Puritan Boston, Quaker Philadelphia: notes on 1979 research from E. Digby Baltzell

Sociologist E. Digby Baltzell. Photo from Penn Collection. Circa 1970.

Boston was built by Puritans, who celebrated civic power and class authority. Philadelphia was built by Quakers, who championed equality and deference.

Two hundred fifty years later, though considerably fewer people in those cities consider themselves a member of either group, their impact is still chiefly responsible for Boston outperforming and Philadelphia underperforming in their contributions to the greater world.

That’s the chief argument of the dense, heavily-researched, 500-page, 1979 academic classic Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, written by University of Pennsylvania sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (19151996). The core of the book is said to be based on some 300 interviews with Proper Philadelphians and Brahmin Bostonians, and part of a decades-long research focus that Baltzell had on his Protestant brethren — he has been sometimes credited with popularizing the “WASP” term.

This is a book that is a fabulous read for understanding Philadelphia and Boston, but it is also a treasure for those who love new perspectives on American culture, U.S. history and the development of cities.

Put more directly, American populism will kill any hope for thoughtful leaders, and while class authority dominates with generations-old power, deference democracy creates in-fighting and polarization. (Though written in 1979, the book often reads like a come-up-pence against our anti-wealth political culture of today)

It’s a stake in the heart of the French Revolution-inspired Jeffersonian egalitarianism, which largely embodies Philadelphia‘s roots and now American life as a whole — something that is handled somewhat differently than Boston and broader New England.

The challenging and counter-intuitive argument is just why I enjoyed the book so much.

For years I’ve heard I should read it (while doing an undergraduate thesis, I heard the recommendation at least a half dozen times), now I have. And, as is my custom, I wanted to share some of the many takeaways I had while reading the book since May, largely focused on evidence supporting the idea that there is a foundational difference between the European growth of Boston and Philadelphia.

Baltzell, who grew up in Chestnut Hill and lived on Delancey Street in Rittenhouse and would bicycle in his tweed jacket to campus on University City, died in 1996 at 81 in Boston, fittingly enough. Despite his roots in Philadelphia, the book clearly reads as a tribute to New England ideals.

While reading it, I’ve enjoyed seeing that other conversations have hit on the idea that the place where you live can really impact who you are.

Warning: I loved this book and really think if you should buy it. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve put my biggest takeaways below, but I’ve also shared an overwhelming amount of notes below that are for power users and also for me, as I expect to write more about this and want to have a more easily searchable version of my notes.


  1. Quaker egalitarianism rejected grandstanding or fame chasing, so we subdued it or pushed it away: Though Quaker and Puritan direct influence is gone today, those founding cultures built the institutions and set the tone for the leading classes in those cities today: Philadelphia is tolerant of intolerance (irresponsible city leaders). Boston is intolerant (responsible city leaders).
  2. Quakers: everyone is involved, pacifist, no one should rock the boat (everyone can reach God, so no one should take charge and learning is questionable). Puritans: city fathers should be trusted and allow for bold action. Boston’s Puritan roots cherished education, celebrated legacy and class authority, which institutionalized stability, and also created mechanisms to welcome new wealth. Philadelphia’s open floor for leadership developed skepticism and a leading class that was shallow and avoided civic leadership, fighting newcomers.
  3. Well-supported, well-funded, celebrated Harvard University (founded 1636) versus early-adopting but less influential University of Pennsylvania (1740) is a dominant example of the divide between the two cities, argues Baltzell.
  4. This divide is simplified into the French Revolution and Enlightenment-infused Thomas Jefferson perspective on meritocracy (Philadelphia) on the one hand and the British royalty-likened John Adams perspective on autocracy (Boston).
  5. It’s important for societies to welcome and absorb New Money, but retain Old Money leadership, though Baltzell is careful to differentiate between letting money-alone lead, as opposed to generational-regard to civic life.
  6. “At the beginning of any privileged family is an entrepreneurial spirit,” as self made men make hereditary elites, but cities that celebrate legacy and continued family prominence create an authority class.
  7. close-minded Philadelphia culture ran off newer money like the Wideners, Barnes, Walter Annenberg, who was denied Philadelphia Club membership, (p. 245), publishers Edward Bok and Cyrus Curtis (they didn’t support Penn, but some did support Temple, in Philadelphia’s more anti-elite ways) (p. 289)
  8. “The absence of class authority inevitably leads to the rule of charismatic men on horseback, with their legions of personal followers.” (p. 377) Tocqueville says that equality and individualism are different sides of same coin (p. 454)
  9. “To understand the problem of authority and leadership in America today, then, one must study the history of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It is not an all together encouraging story.” (p. 456)
  10. Baltzell was hopeful for newcomers to Philadelphia to change how it attracted and retained talent (which is happening), but if Philadelphia were to change, would it cease to be Philadelphia?


