💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

The 2016 DNC won’t be Philadelphia’s first. The city hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1936 and 1948 at Convention Hall near UPenn (now the site of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine). Billy Penn dug up a few old pictures to show what it was like back in 1936, when the Democrats nominated Franklin Roosevelt for the second of four times. Back then, these nominations at conventions were often contested and, as you’ll see below, fistfights could even break out. Photos are from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin via Temple University Libraries.


Senator Joe Guffey, Attorney General Charles Margiotti, Secretary of Internal Affairs Thomas Logue and local Democratic leaders John Kelly and Matthew Closkey walk up Broad Street toward the convention.

DNC1936_Delegate Walk

Philadelphia donated $200K to the Democratic National Convention to sweeten the pot. That’s the equivalent of $3.4 million today.


Al Smith supporters get pissed and start a fight. Smith didn’t get the nomination. FDR did.


About 200 local college students and debutantes show off their dresses for the Convention.


Guys, they had a real Democratic donkey! And he’s trying to eat paper at the information desk.


Some dude rode this Conestoga wagon from Reading to Manayunk so he could see the Convention.


Not everyone gets excited by the DNC. Man falls asleep during Senator Joseph Robinson’s speech.


Chestnut Street gets decorated for the Convention.


Men make fun of Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Farley by dressing up as clowns.


Texas senators Earle Mayfield and Thomas Pollard eat hot dogs with local woman Beatrice Zippel.


FDR after he gets the nomination.


Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...