Eastern State Penitentiary
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An etching of a large prison complex, with seven long prison blocks radiating from the central rotunda building. The entire complex is surrounded by a high stone wall.

Credit: The Library Company of Philadelphia

The Eastern State Penitentiary was begun in 1787 by a group of Philadelphians who wanted to address the overly harsh treatment and unsanitary conditions they had witnessed in other Pennsylvania prisons. They were influenced by the Quaker belief in the inherent goodness of man, and the reforming power of a mind educated by moral principles.

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