Doylestown History Month - Pt. 1

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The Doylestown Bookshop and The Doylestown Historical Society are partnering up again this March to celebrate Doylestown’s rich history and treasured past with a month full of exciting events. There will be a special event and discussion every Saturday at 2:00 pm during the month of March.

March 2nd
-2 pm-
Discussion with Jesse Crooks on the Poor Relief System and the Bucks County Almshouse.

From the colonial era until the rise of the modern welfare state, the poor residents of Bucks County relied on a social safety net that was administered at the local level. Township officials called Overseers of the Poor were tasked with levying a poor tax and providing financial support or in-kind relief to residents who were unable to provide for themselves. This system became more centralized following the opening of the county almshouse in 1810. Also known as the poorhouse, poor farm, and later the Bucks County Home, the almshouse took in people who faced financial hardship for a wide variety of reasons. This ranged from farm laborers who couldn’t find work in the winter to the elderly, sick, mentally disabled, and even pregnant women, who would come to the almshouse to give birth and then remain there during their postpartum “lying-in” period.

While the poor relief system was designed to save people from abject poverty, some of the methods employed would be considered inhumane by modern standards. Almshouse residents were considered inmates, and they frequently ran away. The psychiatric care was particularly problematic, and before the establishment of state-run psychiatric hospitals, individuals considered dangerously insane lived in chains at the county almshouse. Until the state’s anti-miscegenation law was abolished in 1780, the Overseers of the Poor were also tasked with binding out mixed-race children as indentured servants.

Jesse is the Operations Manager at the County Theater.
March 9th
-2 pm-

Discussion with Tony Palazzolo from the Doylestown Historical Society will discuss the personal library of William Edgar Geil and what his books tell us about the man. Personal libraries are organized and collected through personal interests and areas of concentration. A personal library also reflects the diversity and character, of an individual. 

March 16th
-2 pm-
Discussion with the Stratton and Nelson families on generations of their family's long history as Doylestown residents.
March 23rd
-2 pm-

Story time with local author Nancy Bergere, who will read from her book FOLLOW ROLLO, where the reader is led through Henry Mercer's remarkable castle home with young Henry and his constant companion, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Rollo.

March 30th
-2 pm-

Everything you should know about Doylestown, but don’t! Fun facts about the history and buildings of Doylestown with Michael Kendrick, executive board member of the Doylestown Historical Society.


This series of events will be held at:

The Doylestown Bookshop
16 S. Main Street Doylestown PA 18901