Henry George Birthplace
Henry George was an American philosopher, journalist and political economist who lived from 1839 to 1897. He lived in this house from his birth until 1849. The home is located in the Washington Square West neighborhood of Philadelphia and was built in 1801. It is a three-story brick city rowhouse that is in the late Federal style of architecture. As is typical with Philadelphia rowhouses, it has a “front” and a “back” building. It also has a closed-in stairhall area between the buildings known as a “piazza.”
Henry George was born the second of ten children to Richard S.H. George and Catharine Pratt Vallance. His father was a devout Episcopalian and published religious texts. George was sent to the Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia but rebelled at this religious training and left before graduating. His father then hired a tutor, supplementing with lectures at the Franklin Institute and a great deal of reading.
When he was 15, his formal education had ended and he went to sea as a foremast boy in 1855 where he was on a ship bound for Calcutta and Melbourne. By 1858, he was on the West coast and he briefly thought about joining the gold prospectors but, instead, began to work as a typesetter for the San Francisco Times in San Francisco. He eventually rose to become the paper’s managing editor by 1867.
In California, Henry George married Anna Corsina Fox, a young woman from Sydney, Australia. They became parents to Henry George, Jr., the future U.S. Representative from New York and Richard F. George, who later became a well known sculptor. Through his daughter, Anna Angela George, he was grandfather to both Agnes de Mille, dancer and choreographer, and Peggy George (born Margaret George de Mille), who went on to become an actress.