After initially postponing History Camp Philadelphia, we have now come to the realization that we just can’t hold it this year and create the History Camp experience people love. As a result, we’re canceling History Camp Philadelphia and our other History Camps this year.
We are optimistic about next year and will work to put together the kind of History Camp experience in 2021 that draws folks from all walks of life to these unique events every year.
Until then, check out History Camp Online for live streamed and archived sessions with presenters from this and other History Camps across the country.
Lee and Carrie
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.
Not quite ready to register? Sign up for emails here for all the updates.
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, link to tickets, and announce it in our emails and 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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, karenachase.com, on Twitter: @karenachase, on Facebook: @karenachaseauthor, on Instagram: @karenachase, on Pinterest: @kachase_author, on Goodreads: @karenachase) is the award-winning author of Carrying Independence (carryingindependence.com), 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 (email@example.com) 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 (Fergusonschosenmen@gmail.com, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is President of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund (RememberPaoli.org, 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.
The Influences of Brothel Guides on Nineteenth-Century Masculinity
Brittney Ingersoll (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.haltaylorillustration.com, 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 (Bil@LambdaCS.com and presidentmadison.weebly.com) 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.
A brief History of Piracy during the Revolutionary War
Samuel Siegel (email@example.com, piratesofthepursuit.com, and on Facebook: @TSPHS) is a historical interpreter and the Executive Director of the Schooner Pursuit Historical Society. The SPHS operates a mobile living history museum around the Delaware River basin/Philadelphia region dedicated to privateers of the Revolutionary War.
We’ve all heard the tales of pirates growing up, but few know that piracy (privateering specifically) was responsible for how the war actually turned out. In this session we will go over a few of the key points on a few battles, policies, and misconceptions about these privateers during the course of the war. Not just from the Rebel side, but the Tory side as well.
Did George Washington actually apply the first privateers for use against the British? What is a Privateer? Where did it start? How did privateering become an industry of war? What battles were actually noteworthy? Why Privateers? These are the questions we will cover during this presentation, and more…”
Faith and the Presidencies
Jerry Landry (firstname.lastname@example.org, presidencies.blubrry.com, on Facebook: @presidencies, and on Twitter: @presidencies89) is the host and producer of the Presidencies of the United States, a biweekly podcast devoted to exploring each presidency from the very beginning in depth. Jerry brings to his work extensive experience in scholarly research, data analysis, and effective strategies for teaching and learning.
In its 230+ year history, the office of the President of the United States has been held by 44 individuals. Each of these individuals came to the office from distinct backgrounds and faith journeys, and their faith, as well as the faith of the people in them and in the institution, were strengthened or strained through the triumphs and tragedies of American history.
In this presentation, those in attendance will learn about the various ways the concept of faith and the institution of the presidency intersected by exploring selected examples drawn from the early days of presidency up through the 1970s.
Slavery, Abolition and Seeking Freedom in Pittsburgh
Shawn MacIntyre (magical.History.email@example.com, and www.magicalhistory.blog) grew up with a love for history, while most children were watching cartoons, he was watching documentaries on various historic topics. After 20 years working in the Emergency Medical Services, he returned to college and graduated in 2019, Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. He is an active reenactor with Trent’s Company (a Virginia militia unit) based in Pittsburgh and the Fort Pitt Garrison based at the Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh. He is also a Norse reenactor/ medievalist in the Society for Creative Anachronism. He is a history blogger and run the Magical History Tour blog. He currently lives in Pittsburgh and seeking a permanent position with a museum or historic site.
While the Pennsylvania colony was among the first to reject slavery, people were still enslaved inside the state well into the 1800’s. This program will focus on the Pittsburgh area – who were the slave holders? Who were the Abolitionists? How did people escape slavery and find freedom in the Pittsburgh area? While the focus will be on Pittsburgh, some information will be shared regarding other people and sites in the region that are related to slaveholders, abolition and the path to freedom.
Rendezvous with Rachel Revere
History At Play™ (info@HistoryAtPlay.com, on Facebook:@HistoryAtPlay on Instagram: @HistoryAtPlay, and on Twitter: @HistoryAtPlay) with Judith Kalaora (Judith@HistoryAtPlay.com). History At Play™, founded in 2010, produces immersive living history performance experiences to chronicle the lives of influential and often forgotten women. Our interactive productions are based on primary source research and site visits. Founder and Artistic Director Judith Kalaora is a professional writer, historical interpreter, and educator. Kalaora graduated from Syracuse University and completed the Globe Education Program at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London. She has performed front London to Montreal and across the United States.
It is May 2, 1775, and Rachel Revere has heard from her beloved husband Paul only once since his legendary “midnight ride” on the 18th of April.
Isolated from one another due to the Siege of Boston, Rachel desperately creates a plan to safely take her children; six step-children from Paul’s first marriage, and a newborn baby of their own, from British occupied Boston.