A book so good, I read it on South Beach.

Buy the book here. These are notes to help guide my own reading and yours, after you read the book.


  • Puritan and Quaker roots are the differences between the two regions. (p. x)
  • “I must emphasize hear that Philadelphia is still in the midst of a post-World War II Renaissance the promises much for the future of the city. There are even signs that Philadelphia’s citizens of all classes will eventually become boosters and winners rather than contractors and losers.” (he writes in 1979)
  • Wales is where Philly First Families came from.  (A reference here to the Caldwalader Roberts hardware store in Barmouth  (p. ix)

Chapter One

  • Early American colonies represented a “mosaic of Protestant ethics.” (p. 1)
  • South Jersey was “culturally backward” from its origins as “West Jersey,” and was developed separately from North (East) Jersey. (p. 2)
  • “The world is only beginning to see that the wealth of the nation consists more than anything else in the number of superior men that it harbors.” William James (p. 2)
  • “The democratic faith further held that no special group might mediate between the common man and the truth….” (p. 3) “Ambitious men in democracies are less engrossed than any other with the interests of posterity.”
  • Colonial aristocracy created greater American leaders (p. 4)
  • “The people in Boston all want to be Chiefs, while in Philly they are all content to be Indians.” (p. 6)
  • Institutions are shadows of great men (p. 7)
  • Quaker and Philadelphians have always suffered from believing in the “vanity of the word,” which means there is relatively very little written about that city’s great leaders. (p 14)

Part One

  • “Whereas proper Philadelphians always have suffered from status snobbery and the lack of class and local pride, proper Bostonians typically have shown a great deal of pride in the leadership and authority of their ancestors, whom they have striven to emulate.” (p. 20)
  • If one wants stability, one wants the institutionalization of authority, not necessarily with money alone but class. (p. 20)
  • “In our modern world of inevitably large organizations, bureaucratic authority, as Weber feared, is in constant danger of degenerating into an iron cage of conservatism run by maintenance men, rather than leaders.” ..Authority is the institutionalization, or legitimation, of power.” (p. 23)
  • “At the beginning of Any privileged family was an entrepreneurial spirit”  (p. 25)
  • Conservative families like Adams made great families through hereditary aristocracy, not wealth alone. (p. 25)
  • Talent is natural and morally neutral, which is at the core of Jeffersonian egalitarianism (p. 28)
  • Aristocracy pick winners, said Jefferson, but Adams felt . Jefferson said Philly elite were fresh cut flowers (p. 29)
  • Philly has a long history of being led by auslanders, or non-natives. (p. 30)
  • The extended family is common in both low and high classes; the nuclear model developed in middle-class communities (p.31)
  • Boston is most influential in its impact, when its Old families are reviewed in the Dictionary of American Biography (p. 38)
  • Anti intellectualism: from the very beginning, Philly’s upper class doesn’t support or attend University of Pennsylvania (p. 40)
  • In Boston, it’s happiness in pursuit, in Philly, the pursuit of happiness (and self satisfied loath-fullness) That idea create a shallow upper class in Philadelphia and a civic-minded one in Boston. (p. 43)
  • Legendary Founding Father Benjamin Rush wrote about keeping Philadelphia as his home because of his friends, largely newcomers to the city. Eli Kirk Price writes about every brick of the Philadelphia Art Museum was put there with opposition from the upper class. (p. 44)
  • “I inherited the fortune and position for which others strive,” wrote Sidney Fisher, a symbolic proper Philadelphian. (p. 45)
  • “Quakerism has bred far more men like George Apley than John Adams.” (p. 47)
  • “When a Biddle gets drunk, he thinks he is a Caldwalder.” (p. 48)
  • “Philosophers know very little about what is very important. Scientists know a great deal about what is far less worth knowing. (p. 49)
  • Adam must study war, so his son can study math, so his grandson can study art. (p. 50)
  • Rhode Island allowed for Philly-like tolerance, and it bred people like Samuel Gorton. (p. 53)
  • Moneyed men have always been tolerant of each other, so by bringing together new and old money of different stripes, they can still incorporate new ideas. (p. 54)
  • Philadelphia is the city of firsts, Boston of bests and New York of latests. (p. 54)

