Edward A. Mauger, 78, of Philadelphia, a former university administrator who assigned himself the task of ensuring that the city’s tour guides imparted historically correct information to visitors, died Wednesday, April 1, at his home of metastatic colon cancer.
In 2008, Mr. Mauger was horrified to learn that the guides — especially the carriage drivers around Independence National Historical Park — were dispensing inaccurate colonial history.
“Consider the neighborhood,” Mr. Mauger later told The Inquirer. “Philly guides lead people around an eight-block radius where Benjamin Franklin laid the foundations for an informed citizenry, Thomas Jefferson proclaimed its ideals, and George Washington and John Adams proved it could actually work.”
A band of the guides vowed to fix the situation by creating a group. Mr. Mauger was ultimately asked to chair the monthly gatherings, and in 2009 was elected the first president of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.
Since then, the nonprofit’s membership has grown to 180 guides, Mr. Mauger wrote in notes about his life. He designed and continued to conduct the city’s training and certification program until late last year.
More than 200 Philadelphia guides are now certified. Mr. Mauger also developed a special Master Guides Program to encourage veteran guides to deepen their knowledge of city history.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., he first chose a religious calling but then left a Catholic seminary in 1964 at age 23. From 1965 to 1967, he was the student coordinator at the Newman Center of what is now the University at Buffalo. He earned a master’s degree in religion from Temple University in 1968.
That same year, he joined the Rutgers-Camden staff as assistant to the dean, then became director of the summer session and, finally, associate dean. After retiring from the university at age 51, he ran his own tour company, Philadelphia on Foot, from 1994 to 2019, and authored four books on the historical riches of Philadelphia and Atlantic City.
In February 2019, he spearheaded the Avenue of the Founders project, in which City Council voted for two Philadelphia honorary street names.
Market Street from Front to Eighth Streets was designated the Avenue of Our Founders, for the four Founding Fathers who lived there — Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and Adams.
Sixth Street from Race to Lombard Streets became the Avenue of Freedom, for its history of African American leadership in early America. Sites along the street reflect the lives of Ona Judge, Octavius V. Catto, and Bishop Richard Allen.
Mr. Mauger also created the Great Tour of Philadelphia, which debuted in 2018 and extended from the Schuylkill to the Delaware River, or “Vine Street to Pine, Rain or Shine.”
“We wanted to have fun with this," Mr. Mauger said.
He also was often chosen to create specialized tours for VIP visits to the city. One was for Pope Francis in 2015.
Mr. Mauger was previously married to Kathleen Maugeri. They divorced, she survives. His second wife was Marilyn Lee, who also survives. In 2000, he married Julianne Baird.
Besides his wife, he is survived by sons Christopher and David; stepdaughter Jessica Stewart; stepson Luke Peyton; two grandchildren; a sister; and two brothers.
Burial will be in Laurel Hill Cemetery. A memorial celebration of his life will be held later, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.