The Perennial Philadelphians
The Anatomy of an American Aristocracy
Nathaniel Burt. Foreword by Roger W. Moss
The Perennial Philadelphians tells the story of the city's inherited aristocracy—of Wanamakers and Drexels, of Biddles and Cadwaladers. Drawing on history, genealogy, politics, economics, the fine arts, private diaries, and the impressions and anecdotes of myriad living witnesses, Nathaniel Burt paints a fascinating portrait of Old Philadelphians. He traces the succession of a dynasty of doctors or lawyers, explores the country club scene, and takes us to regattas on the Schuylkill, fox hunts in Radnor, and horse shows in Devon.
First published in 1963, this classic text has lost none of its timeliness. An adept social commentator, Burt cuts aside the centuries-old protective coloration in which Old Philadelphians have wrapped themselves, and reveals who these people are and how they manage to perpetuate themselves from generation to generation.
Nathaniel Burt taught music at Princeton University and Westminster Choir College. A composer and author, he now divides his time between Princeton and Wyoming. Roger W. Moss is Executive Director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and teaches in the Historic Preservation Program of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books, including Historic Houses of Philadelphia: A Tour of the Region's Museum Homes and Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia, both also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.