Explore Philadelphia

A Match Made in Philadelphia

Ralph Archbold, the premier portrayer of Benjamin Franklin, met his match in Linda Wilde, who performs with him as Betsy Ross. The couple were married in royal Philadelphian style—in front of Independence Hall with Mayor Michael Nutter officiating.

How did you get started with your respective “characters?”
Ralph:
I was taking a class in linguistics in Michigan and it was snowed out. I got there and they were holding auditions for summer programs at Greenfield Village [a historic attraction in Deerborn, Mich.], and a man asked me if I would help him audition a couple of ladies who had shown up. And then he later on offered me a job.
Linda: It was the sole reaction from meeting this man [laughs]. I never aspired to be an actress or historical portrayer.

How many people do you think attended your wedding at Independence Hall?
Ralph:
There were estimates of around 8,000 because they had that whole block and most of the next block filled with people. To have Peter Nero play for your wedding in front of Independence Hall! There’s never been wedding [there] and probably will not be another one. It was quite a spectacular thing.

Any favorite romantic places?
Linda:
I love the carriage rides here through Old City. It’s a very romantic thing to do on a warm summer evening.
Ralph: Just walking in the historic district in the evening, seeing the fireflies and seeing Independence Hall lit up is a very romantic setting. But this area, the historic area, is one that no one should miss.

Karen Gross