Some sites gleaned on a recent trip, Part I, Philadelphia.

Episode: 52. Site Numbers: 032 & 251. Date Posted: 11 November 1997. Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA. Type: Library, gravesite.

I recently headed off from Jaffrey, New Hampshire to Norfolk, Virgina and, along the way, came upon some sites of Antarctic interest. Before the mind becomes too hazy, herewith some "Low-Latitude" sites:

The American Philosophical Society (032) in Philadelphia at 105 South Fifth Street, founded in 1743 largely through the encouragement of Benjamin Franklin, is the country's oldest learned society, its members including most of the founders of the Republic and seemingly everyone of note since then (Audubon, Darwin, Edison, Pasteur, Einstein, Frost, and over 200 Nobel prize winners). Among the polar members: Nansen, Kane, Wilkes, Peale, Nordenskjold, Byrd and Stefansson. Antarctic material constitutes a minuscule amount of the Society's extensive collections, housed in Library Hall, but what's there is worth knowing about: Much on the Wilkes Expedition including numerous sketches by Titian Ramsay Peale, only one of which is identifiable as having been done in Antarctic waters (a tiny, not very impressive watercolor of a ship, perhaps the Flying Fish); the papers of Robert Cushman Murphy (Logbook for Grace, 1912-13; Operation Deep Freeze, 1960 journal); some Byrd items; and the papers of the Committee on South Polar Exploration, 1909-10 (Edwin Swift Balch, an APS member and author of Antarctica, 1902, was chairman). [See J. Stephen Catlett's "Supporting and preserving polar history: The American Philosophical Society and its collections," in Fram: The Journal of Polar Studies I (1984): pp 297-310.]

Loper's Gravestone Back in Episode 47 I noted the final Philadelphia resting spot of Richard Fanning Loper, Nathaniel Brown Palmer's second mate on the Hero. Born in Stonington, Connecticut in 1799, he died in Brooklyn, New York on the 7th of November 1880 and was buried in a family vault in the churchyard at Old St Paul's (251), Third Street below Walnut, only a block or two from the American Philosophical Society. Today, the church--deconsecrated and renovated--serves as the offices of Episcopal Community Services. Easily found a few paces south of the side entrance is the "vault," a large marble slab, set horizontally just above ground level. Just readable is the inscription: "R. F. Loper's Family Vault." Why Philadelphia, you might ask? His wife, Margaret "Marnie" Baird Loper was of a well-to-do Philadelphia mercantile family, and much of his business life was spent there. He was a warden of St Paul's. [My thanks again to Mary Thacher of Stonington for this added piece of information.]