Join Rachel, as she carefully considers the dangers and demands of the perilous mission to unite her family amidst the wake of an American Revolution.
“Rendezvous with Rachel Revere” researched and written by Judith Kalaora; produced by History At Play™; and commissioned by the Paul Revere House, Boston, MA. Copyright 2018.
Philadelphia: Capital of a Nation, Home to James and Dolley Madison
Kyle Jenks (Jaktar773@aol.com, leagueofmostinterestinggentlemen.com, bowtietours.com , battleshipnewjersey.org) is from upstate New York and has been living in Philadelphia since 2018. He has been performing James Madison since 2015. Kyle has two historically inspired personas he performs on a regular basis. One is a revolutionary war era patriot and one is a revolutionary war era loyalist. Kyle is also a conventional actor and playwright with experience in film, television, stage and improv. He is a professional tour guide for the multiple award-winning Bow Tie Tours in Philadelphia and Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ.
Kyle is the creator of the unique Society Hill Walking Tour here in Philadelphia. (Offered to History Camp attendees on Sunday! – See Sunday Tours page.) He can also be reached at and is a member of the League of Most Interesting Gentlemen. Stop by their vendor table here at History Camp.
Dana Witengier Bio coming soon…
In 1793 the Yellow Fever epidemic brought devastation to many families, including to Dolley Todd, whose husband died.
James Madison and Dolley Todd met and married in 1794 in Philadelphia when Mr. Madison was a Congressman in George Washington’s administration.
Come listen to James and Dolley, portrayed by Kyle Jenks and Dana Witengier, discuss the decade when Philadelphia was our national capital, including the social, cultural, and political environment.
They will focus largely on the time between 1793, when George Washington was unanimously elected to a second term until 1796 when John Adams was sworn in as second President of the United States.
Investigating a Queer WWI Love Story
Virginia Kopacki (firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @VirginiaKopacki, and on IG: @LadyBluestocking) is an M.A. student at Johns Hopkins University in Museum Studies. Her work focuses on the history of sexuality and gender and how museums can liberate hidden lives from the historical record. Virginia works as the Museum Education Coordinator at the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Lansdale, PA.
This presentation looks at a well-known biography about WWI called Testament of Youth by Vera Britain. Adapted to TV and film screens, this story is one of the most famous memoirs from the Great War years. However, all adaptations–including the original biography–intentionally hide that two of the key figures in the story, including Vera’s brother Edward, were actually gay and in a secret relationship. This knowledge alters the interpretation of Testament of Youth while also offering a unique opportunity to learn about LGBTQ lives a century ago. This presentation will use the words of Vera, Edward, and their friends to give voice to a powerful love story while reminding historians that we should seek dynamic narratives and histories which #QueertheArchive.
Revolutionary Myths: The Importance of Reliable Primary Sources
Cahmbriel Clackum (email@example.com, yorktownvictory.com), owner of Victory Walking Tours in Yorktown, VA, has been obsessed with the American Revolution since she was eight years old. Her mission is to engage and educate modern Americans on this subject.
Following the American Revolution, a vast number of myths and tall tales sprouted up, rooting themselves so deeply in American culture as to be nearly indistinguishable from fact. Learn how to pursue accuracy by researching reliable primary sources, and understanding them in historical context.
Preparing for a Transcontinental Journey: The Lewis to Linnard Letter
Lorna Hainesworth (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.academia.edu, search for Hainesworth) is an Ambassador and National Traveler. She is a lifetime member of the Surveyors Historical Society and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, an associate member of the Department of the Geographer and the District of Columbia Association of Land Surveyors, a founding member of the Lewis and Clark Trust and The Pursuit of History, Inc. She is a member of several American Revolution Round Tables, the Washington Map Society and the Lincoln Highway Association. Lorna is a supporter of the American Battlefield Trust, The Fort Plain Museum and the Maryland State Dental Association Foundation. She is an independent scholar who makes her home in Randallstown, Maryland.
The presenter discovered a valuable and neglected original document which by all accounts was previously unknown to Lewis and Clark experts, scholars, authors and devotees. This is a letter written by Meriwether Lewis on June 6, 1803 to William Linnard, Military Agent for the Schuylkill Arsenal, when both men were in Philadelphia. The letter shows Lewis at his planning and organizational best, while shedding light on many of the activities that comprised the preparation phase of expedition. Through this letter we meet some interesting historical personages who assisted Lewis in the acquisition, packing and shipping of his supplies from Philadelphia and Harpers Ferry to Pittsburgh. Additionally we learn how this letter corrects some prior misconceptions and gives us a better understanding of the routes Lewis’s supplies traveled in the summer of 1803.
We have a block of rooms available at $199 per night at the Embassy Suites Hotel Philadelphia – Center City. You can reserve a room here. Deadline for the discount, based on availability, is April 1, 2020.
Parking: There are several parking garages nearby, including one right across from the school.