Longfellow’s popular poem Evangeline still has people searching for the tombs of the Acadian heroine and her lost lover Gabriel in Philadelphia – even though they’re fictional characters!
Until recently, I only vaguely knew about the Acadians or “Cajuns” who came from the Nova Scotia region of Canada and ended up in Louisiana.
Since then, I’ve learned that about 11,500 Acadians were brutally displaced by the British in 1755. Some 453 of these unfortunates ended up living in Philadelphia on the north side of Pine Street between Fifth and Sixth, some for many years.
This historic special-collections library and museum on Washington Square welcomes residents and tourists alike.
In 1814, a group of local learned men – with broad interests in science, literature, politics and more – announced the opening of two reading rooms run by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
Named in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the member-supported Athenaeum was founded to collect materials “connected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts, and generally to disseminate useful knowledge” for public benefit.