March 11, 2010

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Author to speak at CHHS annual meeting

Thomas H. Keels, co-author of one of the most popular books on Chestnut Hill, will be the guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 11, at Chestnut Hill Academy, West Willow Grove and Cherokee avenues.

Mr. Keels is the co-author, with Elizabeth Farmer Jarvis, of “Chestnut Hill,” published by Arcadia Publishing. This paperback contains interesting stories and stunning photographs of Chestnut Hill throughout its colorful 300+ years history.

Keels recently published, “Wicked Philadelphia: Sin in the City of Brotherly Love,” a rollicking history of Philadelphia’s most scintillating scandals and corrupt characters. The book, which includes tales of grave robbers in South Philadelphia and harlots in Franklin Square, reveals the shocking underbelly of the city.

In addition to Keels’ presentation, the annual meeting includes the nomination of new directors as well as re-election of existing board members. Lisa Sullivan Mancuso, John (Jack) Charles McMeekin, and Pam Rosser Thistle are the society’s nominees this year.

A realtor with Prudential, Fox & Roach, Thistle is a well-known community volunteer who has been involved in numerous activities sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Community Association, Center City Residents’ Association, Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, Physick House and Trinity Center for Urban Life.

When Lisa Sullivan Mancuso returned to Chestnut Hill in 2002 she engaged in a historic renovation of her historical 19th-century home. Though currently a nurse practitioner, she has an extensive background in finance and was previously licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission before switching careers. Lisa hopes to work with the CHHS to develop family-friendly programming.

After a long career in healthcare including multiple roles as CEO of hospital systems, nominee Jack McMeekin is a consultant for the insurance and health research industries.

Some of his numerous board affiliations include Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson National Advisory Board, Ralston Center and Philadelphia International Medicine.

Bob Bacino, George Bryant, Patricia Marian Cove, C. Nancy Evans, Cecile Mihalich, Frank Niepold and Randy Williams are current board members who are up for re-election for an additional three-year term. The officer slate includes Frank Niepold, president; Kim Yetter, treasurer; Carolyn Adams, secretary; Karren DeSeve, vice president, and Bob Bacino, vice president.

Although only current members of the society are eligible to vote on board nominees, all members of the community are welcome at the annual meeting. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the fascinating stories of both Philadelphia’s and Chestnut Hill’s history through the lens of Thomas Keels.

Historical society members enjoy free access to the archives, 10 percent discounts on books and maps, free and discounted program admission as well as supporting preservation efforts throughout the community. For benefits of membership and to learn more about the historical society, visit

Light refreshments will be served after the lecture. This event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is appreciated, but not required. Contact Audrey Simpson at the historical society at 215-247-0417, ext. 103, or

Paul M. Riley is a freelance journalist and a board member of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.


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