The golden "Centennial" impressed on the cover certainly suggests the contents of Hannah Ann Zell's scrapbook. Yet this compilation not only documents the 1876 exhibition, but also its legacy. Specifically, approximately half of Zell's collection of clippings, ephemera and occasional correspondence pertains to the progress of the Pennsylvania Museum's School of Industrial Art and to the fund-raising activities hosted by the Associate Committee of Women on behalf of the school. The Centennial's art exhibition was the predecessor to the museum, which would later operate separately from the school and become the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Associate Committee evolved from the Women's Centennial Executive Committee.
Clippings about the school describe the programs offered, its growing enrollment, its influence on the establishment of similar institutions, and praises it received from European experts. The press also delighted in giving detailed accounts of the teas, garden parties, and costumed galas given by the Associate Committee of Women. These events raised much of the funds necessary to purchase new buildings for the growing school at various sites in center city Philadelphia. There are also a number of articles recognizing the dedication of the committee's president, Mrs. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, who was a great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin.
Some of the clippings about the Centennial make evident that the Associate Committee of Women drew from their fund-raising experiences for the 1876 event. Ephemera from the Centennial is also included, such as the program for the May 10th opening ceremony, reception invitations, and a pocket-size brochure describing the mission of the Women's Centennial Committee. Miss Zell also preserved a sampling of the "first spade full," which according to the notations, was taken from the Women's Pavilion ground breaking in 1875.
A few articles pertain to Miss Zell's other civic activities, which included the Site and Relic Society of Germantown and the Germantown Library and Historical Association. Hannah and her sister Jane founded the latter. Clippings about various prominent individuals and Chicago's1893 Columbian Exposition are included, as well as a few Centennial anniversary articles.
Because of its broken spine, the scrapbook is dismantled. It is doubtful that the pages now placed in folders are in original order. It is obvious, however, that Ms. Zell did not compile its contents in chronological order as clippings of the Centennial are pasted next to clippings of later years. Most of the clippings lack publication titles and dates. Many are incomplete because fragments have been lost due to paper brittleness.