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10 Places to Visit in Philadelphia Honoring Historical Women

Philadelphia Honoring Historical Women

By: DeAnn M. Cox  |  MileStone Academy

Check out Visit Philadelphia’s guide to these can’t-miss sites honoring women’s achievements in Philadelphia. Note: This list is arranged alphabetically.

  • Arch Street Meeting House

    The Arch Street Meeting House is a Quaker meeting house and is the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting regional congregation gathering site. Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society co-founders Lucretia Mott and Harriet Forten Purvis and Southern activist sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke fought for abolition and women’s equality here.

  • Badass Women’s History Tour of Philadelphia

    Badass Women’s History Tour of Philadelphia is a fun walk…while you learn about under-the-radar women who shaped Philadelphia — from “forgotten founder” Hannah Callowhill Penn to the Red Rose Girls and lesbian leaders in the Gayborhood.

  • Belmont Mansion

    Cornelia Wells may not have owned this 1742 mansion in Fairmount Park, but her story resonates here. Judge Richard Peters employed Wells and her daughter at the mansion after helping them escape slavery. The Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion highlights Wells’ struggles, successes, and Philadelphia’s legacy of freedom. The American Women’s Heritage Society, an African American Women’s Association, keeps the site and welcomes visitors for tours.

  • Betsy Ross House

    The Betsy Ross House pays tribute to one of Revolutionary Philadelphia’s most notable women. Visitors can stop by to meet a Betsy Ross reenactor to learn about Ross and her family and many other 18th-century women who helped build the new nation. Be sure to spend time in the courtyard, where the flag maker was laid to rest in 1836.

  • The Colored Girls Museum

    Located in Historic Germantown, The Colored Girls Museum explores the everyday lives of African American women through emotive exhibitions and art installations. Schedule your visit to the museum’s One Room Schoolhouse exhibit in advance.

  • Guild House Hotel

    Now a stunning invisible-service boutique hotel, this National Historic landmark once housed the New Century Guild, a pioneering club formed in 1882 to support working women. The 12 rooms and suites are named after Guild members, including notable abolitionists, suffragists, activists, poets, and artists.

  • Harriet Tubman Celebration

    2023 marks 201 years since the birth of Harriet Tubman, and Philadelphia is celebrating the life and legacy of the Underground Railroad hero. Look for the nine-foot statue and show it at City Hall through March 2022 and at events at cultural organizations throughout the city.

  • Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground

    This 1703 Quaker burial ground is the final resting place of Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society co-founders Lucretia Mott and Harriet Forten Purvis, as well as other abolitionists and women’s rights activists like Mary Ann M’Clintock, who helped plan the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights. Today, six murals depicting 300 years of Philadelphia’s struggle for social justice accompany the cemetery’s well-known residents.

  • Laurel Hill Cemetery

    Laurel Hill Cemetery is the final resting place of many notable Philadelphia women dating as far back as the Revolution. They include Esther de Berdt Reed, who raised funds to support the Continental Army; Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, organizer of the Women’s Pavilion during the 1876 Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia; and bacteriologist and refrigerator engineer Mary Engle Pennington.

  • National Marian Anderson Museum

    The National Marian Anderson Museum honors an under-recognized local and national figure. Raised in Philadelphia, Anderson fought hard for her place on the national and international stage as a contralto and pushed back against segregationist policies in concert halls where she performed. For her work, Anderson received the American Medal of Freedom in 1963. The museum also celebrates Blanche Burton-Lyles, a pianist and Anderson mentee who founded the Marian Anderson Historical Society.

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