Author Mark E. Dixon will entertain the audience with stories from his book, ‘Hidden History of the Main Line’, a collection of articles from Main Line Today which explores the region’s offbeat and oft-forgotten history. Beyond the grand facades and trappings of the Main Line cream-and-crystal crowd are hidden tales and scintillating stories. With a keen eye and a touch of humor, Dixon delves into the Welsh origins of nearly unpronounceable towns and the journey of the Sound of Music’s Trapp family to Merion. From anecdotes of the social who divorced her husband when had the gall to survive the sinking of the Titanic to the Wayne native who turned from the convent to a career as an internationally renowned opera star, Dixon brings to light the lost pages of Main Line history.
Mark E. Dixon has lived in the Delaware Valley since 1987. Though not himself a native, he grew up hearing about “the beautiful city of Philadelphia” from his mother, who moved here in 1945 to do social work. And the roots go deeper: Dixon’s mother chose Philadelphia based on stories told by her grandmother. In 1886, Dixon’s great grandmother, a descendant of some of the region’s earliest settlers—was a shop girl at Wanamaker’s Grand Court, opposite city hall in Philadelphia. And there, though it was surely against John Wanamaker’s rules, great-grandmother let herself be romanced by – and later married – a Midwestern Quaker who was in town on business but needing a pair of gloves. Those tales provided a window into the area’s history.
The public relations job that drew Dixon to the Delaware Valley vanished in a spectacular corporate bankruptcy three years later. Eventually, he returned to work as a writer – this time, freelance – building on earlier experience as a reporter for newspapers and trade publications. The stories in this book are columns that he began writing for Main Line Today magazine in 2003. Dixon and his family live in Wayne. Books available for purchase and signing following the lecture.