Part Two

  • Early American had dueling in the South and in Philly, not New England (p. 60)
  • Always been conflicting ideas about education: Thomas Hobbes saw universities as a Trojan horse for insurrection. (p. 71)
  • Science ‘democratized the human body.’ (p. 73)
  • Quakerism ties its roots to George Fox in 1652 (p.85)
  • After missionary work in Barbados, some Quakers went to the ‘bloody den’ of Boston, where they were promptly imprisoned for their heretical beliefs. (p. 86)
  • Leaders from radical movements mostly come from the people, but need the support of ‘renegades from the ruling class,’ wrote Marx, including Quakerism. (p. 90)
  • “Unfortunately, men are given to see only through a glass darkly, and tend to fight over great truths in the name of great half-truths.” (p. 93)
  • Interesting table comparing Quaker and Puritan belief structures (p. 94)
  • Catholicism has lasted because it absorbed others through an elite hierarchy, the pope and his leadership. (p. 96)
  • Hebrews gave society monotheism, but there is a balance between the importance of the Sermon on the Mount versus the Ten Commandments  (p. 97)
  • Contract immanence, in which the divine is a part of the material world, and the transcendental, in which the divine is beyond this world. (p. 97)
  • “Ascription is the archenemy of all enthusiasms.” i.e. contrasting baptism for Catholics to new Quakers. (p. 101)
  • Tenets of Quakerism created anti-authority and anti-education sentiments. (p. 104)
  • tolerant irresponsibility versus intolerant responsibility (p. 105)
  • “Now, Bostonians have always had more than their fair share of boosting ethnocentrism, and perhaps this is normal; what is curiously abnormal is the ethnophobia, or xenophilia, that has been characteristic of Philadelphia from the first. Whereas Bostonians are all too ready to see Boston as best in ways that it clearly is not, Philadelphians are equally ready to brand their city as worst in ways that it clearly is not. Bostonians are braggarts; Philadelphians, as Owen Wister put it, have a deep” instinct for self disparagement.” (p. 105)
  • Nationally, when elites lead, we follow. When democracy reins, we look hard at ourselves. i.e. Contrast World War II, Protestant elite-led American boosterism with more egalitarian Vietnam War-era misstrust. (p. 106)

Part Three

  • Boston born of self government: “defended by rulers which should be ourselves,” wrote Cotton Mather (p. 111)
  • Pennsylvania, named for his father, was strictly a religious exercise for William Penn, who spent little time on the civics of the colony (p.114)
  • “Even though the vast majority of the population of Massachusetts in 1640, 10 years later after the founding of the colony,  were not church members, the colony’s government and social life were dominated by Puritan church leaders, lay and clerical. Pennsylvania, however, was from its inception rendered almost ungovernable as a result of continuous sectarian wrangling. (p. 115)
  • Neat explanation for describing how colonial Pennsylvania was populated (p. 116)
  • “By the close of the colonial period, then, Pennsylvania was, ethnically and religiously, more like modern America than any other colony and diametrically opposite to the homogenous and hierarchical society of Massachusetts. (p. 1118)
  • Philadelphia was removed as the state capital, first for Lancaster and then for Harrisburg (p. 119)
  • Massachusetts built towns from the beginning. Pennsylvania relied more on the isolated family farm. (p. 119)
  • Turns out that Daniel Boone was a Quaker, and a Berks County, Penn. native. (p. 121)
  • History follows early patterns: as early as 1727, no more Quaker majority but their influence remained. (p. 124)
  • The anarchical nature of direct democracy and that “the best part is always the least” (p. 125)
  • Quakers were led by land wealthy, Boston by elite (p. 127)
  • Charismatic authority answers anarchy but Penn was absent (p. 128)
  • “Alas, alas poor governor of Pennsylvania,” wrote a Biddle of the un-governable commonwealth (p. 128)
  • Quaker elites focus on good, steady business (p. 129)
  • Keithian Heresy in 1690s: George Keith caused a schism, which followed that the spiritual inner light people were then the less educated residents, a perspective that now likely correlates to better educated spiritual people of today. (p. 137)
  • “The Philadelphia Quakers, like all too many other Americans, have valued education, especially it’s more practical aspects, while mistrusting learning. And down through the years, the city’s Quaker-turned-Episcopal gentry have only half heartedly supported the University of Pennsylvania, which throughout its long history has contributed surprisingly little to the nation’s intellectual or political leadership. (p. 140)
  • In Boston, there was a fine for bringing Quaker ideas there. Also: Anne Hutchinson (p. 141)
  • In the 1750s, the ideals of the French enlightenment poured into the colonies through Philadelphia, but rarely reached Puritan-held Boston (p. 143)
  • “God sifted a whole nation that he might send Choice Grain into the Wilderness.” (p. 145)
  • Many Quaker leaders wouldn’t govern, refusing the role (p. 154)
  • In 1699, as told in Ben Franklin’s autobiography, William Penn’s ship destined for Philadelphia was attacked by pirates. His private secretary James Logan took arms against the pirates, while Penn recused himself below the deck because of his Quaker pacifism. After defending the ship, When Penn chastised Logan for taking arms, to which Logan is said to responded: “I being thy servant, why didn’t thee order me to come down?” (p. 156)
  • The Penn family mistrusted Franklin, the politician who was well-liked by both lay Quakers and Germans. (p. 156)
  • Indian war divides Pennsylvania, between Scotch-Irish facing the frontier attacks and city-based Quakers, who withdraw from the debate. (p. 158)
  • As late as the early 1770s, Franklin wanted the British crown to take greater control over the colony from the Penn family. (p. 162
  • Pennsylvania has been plagued by religious factions from the start (p.163)
  • Pennsylvania Hospital was celebrated from the beginning, but built by auslanders like Thomas Bond, Benjamin Rush, and Franklin. (The Quakers treated the mentally insane  long before anyone else) (p. 165)
  • Challenges of liberty and freedom, wrote Jacob Duche in mid 1700s: “The poorest labourer upon the shores of the Delaware thinks himself entitled to deliver his sentiments in matters of religion or politics with as much freedom as the gentleman or scholar. Indeed, there is less distinction among the citizens of Philadelphia, than among those of any civilized city in the world.”(p. 166)
  • George Emlen’s estate in ‘the heart of Germantown’s black ghetto’ is called the ‘Quaker Kremlin,’ as of the 1970 writing of the book. (p. 170)
  • Quakers were successful in natural history (like botany) and Puritans better in natural philosophy (like chemistry) (p. 173)
  • Quakers mistrust facts (p. 175)

