As I wrote yesterday, I very much enjoyed visiting the historic mansions of Philadelphia for their holiday tour, including their Flavors of the Season.  You can read about the first four mansions in my post A Very Philly Christmas: Flavors of the Season.

Our last stop was Laurel Hill mansion where we met a special person.

Laurel Hill

This Georgian-style mansion overlooks the Schuylkill River and was originally build in 1767 by Rebecca Rawle.  Her second husband was a British Loyalist during the revolutionary period.  So the house was seized during the war.  She eventually got the house back and it stayed in the family until 1869 when the city of Philadelphia bought it.

The holiday decorations were festive.

Meeting Alma Jacobs

As we went to the second to last room, a noticeably charismatic and classy woman was sitting in a chair.  One of the docents told us who she was and a bit about her past and needless to say I wanted to talk to her.

Alma Jacobs
Alma Jacobs – every bit as classy as she looks.

Alma Jacobs has been an advocate for so many things and has broken barriers.  She was the first woman Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, a cabinet-level position.  She chaired the Pennsylvania Commission on Women. She was appointed by President George Bush as a Regional Director of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  She founded the organization that preserved and takes care of the Laurel Hill mansion.

But what I was most interested in was her career at Bell Telephone.  Before this phone company was forced to divest, Bell Telephone was a corporate giant in the United States with a reputation of having the best and brightest.  She was the very first woman at this huge corporation to rise to levels and positions not previously held by females.  I think she said she the first woman Vice President at Bell Telephone (in marketing) which certainly could not have been a small feat.

She is living history and so very interesting to talk to. She remains an advocate for seniors, for education, for preservation, and for equal rights.

What a way to end a wonderful Philadelphia holiday event!

Pray for peace people everywhere and be good to each other.