2019 Princeton Seminar: Day 4

PRinceton Seminar 2019 at Welcome Park

Our annual picture in Welcome Park

Day 4 of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History summer seminar on colonial America is in the books.  We spent the entire day in colonial Philadelphia with George Boudreau, author of Independence: A Guide to Historical Philadelphia.

George took us on a very informative tour of the site of William Penn’s house, Front Street (the site of the 17th and 18th-century wharfs), the site of the London Coffee Shop (where slave trading took place), the site where George Whitefield preached to tens of thousands of people (as described by Ben Franklin in his Autobiography), Franklin Square and the underground museum, the William White House, Carpenter’s Hall, and the site of Anthony Benezet’s school for women and free blacks.  The teachers also toured the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) and some of them joined me for quick stops at the Free Quaker Meeting House, Franklin’s grave, Arch Street Meeting House, Betsy Ross House, and Christ Church).

Here are some pics:

Princeton Seminar 2019 Bus

Princeton Seminar 2019-- George and Sign

When you are in Philadelphia with George Boudreau you fix historical markers that are pointing the wrong way

Princeton Seminar 2019--George, Me, and Nate

The Philadelphia team

Princeton Seminar 2019--George and Super

George introduced us to Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park.  What a treat!

Princeton Seminar: Day 4

Princeton 2018 Thu 2Today the 2018 Princeton Seminar hit the road.  We spent the day in Philadelphia with George Boudreau, author of Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia.  George is fixture of the Philadelphia public history world and probably knows more about colonial Philadelphia than anyone else alive.  The teachers got a real treat today!



Princeton 2018 Thu 1

George got us started in Welcome Park with an overview of the founding of Pennsylvania

Princeton 2018 Thu 3

Princeton 2018 Thu 4

Introducing the teachers to George Boudreau

Princeton 2018 Thu 5

With my partner-in-crime Nate McAlister, a true gentleman!

Princeton 2018 Thu 6

Hey Nate–what happened in this room?


2017 Princeton Seminar: Day 4


Yesterday the 2017 Princeton Seminar spent the day in Philadelphia.  Our host for the day was the legendary George Boudreau, the man who I consider to be the greatest Philadelphia history tour guide of all time!!

George gave us a phenomenal introduction to the colonial city.   We made several stops along the way:

  • Welcome Park:  George oriented us to the layout of William Penn’s city.
  • Christ Church:  The teachers got their photos taken in George Washington’s pew and we paused at the gravestone of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson where George told us about her life and taught us about the vulnerability of women in colonial America.
  • Betsy Ross House:  George told us about George Washington’s visit to “Mr. Griscom’s upholstery shop.”
  • Arch Street Quaker Meetinghouse:  George told some gruesome tales of Philadelphia Quakers building this meetinghouse atop the meeting’s graveyard.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s Court:  The teachers spent some time in the museum, George signed copies of his book, and George and Ben Franklin sang us a song.
  • First National Bank: This was not part of our “colonial” tour, but all the teachers are obsessed with “Hamilton” so we had to make a quick visit here.
  • Carpenter’s Hall
  • The site of Anthony Benezet’s school for women and African Americans,
  • The American Philosophical Society:  George rattled off several dozen collections held by the society.

We ended the day at the Pennsylvania State House.  In the early 19th-century people started calling this place “Independence Hall.”

We are back in the lecture hall today.


I introduce the teachers to George Boudreau


George tells us what we can expect in Christ Church


Sometimes we let the teachers break out of the 17th and 18th centuries


We met Ben

Princeton Seminar: Day Three

Seminar participants in Welcome Park

Day Three of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History Summer Seminar on the “13 Colonies” at Princeton University is in the books 

It was another long day with some great K-8 teachers from around the country.  We have teachers here from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, California, Washington, Kansas, Florida, New York, among others.

We spent the day in Philadelphia.  I turned the seminar over to George Boudreau, the Director of the Public History Program at LaSalle University and a fixture in the Philadelphia early American community.  This was a real privilege for the teachers.  George knows more about colonial Philadelphia and the world of Benjamin Franklin than anyone else on the planet.  He is also a very entertaining tour guide.  Every time I take a tour with George I learn something new.  I highly recommend his Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia.  All of the teachers received a free copy of the book and George signed their copies.  Thanks to Nate McAlister for keeping us all on schedule.

We also learned today that George’s National Endowment for Humanities teacher’s seminar on Benjamin Franklin will be back in Summer 2016.  Three teachers in our seminar participated in George’s Franklin seminar and recommended it to the other teachers.  You can learn more about it here.

George led us on a tour of the colonial city that included stops at Welcome Park, Benjamin Franklin’s house and print shop, Carpenter’s Hall, the site of Anthony Benezet’s school for African children, the William White House, and the Powel House (George is the former director).  Along the way we learned about Penn’s plan for the city, the cobblestone streets, Flemish bond brickwork, African-Americans, the Enlightenment, material culture, and Philadelphia’s Catholics.  The tour was the highlight of the week.  I think the teachers would agree.

George Boudreau in his natural habitat: The Powel House

I took a “ride” in Ben Franklin’s cart
George talks to us about the first home of the Philadelphia Library Company: Carpenter’s Hall

George left us around 3:30 as we all headed off to the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) for a tour from the National Park Service.  Following the tour some of us made a quick run up Arch Street so we could see Franklin’s grave, the Free Quaker Meetinghouse, the Arch Street Meetinghouse, the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley, and Christ Church.  At 5:00 we jumped on our bus and headed back to Princeton University.  We even made it home in time for dinner!

We squeezed into George Washington’s pew at Christ Church for a group photo.

The teachers headed back to Scully Hall after dinner to rest and continue work on their lesson plans.

My feet, legs, and back are sore, but my mind is still in good shape and I am really looking forward to the last two days of the seminar.  Rare books tomorrow!