Part Four

  • From the start, the PA delegation was heterogeneous, Indian-attacked central Pennsylvanians, who wanted independence (p.181)
  • The Virginia Exiles were Philadelphia Quaker extremists (p. 182) P183: Montesquieu separation of powers; evolving state constitutions made up us constituent
  • Carl Becker’s Revolutionary summation aphorism — “The war was not about home rule, but about who would rule at home.” — is split, says Baltzell, home rule (identity) for Boston and home rulership (in-fighting) for Philadelphia.
  • Whereas Pennsylvania started with a radical constitution and has kept reforming it, the Massachusetts one has stayed the same. (p. 185)
  • Antinomian – faith, not law
  • 15 of 55 Constitution writers owned slaves and other facts about those 45 men from 12 states, no Rhode Island (p.186)
  • secrecy =prodigies of intellect : “as we have seen, the Massachusetts Constitution was written by the same class of men who framed our federal Constitution; the Pennsylvania Constitution clearly was not.” (p. 187)
  • Clinton Rossiter ranks founding fathers (p. 189)
  • Baltzell tells the tale of two disappointing Philadelphians to show how the spirit failed to take on civic acton (p. 190
  • Silver decade of Philadelphia is 1790, as London (p. 192)
  • also Anne Bingham exists (p.194)
  • “Benedict Arnold’s later treasonous acts may be explained in part by his having gotten heavily into debt trying to keep up with Philadelphia Society during the British occupation.” (p. 194)
  • Philadelphia lost state and national capital so ruling families turned inward (p. 197)
  • In Philadelphia, they run for office, in Boston, they stand.  It’s deference vs defiant democracy (p. 199)
‘The Gross Clinic,’ the famous portrait of celebrated 19th century surgeon Samuel Gross by Thomas Eakins, both Philadelphians.

