HomeNewsBook reprint highlights history fair

Book reprint highlights history fair

Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History will present the Northeast Philadelphia History Fair on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road. Admission is free. All are welcome. There will be historic displays, presentations on local history, books, prints, photographs, historical items and a special book reprint.

Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History partnered with Byberry Friends Meeting to offer a reprint of Frances Richardson’s 1970 memoir, Hark Back With Love. A first-hand account of growing up in the Byberry section of the Northeast around the turn of the 20th century, the book paints a picture of life in the area when it was still farms and villages, before the automobile, paved roads and housing developments transformed the rural landscape.

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Frances Richardson was born in 1886 and died in 1973, and recounts living in the horse-and-buggy era. Richardson offers insights into the routines of rural life before electricity  and running water, describes the flora and fauna of the region and provides information on Byberry families, their farms, their work and their social and leisure activities.

Born in Philadelphia and a descendant of the city’s renowned Richardson family of silversmiths, Frances was the youngest of five children whose parents died within a few years of each other in the late 1880s. In 1889, when Frances was 3, she and her siblings were sent to live with their  four unmarried Richardson aunts, who owned Chestnut Glen, a 34-acre estate in Byberry. The property was on Academy Road below Comly Road, now the site of St. Martha Catholic Church and School, adjacent to Archbishop Ryan High School. Chestnut Glen, which would be Frances’ home for much of her life, is the primary focus of the book.

The Richardsons were members of Byberry Friends Meeting, which they regularly attended for worship and where Frances went to elementary school. She taught at Byberry School for a number of years.

The idea to reprint the book came from conversations among Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History board member Fred Moore, members of Byberry Friends Meeting and Helen Stopper, daughter of the late Northeast historian Pat Stopper. Moore took on the task of having it reprinted under the auspices of FNEPH, in partnership with Byberry Friends Meeting. ••

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