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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

June 3, 2019

--by Richard W. Reifsnyder                                                                                                            

“The old lion is dead.” Archie Roosevelt telegrammed these words to his older brother, Kermit, to announce their father’s death in 1919, a hundred years...

March 17, 2019

--by Youngeun Koo

I visited PHS in August 2018 as part of my doctoral project. My thesis examines the development of intercountry adoption from South Korea between 1953 and 1979. I’m particularly interested in better understanding activities and efforts carried out by state and institutional actors to support needy children and families in Korea.

Since 2017, I’ve gathered archival and oral data from Korea, Sweden, and Denmark. The United States was my last stop for data collection. I was very fortunate to receive a ...

February 20, 2019

--by Kenneth J. Ross

Two hundred years ago, in 1819, the Presbytery of Philadelphia launched Samuel Eli Cornish (1795–1858) into a remarkable career as minister, evangelist, missionary, publisher, and social reformer.[i] Following a rigorous two-year program of intellectual, practical, and theological training, Cornish became the first African-American preacher to be licensed by the presbytery, making him one of the first African-American ministers in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

For a year, he preached among...

January 14, 2019

--By Fred Heuser

William Bayard Miller joined the church triumphant on December 14, 2018. When I learned of his passing, I was saddened by the loss of a dear friend, colleague, and mentor who served the church from 1957 until his retirement in 1989.

Bill was an innovator whose tenure as PHS Executive Director transformed a quaint Philadelphia institution into a...

September 11, 2018

--by Jennifer Graber

Session minutes of the Anadarko Presbyterian Church, founded in Indian Territory in 1889, referred to the “problem” of Native American church membership on the very first page. Rev. Silas Fait, along with an elder, examined an “Indian named Emma.” Though she “accept[ed] Christ,” the leaders rejected Emma’s application as she maintained that Christ could not “interfere with her own gods.” In the follow-up notes, Rev. Fait worried that “great harm will come to the mission if care is not exercised...

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