Committee Seal

After Strawberry Mansion was sold to the Fairmount Park Commission in 1867, its rich history lay dormant under various new cloaks, including a dining establishment.

It wouldn’t be until 1926 when a group of leading city women, headed by Mrs. J. Willis Martin interceded on its behalf.

The Committee of 1926 was born out of the various women’s groups that served on the Women’s Committee of the Sesquicentennial, and put together the “High Street” exhibit at the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Their “High Street” included reproductions of the homes and businesses of High Street (now Market Street) in Philadelphia, circa 1776. The exhibits were designed to interpret all aspects of colonial life, especially the influence of women, in and outside the home. The High Street exhibit is largely regarded as the most successful part of the entire Sesquicentennial celebration. When the exhibition ended at the close of 1926, the women involved did not wish to disband, and with the help of Mayor Freeland Kendrick, Eli Kirk Price (then Commissioner of Fairmount Park,) and Fiske Kimball (then Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art,) the women took on the responsibility of restoring Historic Strawberry Mansion.

They were given an initial grant of $36,000.00 from Joseph V. Horn, owner of Horn and Hardart Baking Company and later famous for the Automat restaurant.

Each room in the house was conceived of as a museum space and the decorations and artifacts were collected by the various women’s groups who were in charge of specific rooms.

Certain rooms were also designed with a functional purpose in mind.  In these rooms parties, teas, luncheons and weddings were held.

The women of the Committee of 1926 thenceforth dedicated themselves to the preservation of the history and heritage of Strawberry Mansion and do so to this day.