|Page from Howell Bickley’s diary, February 4, 1854. From the personal collection of Joseph Jones.|
Researcher Joseph Jones recently approached us looking for images of several estates once located in the present-day Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia. We were able to locate an image of the Lardner family farmhouse, shedding light on an 1854 entry in a diary owned by Jones and written by eleven-year-old Howell Bickley, who grew up on a neighboring farm. In the entry, reproduced above, Bickley describes going for a nine-mile walk in the woods in the vicinity of Mr. Lardner’s estate. Upon further research, Jones was able to determine that the Lardner property mentioned was in fact the estate of John Lardner, also known as “Tacony Farm.”
The photograph of John Lardner’s estate below is from the Library Company’s Marriott C. Morris Photograph collection, consisting of nearly 1,500 negatives and a smaller number of photographic prints. Morris extensively photographed family members as well as geographic locations in and around Philadelphia to which his family had ties. The title of the photograph suggests that Mary P. Lardner was the cousin of Marriott C. Morris.
|Co[u]s[in] Mary P. Lardner’s old house & place at Tacony. From river--on boat. May 2, 1885. From the Library Company’s Marriott C. Morris Photograph collection.|
The unearthing of this image “…is a major discovery in bringing this diary to life,” in the words of Jones, who hopes someday to publish a children’s book related to the diary.
In the course of his research, Jones has found that there are currently efforts to redevelop the area where the Lardner estate once stood as Lardner’s Point Park. A modern-day view of the location can be seen in this article about the project: http://www.pecpa.org/ecological-restoration/lardners-point-park-project-0
The Morris family papers found at the Independence National Historic Park include the personal papers of Marriott C. Morris. The archivists currently processing the collection have created a blog documenting highlights of their findings, as well as a link to the finding aid, which can be seen by clicking here: http://morrisfamilypapers.wordpress.com/
Print Department Assistant & Digital Collections Manager