Editor’s Letter

In Pennsylvania Heritage, we often run stories related to current anniversaries. Anniversaries give us the opportunity to focus on moments that have remained significant from our shared past — in our case as a community of Pennsylvanians — to gain a better perspective on what came before us and how the achievements, challenges and even misfortunes of history can instruct us in the present. Three...
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Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil?

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly cackle. Clad in a rumpled fur overcoat, the figure carried an old gunnysack in one hand and a bundle of...
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Hunter Liggett, World War I General from Reading

Hunter Liggett (1857–1935), born and raised in Reading, Berks County, was a senior officer in the U.S. Army during World War I. When America entered the war, he was given command of the 41st Division, which arrived in France in late 1917 as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. He then commanded I Corps and later the First Army. Liggett had graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West...
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Worthy of Preservation? Considering the Future of Architecture in Historic Preservation

The roots of historic preservation run deep in this country, especially in Pennsylvania. Taking hold in the 19th century as a response to unchecked modern development, the field has grown into a multidisciplinary profession, but what galvanizes concerned citizens to oppose the demolition of historic properties for new construction remains much the same today as two centuries ago. After the U.S....
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John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews by James Plath

John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews edited by James Plath Lehigh University Press, 294 pp., cloth $85 Born in Reading, Berks County, and raised in nearby Shillington and Plowville, author John Updike, like the main character Harry Angstrom in his Rabbit series of novels, often tried to escape Pennsylvania in his literary work, but he always seemed to come back home. This book, with its...
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Powwowing: Ritual Healing in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

It was just after dark when the powwow doctor arrived at the elderly woman’s home in Lebanon County. The woman had been suffering from swelling in her legs that made walking difficult. Regular medical treatment had proven to be unsuccessful, so after enduring several months of painful discomfort, she called a powwower on the advice of a friend. Tonight would be the third successive...
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2016 Trails

In 2015 the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton, Potter County, officially opened its expanded visitor center to the public. The museum also debuted Challenges and Choices in Pennsylvania’s Forests, an artifact-rich exhibit exploring the history of the lumber industry, the rise of the conservation movement and professional forestry, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and current best practices...
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Baking Pennsylvania Dutch Style

Regional American cuisine is fast becoming the hottest trend on the food scene today, and while we still hear a great deal about Cajun or the Southwest, one of the richest areas for culinary diversity is Pennsylvania. The Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism, a nonprofit that has taken the lead in exploring the foods of our state, has identified five distinct culinary...
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Shop Pomeroy’s First by Michael J. Lisicky

Shop Pomeroy’s First by Michael J. Lisicky History Press, 160 pp, paper, $19.99 Entrepreneur George Pomeroy (1853-1925) and two partners opened their first department store in Reading, Berks County, in 1876, beginning a retailing enterprise that lasted more than 100 years. Pomeroy’s stores were not flashy, not exclusive, but always offered medium-priced goods for the average family. Until 1990...
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Updike by Adam Begley

Updike by Adam Begley HarperCollins, 558 pp., cloth $29.95 “No, no, no, no, no, to paraphrase King Lear,” John Updike told me 12 years ago when I suggested he consider authorizing a biographer. “Please don’t ruin the rest of my life with any talk of a biography, that living death.” Updike’s opposition to literary biography was so fierce it’s no surprise his widow, Martha Updike, refused to...
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