Recap of “Risk and Reward” at the Union League

On October 24, 2017, archivist and guest curator Jack McCarthy treated visitors to a special tour of his exhibit “Risk & Reward: Entrepreneurship and the Making Philadelphia” at the Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia as part of Archives Month Philly. Usual suspects like John Wanamaker, Matthias Baldwin, and Stephen Girard were featured in the exhibit, but McCarthy was also careful to shine a spotlight on some less obvious choices: African American sailmaker and community leader James Forten, writer and influential editor Sarah Josepha Hale, and even William Penn, who is well known as the founder of Pennsylvania but whose commercial ambitions are often glossed over. The engaging exhibit is full of impressive artifacts and surprising trivia. Did you know the first English patent ever awarded to an American was granted for a milling process developed by a woman? Visit the exhibit to learn the rest of Sybilla Masters’ story! The Risk & Reward exhibit will remain on view through June 30, 2018. More information on the Union League’s website.

Curator Jack McCarthy explains that after John Wanamaker attended King George V’s coronation, he had a replica coronation chair made for himself.
Also on view that night were selections from the Union League’s archives featuring entrepreneurs from the exhibit who also were UL members. UL Archivist Theresa Altieri Taplin shows guests selections from the institutional archives.



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