A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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The New Taste in Pennsylvania

Like the nation itself during the so-called “Federal” period, the arts in Pennsylvania reached a crescendo in their development that had an unexpected unity, a strong purpose, and a national style. Despite great varia­tions in the Germanic and English traditions, Pennsylvania emerged from the revolutionary period reasonably cohesive. City and country perspectives, naive and...
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A Patriot Returns to Philadelphia: Restoration of a Thaddeus Kosciuzko Dwelling

He was the first of that group of foreign officers to offer his services in the cause of American liberty, and his labors earned him the reputation as the best military engineer that George Washington had. He was one of the first men of consequence in the colonies to shout for the freedom and education of black slaves, and in a will that was later broken, he left money to free and educate black...
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The Unhappy Tale of Building Philadelphia’s City Hall

Philadelphia’s City Hall is widely regarded as one of the most im­pressive in the world. A great marble wedding cake that fills the square at Broad and Market streets. So big in fact that it was the largest public building in the country until the Pentagon was built in the early 1940s. The building is also admired as something of an outdoor art museum, with decorative stone and bronze...
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Painting for Peer, Patron and the Public

For three centuries, Pennsylvania has en­joyed a rich and di­verse cultural heritage. The elegance of its colonial and federal architecture and furniture in Philadelphia is unrivaled, prompting architect Benjamin Latrobe in 1811 to christen the city “the Athens of the Western World.” During the opening years of the nine­teenth century, Philadelphia attracted artists and artisans from...
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A Pennsylvania Yankee in King George’s Court

They were an odd pair. One was a commoner, a native Pennsylva­nian and son of an innkeeper on a busy road between Chester and Philadel­phia; the other, a king who could trace his royal ancestry through several centuries. In spite of their disparate back­grounds and the tumultuous period during which their countries were pitted against each other, the American colon­ist and the monarch of Great...
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Gettysburg: The Killer Angels Comes to the Screen

Writing about the Civil War in Specimen Days, poet Walt Whitman prophesied that the “real war will never get in the books.” Essentially, he issued a bold challenge to following generations of writers to capture the essence of battle – that cacophony of drama, death, smoke, stench, dauntless battle cries, and soldiers rising – in many cases, vainly – to fight again...
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Letters to the Editor

Wild Side As a regular subscriber, I read with great interest the article by Susan Oyama entitled “A Walk on the Wild Side: Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Creek” in the fall 1993 edition. I was excited to find in this article an account of my ancestor John Wise’s death in 1803! We knew he had drowned in the mill stream, but had no other details. Hildegarde P. Wise...
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Susquehanna’s Painters

Few Pennsylvanians probably realize that Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Doughty, Frederick Edwin Church and Jasper Francis Cropsey, the leading lights of the Hudson River school, the famous nineteenth century landscape tradition, painted the Susquehanna River or its tributaries. The most important works of Cropsey and Doughty – hailed as the luminar­ies of the Hudson River school...
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Bookshelf

J. Horace McFarland: A Thorn for Beauty by Ernest Morrison Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1995 (393 pages, cloth, $19.95) Three-quarters of a century ago, his was a name known throughout the na­tion. To some, he was ordained the “High Priest of the Rose.” To others, he was christened the “Father of the National Park Service.” And to even more, he was...
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