Part Five

  • Democracies foster the making of fabulous fortunes; aristocracies, the preservation of more modest ones. (p. 208)
  • Ben Franklin’s inheritance included $5,000 each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia. The former invested far more wisely than the latter. (p. 208)
  • a list of the wealthiest Philadelphians (p. 210)
  • “The Biddles are unquestionably the most famous Philadelphia family: when Edward VIII was prince of Wales, he is said to have remarked after a visit to Philadelphia,’ I met a very large and interesting family named Scrapple, and discovered a rather delicious native food they called Biddle.” (p. 216)
  • Salem was once Boston’s competition (p. 219)
  • With prominent exception of Tench Coxe, Philadelphia’s textile community was led by auslanders. (p. 222 also talks chemical companies) (p. 220)
  • “It was the machine shops of Chester, Philadelphia, and Wilmington that ensured rapid industrialization in the United States.” (p. 224)
  • “In the early decades of the 19th century, Philadelphia began to lose its financial and business leadership of the nation: first, in 1825 the Erie canal opened up the west to New York City merchants; second, financial supremacy was lost to New York with the failure of Biddle’s bank in the 1830s; third Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began to build to the west in the 1840s” (p. 224)
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania contained the largest anthracite coal deposits in the world. Profits from the black gold of Lehigh, Carbon, Wyoming and Luzerne Counties built many mansions around Rittenhouse Square in the Victorian era and many stately homes on the Main Line since (p.228)
  • “As late as 1900, 60 percent of the nation’s oil was being produced in Pennsylvania.” (p.228)
  • Pew is oil money (like Widener) (p.229)
  • “Congress failed to recharter the first bank just before the war of 1812; VP De Witt Clinton cast the deciding vote in a tied Senate, suggesting New York’s jealousy of Philadelphia’s financial supremacy, which eventually led to the defeat of Nicholas Biddle and the demise of the second bank” [and Philadelphia as the country’s economic engine] (p. 230)
  • “as Sydney Fisher wrote in his diary, had Biddle been born to a class with more intellectual values, such as Boston’s, he might have achieved lasting fame as a man of letters.” (p. 231)
  • “Once capital of the United States in the Pennsylvania, largest, richest, most luxurious of American cities, center of fashion and intellect, Philadelphia had lost everything but it’ll in the bank. When the bank broke, when Biddle close the classic doors of Andelusia against the world, Philadelphia closed its doors against the nation as a whole. The nation had rejected the leadership of old Philadelphia; very well, old Philadelphia project of the nation. Like Biddle, old Philadelphia retired into itself. Henceforth let vulgar  Washington takeover Politics  and vulgar New York take over finance. Philadelphia gentlemen would at least remain Philadelphian and gentlemen. (p. 232)
  • Drexel family money from investment (p. 234)
  • Difference between arrogance and aloofness of Boston and snobbery of Philadelphia (top p. 238)
  • Little legacy for the Philadelphia Club (p. 239)
  • Proper Philadelphia institutions: First City Troop and the Assembly Ball, with some extra insight here and here (p. 240)
  • Widener art collection went to D.C.’s Smithsonian (p. 244)
  • Widener library at Harvard (p. 245)
  • “If our intellectual traditions came to America through the port of Boston, our equally strong anti–intellectual traditions came through the port of Philadelphia.” (p. 246)
  • 8 colleges pre-Revolution, only Penn is secular (p. 248)
  • No Pennsylvania college succeeded (p. 249)
  • University of Pennsylvania never had a U.S. President or Secretary of State (p. 250)
  • Penn not proud like Harvard, Penn always a commuter school (p. 252)
  • “That Penn is the only institution of higher learning in America to have had a provost rather than a president at its head throughout most of its long history Shirley symbolizes the ancient miss trust of leadership in the city.” pres. Ludlow sucked (p. 255)
  • Penn’s medical and business schools, though its undergraduate programs little relevance until after World War II (p. 258)
  • Penn resisted having dormitories (p. 259)
  • Famed Penn leader Pepper constructed its first student center. Wharton was being built when Harvard was building its cultural impact. However now that business is more culturally popular, Wharton grads are still not connected deeply to Philadelphia. (p. 261)
  • Harvard business school was kept separate from its college, but Wharton became Penn’s crown jewel (p. 261)
  • Philadelphia’s unburied dead: Ben Franklin’s descendant left Penn for Harvard (p. 263)
  • In 1872, Harvard had 13 endowed professorships, though Penn had none  (p. 264)
  • In the footnote, Penn’s 1936 endowment was just $19 million, compared to $130 million at Harvard. “the lord Loveth a cheerful giver ” (p. 265)
