Oliver Evans Chapter/SIA, Philadelphia Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians and Wagner Free Institute of Science
WILLIAM RAU’S PHILADELPHIA
A Glass Lantern Slide presentation by Martha Capwell Fox, Historian and Archives Coordinator, National Canal Museum/ Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Time: 6PM Program Reception to follow
Cost: $15 for members of sponsoring organizations and guests. $20 for all others.
ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE ON LINE. NO PAYMENT AT DOOR
Place: Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19121
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Using the Wagner’s vintage glass lantern slide projector Martha will present a program featuring 19th-C views of Philadelphia by famed photographer William H. Rau, (January 19, 1855 – November 19, 1920). Born in Philadelphia, at the age of 13, he started doing photographic work for his future father-in-law, William Bell, a medical and survey photographer for the federal government. In 1874, with Bell’s recommendation, Rau joined an expedition to Chatham Island in the South Pacific to photograph the Transit of Venus. After returning, Rau worked for the Centennial Photographic Company, the official photographers of Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exposition. After the exposition, he joined his father-in-law’s stereo card studio, which he purchased in 1878. He operated this studio in partnership with his brother, George, until 1880. From that point into the 20th-C he traveled the world making photographs on commission for numerous groups. He spent a significant portion of the 1890s doing photographic work for both the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad, and published collections of his railroad photos in 1892 and 1900. He was the official photographer for the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland the following year. His work is now included in the collections of several prominent museums, libraries and archives around the world.
The National Canal Museum’s collection of Rau glass lantern slides was a gift from Professor Charles Best, who was chair of the engineering department at Lafayette College. There are over 1200 slides in his collection, but we will see about 80 of the best of Philadelphia.
Martha Capwell Fox has been with the National Canal Museum for six years, but has a three decades-long relationship with the Museum through former Director Lance Metz. She graduated from American University with a dual degree in International Relations and History. She spent most of her career in publishing; working at National Geographic and was a senior editor at Rodale Press. She has published seven books, four Arcadia books on local Lehigh Valley history, and YA histories of swimming, auto racing and Vatican City. Her latest book, “Geography, Geology, and Genius: The Industrial History of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor” is in production and should be out by the end of the year.
The talk will take place in the historic Lecture Hall of the Wagner Free Institute of Science and is followed by a reception in the Museum.
About the Wagner: Founded in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is dedicated to providing free public education in science. Its programs serve all ages and include evening science courses—the oldest free adult education program in the country—lectures, field trips and children’s lessons. The Wagner is also committed to preserving and interpreting its National Historic Landmark building, designed by John McArthur, which opened in 1865. The building houses a Victorian-era lecture hall, a library, and three-story exhibition hall displaying more than 100,000 natural history specimens. The site is virtually unchanged since the 1890s. The Wagner today is both an educational institution that teaches contemporary science, and a historic site that presents a time capsule of Victorian science. It is open to visitors Tuesdays – Fridays, 9 AM to 4 PM, year-round, and offers an array of evening and weekend programs throughout the year. It is located at 1700 W. Montgomery Avenue, a few blocks from Temple University’s main campus and the Temple-Cecil B. Moore Broad Street Line station.