An Artist Embedded in History

Historical Society of Pennsylvania



The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's digital display wall and exhibition cases. Photo by Vincent Fraley, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Dr. Anonymous at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in 1972. Photo by Kay Tobin, courtesy New York Public Library Collections.


Ain Gordon. Photo by Andrew Eccles.


A scene from If She Stood by Ain Gordon. Photo by Nadine M. Patterson.

Obie award-winning playwright Ain Gordon will "embed" himself in the Historical Society's daily functions, in order to reflect on the processes of how history gets documented and preserved. Gordon will also spend his time in residence developing the script of a new play, to be performed at Philadelphia's Painted Bride Art Center, using the organization's extraordinary archives—specifically, its significant collections related to abolition and the Underground Railroad. Together, Gordon and Historical Society staff will explore, via a series of public events with visiting artists and scholars, how historical events are related to contemporary issues in the United States, such as race relations, marriage equality, voter disenfranchisement, and immigration reform.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.