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Crucible of Good Intentions: The Eastern State Penitentiary at Fairmount

July 16–September 11, 1994

Eastern State Penitentiary, begun in 1821, is one of the most important and innovative structures built in Philadelphia during the dynamic period of city planning and faith in large scale public works that followed the War of 1812. Architect John Haviland's design for the Eastern State Penitentiary embodied new, more humane, concepts of penal reform, and his distinctive star-shaped plan and massive rusticated walls were imitated around the world. This exhibition was organized by the Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force, under the direction of Kenneth Finkel, Curator of Prints at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The exhibition will include 80 objects, including prints, drawings, paintings, watercolors, photographs, maps and models and will be accompanied by a book about Eastern State Penitentiary and its influence written by Norman Johnston, a leading historian of penology and prisons and Professor of Sociology and Chair, Sociology and Anthropology Department, Beaver College and by Kenneth Finkel and Jeffrey Cohen, an architectural historian.

Main Building


The Pew Charitable Trusts


Kenneth Finkel

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