  • Penn professors were “narrow scholars or specialists recognized in their chosen discipline yet rarely influential in the broader culture of their times.” … No New Money Philadelphians gave money to Penn because they were snubbed by society (here is the ripple effect from Quakers) (p. 267)
  • Central High School is 200 years younger than Boston Latin (Robert Ellis Thompson) (p. 272)
  • “The very existence of Central High in Philadelphia, in other words, may give us all hope that even in the most egalitarian climates of opinion, where mediocrity is sure to rule, there will nevertheless remain those few who continue to believe in taking pride in large accomplishment.” Central has more distinguished alumni than Penn, as of the writint of the book (p. 273)
  • Why is urbanization anti Jeffersonian democracy? (p. 274)
  • middle school boys taught to live with world vs. upper class boys taught to change the world (p. 279)
  • Boston residents read more than Philly (p. 285)
  • Wistar association and parties (p. 291)
  • Charles Brockdon Brown novelist was an early leader, but in Philadelphia tradition never earned wide, lasting fame (p. 292)
  • “The Boston people were good to me during my entire visit. They kept me half crazy and whole drunk all the time. [In Philadelphia] I am not used to what we call “ovations,” great or small… I am used to being despised and trampled on at home; why should I not bury my head in the dirt and except my fate?” –George Boker, one of the founders of the Union League, a successful businessman who hid his successful poetry career (p. 295)
  • S Weir Mitchell is another famous Philadelphian who failed due to society (Walt Whitman’s doctor) (p. 295)
  • “Suffered the immortality of a decade” (p. 298)
  • “There has been no lack of good ability among our people. Bright and able men have appeared at all times, and from pretty much all the cliques into which we are dissipated. But almost every one of them has been neglected and forgotten, or his reputation deliberately attacked or ruined. It is really extraordinary vindictiveness with which the Pennsylvanians have assailed anyone of their own people wshome striking or supreme ability. ” -Sydney Fisher in 1896 (p. 305)
  • Other people biography write on Philadelphians, not locals (p. 305)
  • Benjamin West (p. 309)
  • Charles Peale who founded PAFA, was auslander (so was Art Museum) (p. 311)
  • Thomas Eakins was the city’s great painter (Whitman’s favorite portrait, shown below) (p. 315)
  • Philly is a sculpture town (as Philly helped catapult NYC w/ new deal money above Paris) …In 1979: “There is an unwritten law in the city but no skyscraper to be higher than the William Penn statue. Before World War II, the statue dominated the city skyline. The example of the monotony of a quality, however, the building boom since the war has resulted in a bell and flatten skyline with the whole series of buildings exactly level with each other and hiding pen from many angles of view” (p. 316)
  • Singer Sargent (p. 317)
  • The country’s first songwriter (like sculptor and portraitist and novelist) was Philly-bred but not best remembered (p. 319)
  • Philly orchestra went from being among the world’s best to now so in debt (p. 321)
  • Philly’s most celebrated architects are auslanders too (and studied abroad, 324) (p. 323)
  • The years from 1876 until World War I was Philly’s most creative period, highlighted by the worldwide-known Centennial Exhibition (p. 326, bottom)
  • Some background on Penn and Louis Kahn impacting Philly’s architectural heritage (p. 333)
  • “Boston may very well have produced more famous architects on the national scene down through the years, but Philadelphia architecture today is by all odds the most exquisite and richly varied in the nation. As the boosters outnumber the disparagers in the city, as indeed they eventually will, its true worth in architecture will become conventional wisdom.” (p. 334)
  • Philly lawyers make money: Boston use law for leadership (p. 337)
  • Horace Binney vs. Daniel Webster: Philly’s Binney wins but stays local and declines, like other Philly sons, a Supreme Court nominations (p. 338)
  • Judicial appointments in Mass, elected in Pennsylvania and that makes all the difference, says Baltzell (p. 339)
  • The Federalists were the country’s only honest party, says Binney(p. 339)
  • Judicial elections make a better bar (the Philadelphia lawyer) and a worse judicial class (p. 340)
  • Philadelphia has never celebrated its distinguished men, says Binney (p. 341)
  • “The people are like the grave: what they get, they never give up.” – John Bannister Gibson, former supreme court of Pennsylvania Chief Justice (p. 342)
  • Hopkinson, caldwalder, ingersoll, chew (p. 342)
  • John Sergeant turned down Supreme Court and other nominations, like Binney, as mentioned above. Successful men’s sons struggle in democracies (p. 343)
  • American civic life is dominated by Harvard men (p. 345)
  • Philly law success kept back Penn law (p. 347)
  • The American Law Institute exists (p. 348)
  • In footnote and last graf, Baltzel is discussing what today we call talent proximity and its ability to attract and retain more of it. (p. 352)
  • Penn medical surpassed by Harvard in the 20th century (p. 353)
