Old Philadelphians, also called Proper Philadelphians, or Perennial Philadelphians are the First Families of Philadelphia, that class of Pennsylvanians who claim hereditary and cultural descent mainly from England, Wales and Germany, who founded the city of Philadelphia and settled Pennsylvania. They are considered part of the historic core of the East Coast establishment, along with other wealthy families of Boston, New York City, Virginia and Charleston. These families were influential in the development and leadership of arts, culture, science, medicine, law, politics, industry and trade in the United States.
In 1963, Nathaniel Burt, a chronicler of Old Philadelphia, wrote that of Philadelphia's most notable early figures were listed in "the ancient rhyme, rather out-of-date now, called the Philadelphia Rosary," which goes:
- Morris, Norris, Rush and Chew,
- Drinker, Dallas, Coxe and Pugh,
- Wharton, Pepper, Pennypacker,
- Willing, Shippen and Markoe.
Burt's full list of prominent families (with those in the poem in italics):
Members of these families are generally known for being fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and well educated. These families often have deeply established traditions in the Quaker and Episcopal faiths. Many Old Philadelphia families intermarried and their descendants summer in Northeast Harbor, Desert Island, Maine. Many of these families trace their ancestries back to the original founders of Philadelphia while others entered into aristocracy during the nineteenth century with their profits from commerce and trade or by marrying into established Old Philadelphia families like the Cadwaladers and Biddles.
Clubs and societies
- Acorn Club
- Athenaeum of Philadelphia
- Bachelors Barge Club
- Colonial Society of Pennsylvania
- Dancing Assemblies of Philadelphia
- First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry
- Germantown Cricket Club
- Gulph Mills Golf Club
- Merion Cricket Club
- Orpheus Club
- Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia
- Penllyn Club
- Philadelphia Charity Ball
- The Philadelphia Club
- Philadelphia Corinthian Yacht Club
- Philadelphia Cricket Club
- Pickering Hunt
- The Rabbit
- Racquet Club of Philadelphia
- Radnor Hunt Club
- Rittenhouse Club
- Schuylkill Fishing Company
- Society of Colonial Wars
- Sons of the Revolution
- Society of the Sons of St. George of Philadelphia
- Undine Barge Club
- University Barge Club
- Welcome Society of Pennsylvania
- Wistar Parties
- See generally, Baltzell, Nalle , "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" and "Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class."
- See generally, Burt.
- Pronounced "MarKOO." Burt, p. 44.
- Burt, p. 70-77.
- Burt, p. 269.
- Burt, p. 19.
- Burt, p. 300.
- Burt, p. 141-51.
- Burt, p. 95.
- Burt, p. 274-77.
- Burt, p. 305.
- Burt, p. 301-08.
- "The Perennial Philadelphians: The Anatomy of an American Aristocracy" (1999)
- Baltzell, "The Protestant Establishment Revisited" p. 104.
- Burt, p. 301.
- Burt, p. 261-65.
- Burt, p. 268.
- Burt, p. 285-95.
- Burt, p. 266-68.
- Burt, p. 297-98.
- Baltzell, "The Protestant Establishment Revisited" p. 102.
- E. Digby Baltzell, Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class, Free Press, 1958 (reprinted 2004)
- E. Digby Baltzell, The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy & Caste in America, Random House, 1964.
- E. Digby Baltzell, The Protestant Establishment Revisited, Transaction Publishers, 1991 (reprinted 2001)
- E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, Beacon Press, 1979 (reprinted 2004)
- Nathaniel Burt, The Perennial Philadelphians: The Anatomy of an American Aristocracy, Little, Brown and Company, 1963 (reprinted 1999)