Philadelphia 2020 sessions

Sessions are added to the bottom of this list as they are submitted. Subscribe for occasional updates. (Infrequent now; more frequent as we get closer to May 2)

Want to present?  Great!  Two things to know up front: First, we will endeavor to record all sessions, including the slides shown, and to post them online. Sharing this information as broadly and openly as possible is one of the fundamental principles of History Camp. If you have things that you don’t want to appear online (on YouTube or elsewhere), don’t include them in your slides or consider a different presentation. Second, speakers will need to register, just like everyone else.

If History Camp still sounds like it’s for you, and we hope it does, please sign up here.

The Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844

Michael Troy ( and on Twitter: @AmRevPodcast) is the host and producer of the American Revolution Podcast ( He lives and works in the Philadelphia area.

In 1844 Philadelphia Catholics from Ireland complained about the use of Protestant Bibles in their neighborhood schools.  In response, Nativist Philadelphians marched through immigrant neighborhoods resulting in a multi-day riot. A few months later, the violence flared up again when a Catholic Church received state recognition as a militia.  Burned homes and churches as well as artillery fire in the streets of Philadelphia led to major reforms.

Carrying the Declaration of Independence

Karen A. Chase (,, on Twitter: @karenachase, on Facebook: @karenachaseauthor, on Instagram: @karenachase, on Pinterest: @kachase_author, on Goodreads: @karenachase) is the award-winning author of Carrying Independence (, a Founding-Documents novel about the signing of the Declaration. A 2019-20 Virginia Humanities fellow, she is an independent scholar specializing in the American Revolutionary and United States Founding eras. Carrying Independence was awarded No. 12 on the Shelf Unbound Best 100 Indie Books of 2019.

Why was there just one “copy” of the Declaration with the signatures? Which Continental Congress delegates did not attend the formal signing on August 2, 1776? How were their signatures acquired? Once it was signed, where was the Declaration kept and how was it cared for? Learn the history of the Declaration of Independence from 1776 until now, as discovered by Virginia Humanities 2019-2020 fellow and author of the Founding-Documents novel, Carrying Independence.

The French Influence in Philadelphia: Covert Contracts, Culture and Cuisine

Elise Bromberg ( is a social worker turned Certified Philadelphia Tour Guide. Tours include: Historic District, William Penn’s Philadelphia, The French Influence in Philadelphia. Offered in English, French and Hebrew.

As a young man, William Penn spent a year in France and was much influenced by French thinkers and philosophers. Settlers from France to Philadelphia date back from the 1680s and continues to the present. 

In this informative and engaging slide presentation, you will witness the French influence from the first immigrants, to the secret meetings during the American Revolution, to the first flight in America, to the philosophical, architectural, cultural and culinary enrichment from 1685 to today.

Strawberry Fields ….. Forever? A Significant but Little Known Battle in June 1777

David Dalrymple (, on Twitter: @carslayer, on Instagram: @the.carslayer, and on Facebook: @fergusonschosenriflemen) is life long closet historian and living history guy. Professionally he has spent 37 years in Emergency Services and his career satisfaction has been as a Professional Rescue consultant. Currently he is researching about the various commands of Major Patrick Ferguson during the American War of Independence which eventually he hopes to write about his findings.

A significant yet little know battle at the end of the Forage wars in Central New Jersey in June of 1777, the battle of Short Hills. This battle saw General Washington being caught off guard by Crown Forces thought to be retreating when in all realities it was a feint and became a pitched battle. 

This engagement also saw a new weapon emerge onto the battlefield for the first time in force. Captain Patrick Ferguson and his Experimental Corps of Riflemen had recently arrived from England and were quickly partnered with the Brigade of Guards Light infantry company. These green coated soldiers were armed with a special rifle of Ferguson’s design- a breechloading rifle able to be loaded and fired in every position possible even in adverse conditions. And up to 7 shots per minute could be fired as well as a bayonet equipped too. They saw first blood at Strawberry Hill in Woodbridge Twp. Middlesex County NJ June 26, 1777.

Remember Paoli – The Nation’s First Battle Cry

Jim Christ ( is President of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund (, on Facebook: Paoli Battlefield Historical Park, and on Twitter: @PaoliBattle), and has been on the board for the past 8 years. Jim is an avid history buff and is also Vice President of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia, the Vice President of the Brandywine Valley Civil War Round Table, Board Member of the Christian Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford, and is Treasurer of Historical Military Impressions, Inc, a non-profit military reenactment group that preforms in several states. Jim works as Director of Client Services for Integrated Software Solutions Inc., in Frazer Pa., and has an Associate’s degree in Business Administration. Jim is married and lives on what was The Battle of The Clouds Battlefield, a Revolutionary War Battlefield in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, Pa.