  • Hamilton Kuhn Professorship at Harvard is another example of Philly money going elsewhere (p. 354)
  • Samuel Gross, well known for the Eakins Gross Clinic portrait depicted above, a generation’s celebrated surgeon and Philadelphia resident never taught at Penn (p. 357)
  • The Peppers were Penn’s only proper dynasty: others were auslanders (p. 359)
  • In 1910s, Penn staff brain drain at a critical time (p. 360)
  • Penn didn’t like research in technology, but practiced science, leaving it behind in innovation at the beginning of the 20th century (p. 361)
  • “I do not like the general spirit of this community,” writes John Edsall (he and Cabot talk of team spirit) (p. 362)
  • “Whereas Penn remained a school that transmitted received wisdom from the past, Harvard became the center of science intellectual curiosity. Philadelphia produced more physicians and practitioners; Harvard, more deans and professors of medical schools and more specialists advancing knowledge.” (p. 362)
  • “It was the early institutionalization of clerical authority in Massachusetts and the lack of it in Pennsylvania that distinguish the leadership styles of Boston Philadelphia in our secular age. Though pious Puritanism died out in Boston, as did Quakerism as a major force in Philadelphia, both cast their shadows on the values of the upper classes in the two cities.” (p. 363 KEY PASSAGE CONTUNUES)
  • “in battle, men kill, without hating each other; in political contests, men hate without killing, but in that hatred they commit murder every hour of their lives-” Benjamin Rush (p. 370)
  • Muhlenbergs more distinctive than Philly (p. 371)
  • Of famed Civil War-era Union financier Jay Cooke, someone wrote he had “no deep knowledge of, or concern for, the general welfare of his city,” described as an example of ‘privatism,’ an effort to construct city structures around the wealth-making of a powerful few, which was described as a reason for city corruption in 20th century (p. 372)
  • Philadelphia mayors have traditionally been outsiders (p 374)
  • After the Civil War, mass immigration, etc chased proper Philadelphians from city government (bottom of top section, p. 375)
  • In 1920s, Malcolm Nichols was last Boston GOP mayor (p. 376)
  • Harvard men in Boston, GOP machine in Philly: “The absence of class authority inevitably leads to the rule of charismatic men on horseback, with their legions of personal followers.” (p. 377)
  • Some background on the research by the always interesting Lincoln Steffens (p. 378)
  • Israel Durham, another Philly political boss like the Vare brothers (p. 380)
  • State capital Harrisburg represents pa pride (or lack thereof) (p. 385)
  • Where class authority is weak, charismatic leaders come to the fore (p. 388)
  • 8% of Pennsylvania governors from Philly, 44 percent from Boston, few from Penn, many from Harvard (p. 389)
  • “Pennsylvania politics is still a game, a game without rules, which is, after all, perhaps democracy in its most natural state.” -Philip Klein (p. 389)
  • Philadelphia’s transformational reformer Mayor Dilworth, a Pittsburgh family (p. 391)
  • Maybe diversity caused Philly problems, not just Quakerism (p. 392)
  • In the past, conservative business interests wanted immigration for cheap labor and progressives wanted to close it down for exploration… “Gifford pinochet, another PA governor auslander” (p. 393)
  • Philly stopped getting more diverse (p. 394)
  • Pennypacker (who discovered the historical reality that Penn was founded in 1740, not 1749, making it predate Princeton) another auslander Philly, who had some criticism for Ben Franklin (p. 395)
  • The problem? Individualism says Tocqueville (p. 401)
  • boss rule was destined in political chaos: “In a democracy of limited terms in office and constantly changing personnel, political stability or “fixedness and place” must come from society, either traditionally in the form of class leadership or, when class leadership is lacking, the natural growth of the political machine, based on “liege loyalty” to one man who is able and willing to take the responsibility over the long run, usually behind-the-scenes, or various forms of bribery they will be called for from time to time. ” (p. 403)
  • “The atomization of society, fostered by the fanatic forces of egalitarian individualism, is the greatest threat to political freedom in our time:” Baltzell (p. 404)
  • “The Pennsylvania mind, as minds go, was not complex. It reasoned little and never talked, but In practical matters, it was the steadiest of All-American types.” p405 (political boss bios, incl bob Brady similarities, top 406)
  • Contrast Proper Philadelphian Boies Penrose and Boston’s Henry Cabot Lodge (407)
  • Penrose got caught in a photo near a whore house (p. 409, described like Gatsby on 410)
  • Martin Van buren was the first politician president (p411)
  • The Puritan hanged the Quaker and both were happy (p 413)
  • The Quakers were tolerating intolerance (p414)
  • George Wharton Pepper should have been a political force, but Baltzell says his Philadelphia upbringing kept that from ever happening (p414)
Portrait of Walt Whitman by Thomas Eakins, which the poet called his favorite

