(left) Fire hat made by David Bustill Bowser, a Philadelphia philanthropist and civil rights activist
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
(right) Bust of abolitionist and reformer Lucretia Mott by Adelaide Johnson
Gift of Elizabeth Johnson Cristal

Expansion and Reform

How did philanthropy change in the United States during the era of expansion and reform?

Why was American philanthropy an important aspect of social reform during this time period?

Bust of abolitionist and reformer Lucretia Mott & Fire hat made by David Bustill Bowser

5 objects that James Smithson might be surprised to find in the institution he founded – until he learned their philanthropy stories

A white background with a black electric guitar.

Abolitionist and Reformer Lucretia Mott

A statue of Lucretia Mott

Making money and doing good: The story of an African American power couple from the 1800s

An image of a violet fraternal collar--opulently decorated with golden embroidery and a hand painted eye

Containers reveal Americans thinking outside the box about philanthropy

Two young girls look through the glass of a museum display to gaze at a blue bucket among other objects like a pair of boots or a bust of a man.

I say "Always Ready." You say "Semper Paratus."

An illustration showing a cluster of figures. Neptune rides some sort of chariot pulled by four horse, with sea nymphs surrounding him and a cupid flying in the air. The scene is framed by pink ribbons saying "Neptune Hose Co.  Instituted August 6, 1805 and banners reading "To save out fellows we hazard ourselves"

The bonds of benevolence and focused charitable organizations

Color print with image of a group of many men posing in a room with older gentlemen in middle along with a few women in six or seven children. The room has high ceilings and four windows along with a portrait. They are all wearing sashes and aprons that match.

A society for everything: Remaking America's charitable landscape during the Second Great Awakening

Color illustration showing many tall, white tents, a stage with a speaker, an audience of men and women. In the left side of the image, a woman tends a kettle on a fire.

Meet Jenny Lind, one of America's first female celebrities

Black and white illustration of woman with her hair in an up-do with flowers. Dress is off-the-shoulder style, short sleeved. Her hands are place peacefully one and top of the other.