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Hadley's Founding 

Over 100 years ago, Charles C. Hadley created a gift that keeps on giving. In his will, Charles directed that earnings from the Theodore D. & Elizabeth A. Hadley Fund, under the care of Kennett Friends Meeting & the Philadelphia Ethical Society, be used for the civic betterment, social welfare & Education of the people of Kennett Square, PA and the surrounding country or whoever may care to avail themselves of an opportunity to learn and be entertained by a course of lectures and lighter attraction.

Charles was clear that admission to HADLEY event should be FREE. 

Hadley Program Modes

Each year, HADLEY chooses from a variety of modes to fulfill its mission:

  1. presents programs solely under HADLEY’s auspices

  2. presents programs with Kennett area partners

  3. brings Kennett-area residents to regional programs, by giving away free tickets and/or providing transportation/access to high quality programs that meet HADLEY’s core values and aims

  4. sponsors others’ programs, by providing grants to Kennett area nonprofits to pay artists, performers & lecturers.

   Questions about program proposals, ideas, suggestions & comments to

Hadley Program Highlight

  • Progressive values including diversity, inclusion, civil rights & social justice 

  • Arts, culture & history, to broaden horizons, honor creativity & provide context 

  • Environmental health & sustainability

Hadley Past Programs

- For HADLEY's first program on October 23, 1962, Hal Holbrook presented A Night with Mark Twain at Kennett HS 

- Martin Luther King Jr spoke at Unionville High School May 2, 1967 

- Alex Haley, author of Roots, spoke to Hadley audiences about trying to write a book about his family history and culture

HADLEY has presented internationally renowned figures: 

  • Entertainers/Speakers: Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Julius Erving, Linus Pauling, Gloria Steinem 

  • Politicians: Edmund Muskie, William Proxmire, Shirley Chisholm 

  • Authors: John Cardi, Norman Cousins, T.H, White, Art Buchwald, Ogden Nash, Richard Lederer, Christopher Largent, Mark Bowden 

  • Musicians: Marian Anderson, Andres Segovia, Curtis Institute students, Jake Armerding, Low Down Brass Band 



David Lampton, China

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, bees

Donald Johanson, paleoanthropologist

Donald L. Bartlett & James B. Steele, health policies

Douglas Tallamy, gardens & insects

Elliot Engel, literary figures

Eric Raymond, the Internet

Eugene Richardson, Tuskegee Airman

Harry Wu, human rights campaigner

James Farmer, civil rights leader

Jean Kilbourne, advertising and image pioneer

Jerrold Post, terrorism

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, the Negro Baseball League

Linda Ales, photography

Paul Waldau, law and animals

Richard Lederer, author

Scott Weidensaul, migratory birds

Stephen Kress, puffins

Sylvia Earle, oceanographer


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