Lunchtime Talk With Thomas H. Keels | Modern Medicis: Rittenhouse Square and the Arts

Date / Time

  • April 7, 2020
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

An afternoon lecture on how Philadelphia philanthropists created and shaped the city’s cultural institutions.

About the Speaker

Tom Keels is the author or co-author of seven published books on Philadelphia history: Wicked Philadelphia: Sin in the City of Brotherly Love; Forgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City; Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries; Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square; Chestnut Hill, and Philadelphia’s Golden Age of Retail (with Lawrence M. Arrigale). Tom’s latest book, Sesqui! Greed, Graft, and The Forgotten World’s Fair of 1926, was published in 2017 by Temple University Press.

Tom is a lecturer, writer, and commentator specializing in Philadelphia history and architecture. He has addressed many of Philadelphia’s leading organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (Philadelphia chapter), American Revolution Roundtable, Chestnut Hill Historical Society, Cosmopolitan Club, Curtis Institute of Music, Franklin Inn Club, Free Library of Philadelphia, Harvard Club of Philadelphia, Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, Springfield Township Historical Society, and Union League of Philadelphia.

Tom has appeared in numerous documentaries, including several episodes of History Making Productions’ Philadelphia: The Great Experiment; “Philly Firsts” on WLVT (PBS39); and “Buried Stones, Buried Dreams,” a feature on Mount Moriah Cemetery for the Precious Places Project. He has appeared on two episodes of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel, discussing the real-life origins of the 1958 sci-fi classic, The Blob, and how a Philadelphia merchant-turned-counterfeiter nearly bankrupted the Confederacy during the Civil War. Other media appearances include Radio Times on WHYY-FM, Creatively Speaking on WRTI-FM, PA Books on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, Action News on WPVI-TV, and Good Day Philadelphia on FOX-TV. For many years, Tom was a Contributing Writer for the Rittenhouse Sq. Revue, writing monthly articles on Philadelphia landmarks and lore. His articles have also appeared in the Chestnut Hill Local, Main Line Times, Springfield Sun, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Germantown Crier, and the Journal of the Historical Society of Montgomery County. His articles on Laurel Hill Cemetery and contractor bosses can be viewed online at The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

A confirmed taphophile, Tom has been a tour guide at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia’s premier Victorian necropolis, for over two decades. He has conducted classes on Philadelphia cemetery history for the Bucks County Community College Historic Preservation Program, Cheltenham Township Adult School, and Mount Airy Learning Tree.

About Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach

Enjoy In Conversation Programs at midday with leading scholars, artists, and authors talking about their work. Tea sandwiches and light refreshments included.

Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended.


Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach are sponsored by Lenore Steiner and Perry Lerner.