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  • TV Interview on NBC 10


    NBC 10 InterviewI had the opportunity to sit down with NBC 10’s Vai Sikahema to talk about A Philadelphia Story! I was a bit terrified, but after the first few seconds, I think I got over my jitters.

    Vai was super nice and helped relieve some of my anxiety.
    I’m grateful to my friend, producer Tina Stoklosa Tomaszewski, for inviting me onto her show. Click on the photo to check it out!

     

     

  • Book Signing Events!


    I have several book signing events coming up!! Please stop by to say hello!
    May 7 – Barnes & Noble Wilkes-Barre, Arena Hub, 2-4 p.m.
    May 14 – Barnes & Noble Center Valley (at the Promendade shops), 1-3 p.m.
    May 22 – The Den, Peddler’s Village Strawberry Festival, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    May 28 – Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse, Philadelphia, 1-3 p.m.
  • First Review!


    I got my first book review. It’s a small blurb, but it made my day! The Philadelphia Sunday Sun included it in their “Reading on the Go” section. Here’s the link to the original and text below.

    “If you are traveling closer to home this book is a perfect companion. It concentrates on the renowned men and women who established the city and created the Philadelphia that exists today. Ms. Litchman has taken great care to emphasize the city’s diversity and tell stories that are both historically interesting and compel-ling. It is available on Amazon.”

     

  • Philly Fact: Saving the Franklinia from Extinction


    The Bartram family saved the Franklinia from extinction.

    The Bartram family saved the Franklinia from extinction.

    Eons ago, Philadelphia was verdant. Even after William Penn and the first Europeans settled and made Philadelphia their home, nature abounded. So, it’s no surprise that Philadelphia has a great history when it comes to natural history. Enter, the Bartram family.

    John Bartram was born in Darby in 1699 and later bought his own farm along the banks of the Schuylkill River. His son, William, was a well-known explorer and travelled the countryside in search of new seeds and plants to bring back to the farm. William documented his travels in his famous, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Choctaws, commonly known as Travels.

    In 1765, while travelling in Georgia, John and William discovered a beautiful white flowering tree. They brought the seeds back to Philadelphia to propagate. They named the tree after their family friend, Benjamin Franklin.

    The tree became extinct in the wild, but the Franklinia Altamaha tree is still around thanks to the Bartrams. All Franklinia that grow today are direct descendants of the seeds the father and son team found in the wilds of Georgia.

    To read more about the Bartram family and how they helped shape Philadelphia, check out A Philadelphia Story. Pre-order your copy here.

  • Why’s it Called That? Pennsylvania


    William Penn

    A young William Penn

    Everyone in Philly knows that William Penn founded Philadelphia. But the city was only one part of Penn’s expansive property. So, how did our great state come to be known as Pennsylvania? Read on.

    Back in his youth, William Penn had started hanging out with a religious group that was getting a bad rap across the United Kingdom. In 1680, Penn went to the king and asked for a colony in America where Penn and his Religious Society of Friends could live without fear of persecution. The king was actually in debt to Penn’s dad, so the junior Penn’s request for a colony was granted.

    The king gave Penn a modest 45,000 square miles of land, which Penn said he would call New Wales. The king nixed Penn’s choice for a name, and told him to go back to the drawing board. Penn came up with the name Sylvania, which is Latin for “woodsy place.” The king liked Sylvania better than New Wales, but insisted that Penn honor his father by attaching the name “Penn” to “Sylvania.”

    Penn was worried that his friends would think he was vain, and tried unsuccessfully to remove the Penn from the name. Alas, it would forever stick and the Keystone State would be known as Pennsylvania, Penn’s woodsy place.

    Read more about William Penn and Philadelphia in A Philadelphia Story. Click HERE to buy from Amazon.

  • Why’s it Called That? Callowhill


    Hannah Callowhill Penn

    Hannah Callowhill Penn was Pennsylvania’s first female governor.

    With such a rich history, Philadelphia has numerous streets, buildings, and neighborhoods named after famous people. Callowhill is one of those places. In fact, the name Callowhill comes from Pennsylvania’s first and only female Governor, Hannah Callowhill Penn.

    What’s that you say? A female governor in Pennsylvania?! Nonsense.

    Yet, I write the truth. Pennsylvania has had a female governor, and she was married to Pennsylvania’s Founding Father, none other than William Penn.

    Hannah Callowhill Penn was Penn’s second wife. (His first wife died.) The two tied the knot in 1696 and came to Philadelphia shortly thereafter. Penn’s history is detailed more in my forthcoming book, A Philadelphia Story coming out in March, but long story short, Penn took ill and died. Hannah took the helm and managed Pennsylvania from across the pond. She was essentially Pennsylvania’s first female governor.

    In 2014, then governor Tom Corbett had a portrait of Hannah Callowhill Penn commissioned to hang along with the other portraits of state governors. He said the time had come to acknowledge Hannah as Pennsylvania’s first female governor.

    Click HERE if you’d like to pre-order a copy of A Philadelphia Story: Founders and Famous Families from the City of Brotherly Love.

     

  • Almost Here!


    PhiladelphiaStory2In anticipation of the release of my new book, A Philadelphia Story: Founders and Famous Families from the City of Brotherly Love, I’m going to start blogging regularly to give out tidbits of content from the book. Stay tuned for information about “Why’s it Called That?” — entries that will look at well known names around Philadelphia and look at their origin. I’ll also add some fun facts about my beloved city as well as a who’s who of the heavy hitters in Philadelphia history. Click HERE to buy a copy of the book!

  • Philadelphia, A Love Story


    LOVE Sculpture Philadelphia

    Philadelphia’s iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana. Photo by Dave Tavani.

    I just finished my first book. 40, 426 words and a grand total of 139 pages. I spent a year of my life writing on weekends and evenings to meet my deadline. So, this morning when I hit the “send” button, it felt amazing to send my manuscript off into the ether of cyberspace and call it a wrap. Over the next few months, my words will be printed into an actual book. I know there will be edits and changes along the way, but my first book is done. Woo hoo!  (more…)

  • What’s in a Name?


    “The difference between the right word and the almost right word
    is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

    Copperhead or Milk Snake?

    Copperhead or Milk Snake?

    One of the first things I learned about nature writing was the importance of naming things. It’s not enough to call something a flower or a butterfly. Is it a sunflower or a Black-eyed Susan? A Monarch or a Swallowtail? It matters.

    I worked as a naturalist for a few years while I was studying writing, and I really thought it was important to teach kids the names of insects, birds, and plants because I firmly believe that if we can name something, we inherently will care more about it.

    What got me thinking about naming recently was a walk my husband and I took in the woodsy park near our Philadelphia home. I was in the lead when I looked down and saw a snake, one like I had never seen in Philadelphia. I stopped and said calmly, “Snake.”

    My husband responded, “It might be a Copperhead. It looks poisonous.” (more…)