“Remember Paoli”, it is the nation’s first battle cry and was born of the battle that was fought in Malvern, PA on night of September 20th, 1777. Learn about how British General Charles “No Flint” Grey lead around 2,000 men at night into the Great Valley to surprise over 2000 of General Anthony Wayne’s men and 2100 Maryland Militia under General William Smallwood. The ninth bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War left Philadelphia open to British occupation, and also left a lasting impact in the local community. In 1817 the second oldest War Memorial was dedicated and is still remembered today with the Malvern Memorial Parade. Let’s explore why this battle is called the “Paoli Massacre”, as well as common myths such as soldiers being asleep during the attack. General Anthony Wayne would get his reputation back during the Battle of Stony Point, NY in which he used lessons learned from the Paoli Battle to earn a complete victory and international acclaim.

Anyone interested in Revolutionary War History, or anyone who wants to understand where the “Remember…” Phrase originated from.

Move Over, Paul Revere! Meet Susanna Bolling, the Virginia Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War

Libby McNamee (,, on Facebook: @LibbyMcNameeAuthor, on Twitter: @LibbyMcNamee, on Instagram: @susannas_midnight_ride, and on Linkedin) is a native Bostonian (Norwell) but now lives in Richmond, Virginia.  Her novel “Susanna’s Midnight Ride: The Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War”is based on this true story.

Almost five years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution hung in the balance.  In late May 1781, General Cornwallis invaded City Point, Virginia, and quartered his army there. As 16-year-old Susanna Bolling served the British general and his officers dinner, she overheard their plans to capture General Lafayette and crush the American rebellion.  Under the cover of darkness, she snuck out of her house and canoed downriver. Then she grabbed a neighbor’s horse and rode ten miles to warn Lafayette. But would she make it undetected? “Susanna’s Midnight Ride: The Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War” is an upper middle grade historical novel based on the TRUE story of this Virginia heroine, whose story is just becoming known to America, and the world.   

Join this session as Libby shares Susanna’s story as well as the role of the Petticoat Patriots during the Revolutionary War.  The session will include her research materials and a variety of photos.

The Influences of Brothel Guides on Nineteenth-Century Masculinity

Brittney Ingersoll ( is an Independent Historian and the Curator of the Cumberland County Historical Society in Greenwich, New Jersey. She received her Master’s Degree in American History and a Certificate in Public History from Rutgers University – Camden in 2018.

Nineteenth-Century brothel guides were small concealable booklets comprised of lists of prostitutes and brothels throughout large American cities.  Looking at the guides, I am evaluating how the guides influenced the men who purchased and used them, and how the guides influenced the men’s perceptions of themselves within society. Using the information in the guides men could live out their desires, limited only by their ability to pay the price. The brothel guides advertised yet another space within the world that was strictly for men, their entertainment, and their pleasures. Brothel guides were another aspect of the complicated and complex world of nineteenth-century masculinity.

Before Penn: A History of the Delaware River Colonies from 1609 to 1682

Hal Taylor (,, and on Facebook: @illustrateddelawareriver) is the author of “BEFORE PENN: An Illustrated History of the Delaware River Colonies, 1609-1682”, and “THE ILLUSTRATED DELAWARE RIVER: The History of a Great American River.” He has been a graphic artist for over 30 years, recently combining a love of history and art.

While searching for a short cut to the treasures of the Far East, navigator Henry Hudson finds potential value of a different sort in the Mid-Atlantic region of North America. As a result, his employers, the Dutch, establish New Netherland, and a lucrative fur trade with the indigenous people of the region. They are soon challenged by a Swedish enterprise, which establishes a colony on the fringe of Dutch holdings on the Delaware. An English splinter group from New England arrives with similar intentions, and a competition ensues that lasts until the Dutch seize control of New Sweden. A similar fate later befalls the Dutch when the English take over all of the Eastern Seaboard.

Meanwhile in England, a religious movement called the Society of Friends takes root, much to the disdain of the British government. William Penn, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn, and Society of Friends follower, strikes a deal with the Duke of York in which he acquires a huge parcel of real estate in the New World in lieu of back pay owed his late father. Penn encourages a mass exodus of his religious friends to the future states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and eventually arrives himself, to found The City of Brotherly Love.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about an underserved period of our region’s history.

Madison v. Hamilton

Bil Lewis ( and is a Computer Scientist and has worked in research and taught most of his life, most recently doing Genetics Research at the Broad Institute of MIT. He has taught at Stanford and Tufts Universities, subbed in Somerville, and worked in R&D at Sun Microsystems, FMC, and Nokia.

Bil is a Past District Governor for Toastmasters, an Eagle Scout, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a Concerned Citizen.

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton worked closely together to build a nation. They are the two primarily responsible for the Constitutional Convention. They wrote the Federalist in close cooperation. They walked down Maiden Lane together day after day, talking about the nature on man and politics. 

Yet they came to be strong political adversaries. 

Bil Lewis (in costume as James Madison) would like to discuss this interesting division with the members of the audience. He shall speak for some time on his memories and concerns regarding his old friend, then turn to the audience for their thoughts.





Your ticket includes morning coffee, juice, pastries, and other breakfast things, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the day.



Mass transit: The closest Rail station is 8th and Market which services both SEPTA and PATCO lines.  From the station it’s only about a block to the school.

Parking: There are several parking garages nearby, including one right across from the school.


Event Underwriters

We would like thank Constitution High School for the venue for History Camp Philadelphia







and Tyson Frantz and Liberty & Co for the excellent event design