Firebrands, Physicians and Friends: The Quakers of Laurel Hill

Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a landscape shaped by a Quaker sensibility, an attempt to soften the pain of death by placing it within a peaceful, soothing environment. Two of Laurel Hill’s four founders were Quakers: John Jay Smith originated the idea of opening a rural cemetery in Philadelphia, while merchant Nathan Dunn paid $15,200 for the 32-acre estate that became Laurel Hill.

“Firebrands, Physicians, and Friends” traces Laurel Hill’s Quaker origins and visits the graves of some of its noteworthy Quaker residents: Hannah M. Bouvier Peterson, a pioneering woman writer who authored numerous textbooks; Joseph Wharton, who donated $100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania in 1881 to create the School of Business that bears his name; and father-and-son surgeons Joseph Pancoast and William Henry Pancoast (1835 – 1897), who both headed the Anatomy Department at Penn.

The tour will also visit the “Quaker Enclave” in South Laurel Hill, where simple graves mark the resting places of educator and abolitionist Mary Anna Longstreth; groundbreaking psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride; and siblings John and Lydia Morris, whose Chestnut Hill estate is today the Morris Arboretum of the University of Philadelphia.

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, September 21 at 1:00 pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

Ticket pricing is $15/General Admission, $13/Seniors (65 & Up), $13/Students with ID, $10/Members, $7.50/Youth (6-12), and $0/Child (5 & Under). Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

Please note - youth and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tour Guide: Thomas Keels

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