It's time for George Lippard to finally get his due. For too long, Lippard has been a footnote in American literary history. So, I am proud to announce a new organization dedicated to Philadelphia's 19th Century bad-boy novelist.
The George Lippard Literary Society
Our mission will be to popularize one of America's most important literary figures, as well as the literary movement in which he prospered, Philadelphia Gothic. Lippard was a significant novelist, labor organizer, publisher and popular historian. His novel The Quaker City or the Monks of Monk Hallwas one of the biggest-selling novels of the 19th century and paved the way for the sensationalist muckraker novels to follow. Lippard also made his mark as a crusader for the rights of workers, women and minority groups, founding one of the first labor unions in the country. As well as writing novels, Lippard also made major contributions to the mythology of America in his popular histories (including the myth of the Liberty Bell ringing out on July 4th).
As an organization, we'll meet several times a year to discuss Lippard's life and works and to share research on other figures of the Philadelphia Gothic literary movement, including its founder, Charles Brockden Brown, its most famous practitioner, Edgar Allan Poe, and lesser known authors like Robert Montgomery Bird and Frank Webb.
The GLS will also organize a mini-conference once a year.
I'm now accepting all queries for information and membership. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep your eye on the Quaker City blog for more information to follow in the next few days.
For more info on George Lippard, see my piece from the Philadelphia City Paper, "Monks, Devils and Quakers," or my George Lippard pages at the old Omnigatherum site. Also check out the Philadelphia Library Company's Philadelphia Gothic online exhibit, including podcasts from Christopher Looby and myself (click here and scroll down for the podcasts).
For further reading, two newly published books feature many aspects of the time period: