Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach: Andrew R. Murphy on William Penn

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Date / Time

  • April 2, 2019
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


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


William Penn: Four Mysteries

Despite his ubiquitous presence in and around Philadelphia, William Penn remains a figure about whom many know a little, but few know very much. In this talk, which draws on Murphy’s recent biography of Penn (William Penn: A Life), he will discuss some of the enduring puzzles around Pennsylvania’s founder, and the degree to which he remains a mystery to us despite (literally) looming over us every day from the top of City Hall.

What were the significant events in Penn’s youth and childhood? (His first biography, in 1726, took Penn from birth to university in just one paragraph.) When, where, and how did he become a Quaker? Why did he stay away from Pennsylvania for so long? And what about his final years?

About the Speaker

Andrew Murphy is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, and in Fall 2019 he will be taking a position as Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written extensively on the theory and practice of religious liberty in England and America, from his first book, Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America (2001), to his most recent: a biography of William Penn entitled William Penn: A Life (2018). He is the author of Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration: The Political Thought of William Penn (2016); and co-editor of The Worlds of William Penn (forthcoming, 2019). Murphy’s research has also explored the interconnections between religion and American politics, most particularly in Prodigal Nation:  Moral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9/11 (2008) and (co-authored, with David S. Gutterman of Willamette University) Political Religion and Religious Politics: Navigating Identities in the United States (2015).


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

About Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach

New! Enjoy In Conversation Programs at midday with leading scholars, artists, and authors talking about their work.

Seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended.