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George and the Wissahickon

Since I've been able to do some Lippardian research lately (gearing up for my May 10 talk about him at the Philly Poe House), I thoguht it would be fun to start posting here again.  Still not sure when I'll get back to posting chapters from The Quaker City, but in the meantime, I'll share some of my Lippard discoveries here.

My Poe speech at the Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society was especially fun 878004-1522324-thumbnail.jpg
Kelpius, Historical Soc of PA
for me because George Lippard was, along with his friend, Edgar Allan Poe, a devotee of the famous Wissahickon Creek.  While Poe found the area sublimely enchanting, Lippard was more attuned with its mystical history as the home of Johannes Kelpius and his fellow monks who lived in the caves along the creek in the late 17th - early 18th centuries (the painting of Kelpius to the right is reputed to be the first oil painting done in America).  Lippard used the Wissahickon as a setting in several of his works, including the Revolutionary War legend, The Rose of Wissahikon and Paul Ardenheim, the Monk of Wissahikon

While visiting Philadelphia, Mark Twain wrote to his brother: "Geo. Lippard, in his 'Legends of Washington and his Generals,' has rendered the Wissahickon sacred in my eyes."

There are several accounts of Lippard's marriage ceremony to Rose Newman on a rock overlooking the gorge by moonlight.  Some accounts say the bride and groom were dressed in Indian apparel, but I don't know if this is legend or not, although it suits Lippard well, the creator of so many historical legends, to have such a legend spring up about himself.  I've even read the date of the marriage was May 14, 1847, but I'm not sure of the source.  Nevertheless, I'm hoping to make the tour of the Wissahickon creek soon and, with the help of Wissahickon afficianado, Nick Bucci, see some of the sites so sacred to both Poe and Lippard.  Perhaps we can make a group outing of this.  Let me know in the comments here if you're interested in joining me.

Reader Comments (1)

EdK has left a good comment (and some sources) about Lippard's marriage on the Ed & Edgar blog:

April 27, 2008 | Registered CommenterEd Pettit

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