Meet the Author


James Smart was born in 1930 in the Harrowgate section of Philadelphia, where his family had lived for a century, originally an 18th century resort village, but in his day a big city industrial area. He has been a journalist, writer and editor in Philadelphia for more than sixty years, the first twenty-five years of his career as a staff member of the old Evening Bulletin. Much of his work related to Philadelphia history and lore. During the American Bicentennial period of the Seventies, he produced a heavily-researched award-winning series of daily articles describing life in Philadelphia day-by-day during the American Revolution. In 2001, his book “Historic Philadelphia: An Illustrated History” was published. He lives in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.


Both of Smart's grandfathers were fourteen years old in 1876, one working in a textile mill, the other as a teamster. Fascinated by the different world his Philadelphia ancestors knew, he studied the year of the United States Centennial. It was a time when the steam engine was the source of power and the telegraph the newest form of communication, horses pulled transportation, and newspapers, magazines and books were the only media. Gas lights, coal furnaces and outhouses were the norm. In that year, Philadelphia mounted the Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park, a vast world’s fair that introduced millions of visitors to new technology, and to photo I.D.s, one way turnstiles and valet carriage parking.


Reading newspapers, magazines and books published in that era, and researching its people, events and everyday activities, Smart reconstructed Philadelphia life of the period as seen by a journalist. The result is Adonijah Hill’s Journal.




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