A Journal ~ September 1909 - December 1911

Philadelphia Suburban Life
is a journal that was published in Philadelphia at the beginning of the twentieth century.  The publication was a response to the explosion of development in the suburbs, particularly catering to the interests of the affluent clientele that chose the area to build their “country estate.”  The articles, the photographs, and the advertisements in this intriguing source offer a glimpse at the privileged way of life that characterized the suburban experience.  Also included are several classified advertisements from the Philadelphia Inquirer of the same years, in order to provide a contrast to those ads geared towards the general public, and those featured in this publication.

Philadelphia Suburban Life became American Suburbs in March 1910, and its focus changed to suburban living nationwide.  The Free Library of Philadelphia has a collection of the issues from September 1909 to December 1911.   Though limited, this specialized periodical provides an captivating look at the richness of suburban life, and the underlying cultural milieu that led to their formation. 

Featured Suburbs:

click on a surburb to see maps from 1908 and 1913 (careful, they are PDFs)

Bala Cynwyd
Bryn Mawr
Elkins Park
St. David's
Villa Nova

** See Growth of Suburbs **

Featured Architects & Developers:

click on a name to see how they were involved in suburban development

(careful, some will lead to Philadelphia Architects & Buildings website at the Atheneum of Philadelphia)

D. Knickerbocker Boyd
J. Linden Heacock and Oscar Hokanson
Mellor and Meigs
Peabody and Stearns
Horace Trumbauer
Lower Merion Realty Company
Lawrence Visscher Boyd
Wendell & Treat
H.S. Stillwagon

Critical Essay:

"Houses from the Owner's Point of View"
  Charles Francis Osborne, Architecture Department, University of Pennsylvania


Thank you to the Free Library of Philadelphia & The Lower Merion Historical Society for use of their materials.