[Posted on behalf of Hillary Kativa]
To kick off week two of Archives Month Philly, the Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia hosted a political-themed building tour led by John Meko (Executive Director of the Foundations of the Union League). Visitors also had the opportunity to explore the Heritage Center’s current exhibition, “Sweep the Country: Political Conventions in Philadelphia” and view a special display of materials selected by Archivist Theresa Altieri.
Throughout the evening, visitors peeked behind the scenes at some of the League’s grandest spaces, which brimmed with Presidential portraits and statues commemorating Abraham Lincoln and the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought for the Union. During the tour, Meko detailed the economic ties that initially made Philadelphians sympathetic to the Southern cause and how the Union League was founded in 1862 to drum up support for the Union. In the document display, a WWI-era letter from President Woodrow Wilson thanking Union League members for their contributions to the war effort poignantly spoke to an enduring legacy of patriotism at the League. And political participation was certainly on display in “Sweep the Country,” which covers the 12 political conventions held in Philadelphia between 1848 and 2016. Regarding the 2016 convention, Archivist Theresa Altieri detailed how she traveled to FDR Park to purchase Bernie Sanders ephemera from the protesters stationed there during the Democratic National Convention – a memorable adventure in collection development!
Couldn’t make Monday’s event? “Sweep the Country” is on display through early 2017. For more information on days and hours, visit the Heritage Center website: http://www.ulheritagecenter.org/research-and-exhibit/exhibits/current-exhibits/