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Lancaster in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Thaddeus S. Henry

Lancaster's Premiere Tonsorial Artist

 
 
Thaddeus S. Henry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ray Gurganus, May 15, 2021
1. Thaddeus S. Henry Marker
Inscription.  The Daily New Era
Lancaster, Monday, May 17, 1897

Thaddeus S. Henry (1815-1897)
"Henry was born in Philadelphia and moved to Lancaster when a lad of ten years. He learned his trade with Benjamin Simmons, and afterwards entered the tonsorial business in his own interests. In the pursuit of this vocation he was eminently successful...."

By 1873 his barber shop occupied the first floor of a three-story brick building at 15 East King Street, highlighted on the map as "Coal Offices" and present site of the Fulton Bank.

Above quote from "Death of an Aged Barber Thaddeus S. Henry's obituary, The Daily New Era, May 17, 1897. Map detail from Sanborn Insurance Map of Lancaster City, 1873.

"His services were sought by the most prominent men of the day, among them President Buchanan and Hon. Thaddeus Stevens." -- "Death of an Aged Barber" Thaddeus S. Henry's obituary, The Daily New Era, May 17, 1897

A Flourishing African-American Business Community

In the years before and after the Civil War, Downtown Lancaster was the location of many small service businesses owned or operated
The sign of the barber... image. Click for full size.
2. The sign of the barber...
In Henry's day, barbers employed elaborate striped poles to identify their businesses. The photo shows another Lancaster barber shop at this time on nearby West King Street, between Prince and Market Street

Photo courtesy, LancasterHistory.org Lancaster, PA
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by African Americans. Many of them were barbers, hairdressers or "tonsorial artists," as Mr. Henry was known. In this city business directory for 1874-75, Mr. Henry and his son Benjamin operate separate shops.

* African-American Barbers
Boyd's Business Directory 1874-75

Boehringer J G, N Queen cor E Chestnut, Lancaster
Gardner, Joseph, 19½ W King,
Gutfleisch Adam, N Queen cor Orange,
Haines Joel L, 7 N Duke,
*Henry Benjamin, Fountain Inn Hotel, 32 S Queen,
*Henry Thaddeus S, 15 E King
Kuhlman John N, 47½ W King,
*Labar Joseph, 45 N Queen,
Liller Christopher, 225 N Queen,
*Martin Theodore, 254 N Queen,
Sunner Philp P, King cor Center Square,
Sunner Conrad, 105 E King
Wolf Frederick, 27½ Penn Square,
Wollige John, 307 N Queen
 
Erected by African-American Historical Society of South Central PA.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 40° 2.286′ N, 76° 18.306′ W. Marker is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on East King Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lancaster PA 17602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this
Prominent Lancastrians image. Click for full size.
3. Prominent Lancastrians
Though these notable men were political rivals, they both chose Thaddeus S. Henry as their regular barber

Left: Republican Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868)—Republican US Congressman, abolitionist, father of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and an Underground Railroad activist.

Right: Democrat James Buchanan (1791-1868) served one term as the fifteenth President of the United States. His home, Wheatland, stands just beyond the western edge of the city.

Stevens image: Courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA

Buchanan Image: Courtes of LancasterHistory.org Lancaster, PA
marker); Vietnam Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); The Revolutionary War (within shouting distance of this marker); Penn Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Soldiers and Sailors Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Center Square (Penn Square) (within shouting distance of this marker); Central Market (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lancaster.
 
Regarding Thaddeus S. Henry. Commemorative marker made possible by a grant from Fulton Bank to the African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania. Based on research by Kathleen Anderson of Lancaster, PA, the great-great granddaughter of Thaddeus S. Henry. Portrait of Mr. Henry by Michael Abel, inspired by a photograph of Thaddeus S. Henry, Jr. (1847-1929), son of the noted barber. Design by Michael Abel and Randolph Harris, archivist, African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania, May 2018. For more information about Thaddeus Henry and African
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American entrepreneurs in nineteenth-century Lancaster, please visit http://LancasterHistory.org/aah-markers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 27, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 16, 2021, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 16, 2021, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot showing the marker in its surroundings. • Can you help?

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Jun. 18, 2021