Part Five

  • FDR called Philly’s John Kelly the most handsome man he ever met, but he never got into civic life, like so many other Philly well-bred community leaders (p. 418)
  • Maryland was founded by Catholics: the Philly, NYC, Boston and Kentucky archdiocese came from Baltimore’s in 1808 (p. 418)
  • Auslanders lead Phlilly archdiocese too (p.422)
  • 1844 Nativist riots helped lead to city consolidation to bring together response and control (p. 423)
  • John Neumann, later sainted, was not well liked in Philadelphia broadly at first (p. 424)
  • Harvard honors Catholics but not Penn, which shows the lack of connection there (p. 426)
  • Catholic education separatism much bigger in Philly (p. 426)
  • Still, there was never any organized Catholic vote in Philly, much more around ethnic, racial and neighborhood lines (p. 430)
  • Hicks and Lucretia Mott, auslander Philadelphians (p. 434)
  • Hicksite Quaker split founded schools, which relates to the roots of Penn Charter (p. 437)
  • Haverford was built ‘Better not Bigger’ (p 445)
  • Provident National Bank and Girard Trust and others gobbled up, in true Quaker Philadelphia fashion (p. 447)
  • “Horatio, I would have thee know that I never have and never will demean myself to ride in the streetcar. When I ride, I ride in my carriage. ” –George Bacon Wood (1797- 1879) p448
  • Rufus Jones and Henry Cadbury built one of the most celebrated Quaker organizations in the religion’s 400-year history (p. 448)
  • More Calvinist Quakers (i.e. more Puritanical) did the great work, including American Friends Service Committee, from Jones and Cadbury, which won a Nobel peace prize in 1947 (p. 450)
  • Emerson and Whitman led individuiam of today (p. 454) (page before Tocqueville says that equality and individualism are different sides of same coin)
  • King of England and John F. Kennedy dies and turmoil follows (convinced Quakerism surges) p455
  • “To understand the problem of authority and leadership in America today, then, one must study the history of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It is not an all together encouraging story.” (p. 456) democratic despotism


  • A city’s street system is its operating system, integrating its hardware (infrastructure) with its software (culture)
  • “These Philadelphians are a strange set of people…They have the least feeling of real genuine politeness of any people with whom I am acquainted,” Abigail Adams, 1798
  • “Public business must be done by somebody. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not,” said John Adams. (Yes, also quoted in episode 5 in the excellent John Adams miniseries)
  • “A big city’s reputation is of course always a fiction in that it cannot describe much of what actually happens in such a large place, but it is also very real in that it sets people’s expectations and defines their shared understanding of the community in which they live and work, and which others visit – or choose not to visit, as the case may be,” writes Richardson Dilworth.
  • “Philadelphia does not hate it’s heroes, it ignores them utterly.” – Harry Emerson wildes, biographer of Stephen Girard, who, as written in the Inquirer, died worth $7 million (the equivalent of something like $50 billion today) and was one of the country’s first city government philanthropists, resulting in Delaware Avenue, Girard College and more.
  • Old Philadelphia summer in places like Northeast Harbor in Maine, called ‘Philadelphia on the rocks”
  • Does Culture Explain Urban Development?
  • The ethic of morality and the ethic of vocation
  • The Social Register is another way society has tracked itself in old Northeast cities


  • Who to blame for Philadelphia’s loss of 18th century distinction? Scapegoats? (Dewitt Clinton)
  • Great families that Philadelphia high society chased off: Widener (and its art collection), Barnes (though it was brought back), Walter Annenberg (denied Philadelphia Club membership p. 245), Wanamaker (no heir)
  • NYC is a collection of problem solvers without any problems so we often lead to half solved issues. We need to be rooted among our problems.
  • Compare the number of Philly people in Wikipedia to Boston. (reflective of Baltzell’s use of the Dictionary of American Biography)
  • Fitting today’s politicians into Baltzell’s vision: how do Rendell, Nutter, Bob Brady and others fit?
  • How has failure made Philadelphia what it is?
  • Did the 20th century brain drain give Philadelphia a new opportunity?
  • Is Mayor Nutter the most successful Philadelphia-born mayor in the modern era?

Top photo courtesy of Penn collection.

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