From Wilkes-Barre to the Wild West: George Catlin, Indian Painter

His early exposure to American Indians indelibly impressed northeastern Pennsylvania native George Catlin (1796–1872). His mother Mary “Polly” Sutton Catlin (1770–1844), married in 1789 to Putnam Catlin (1764–1842), formed his earliest impressions of Native Americans. With her mother Sarah Smith Sutton (1747–1834) she was captured and held captive at the age of seven by Iroquois. The day was...
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Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
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Carbon County: Stone Coal in the Switzerland of America

Carbon, the primary component of an­thracite coal, is also a county in eastern Pennsylvania – for the same reason. The value of anthracite to the burgeoning industrial revolution of the mid­-nineteenth century created in 1843 a new county from the northern fringes of the once­-immense Northampton County. Beginning in the nine­teenth century, an entire county of coal was carved and moved to...
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“Your Future Depends on Yourself”: Asa Packer as the Self-Made Man

Nineteenth-century literature abounds with stories of men who rose from humble circumstances to great wealth by virtue of their own diligence, perseverance, and courage. Several of the most famous such works, novels written by Horatio Alger Jr. (1832-1899), became best-sellers because the American public relished his stories about plucky boys achieving their goals against all odds. In his first...
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Letters to the Editor

Loved Lizzie! I just loved your article on Lizzie Stride [“A Champion for All Seasons” by Barbara Gregorich, Summer 1998]! I see Pennsylva­nia Heritage only occasionally (when I return home to visit family in Pennsylva­nia) but each time I do, I’m extremely impressed. The photographs in this article were great. It made one feel – as Walter Cronkite used to say on...
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Letters to the Editor

A Little Math In case no one else noticed, in “Letters to the Editor” appearing in the Winter 1999 edition, letter writer Jack Bitner of Mt. Gretna states that $68,000 in 1880 would be worth three to four million dollars today. The editorial response to Eric G. Blumenthal’s question about Asa Packer’s worth in the same column states it was valued at twenty million dollars...
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Bookshelf

Pennsylvania Architecture: The Historic American Buildings Survey, 1933-1990 By Deborah Stephens Bums and Richard J. Web­ster, with Candace Reed Stem Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2000 (629 pages; cloth, $85.00; paper, $65.00) This hefty volume befits its subject: it is a landmark book devoted to landmark buildings. Copiously illustrated, Pennsylvania Architecture: The Historic...
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Lost and Found

Lost For their country estates, many affluent Americans favored the Italianate style, which became es­pecially popular for suburban mansions by the mid-nineteenth century. Noted Philadelphia architect John Notman (1810-1865) designed Alverthorpe in Abington Township, Montgomery County, for Joshua Francis Fisher. One of the most distinctive features of the mansion, erected in 1850, was its...
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Electric Candelabrum by Gorham and Company

For the first time in ninety years, silver table items belonging to the family of industrialist Asa Packer (1805-1879) have been shown to the public. Stored since 1912 in vaults in the family’s mansion in the Carbon County seat of Jim Thorpe, the silver collection, totaling three hundred and thirty-six pieces made or retailed by leading firms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth...
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Life on Wheels: Camping in Pennsylvania

Does father crave to fish for trout and bass and pike and musky? Take him auto-touring. Does sister want to dip in the surf, or study art, or see the world? Toke her automobile vacationing. Has grand-dad the “hoof and mouth disease” so that he craves the green of far-away courses? Auto-comp him to a dozen golf courses. Does mother sigh for a rest from doily routines? Take her...
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