Wyck: Witness to a Way of Life

Relatively few in Great Britain might think much about a house occupied by one family for nine generations, yet for many in the United States several generations seems an eternity. Wyck, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, is a rare example; it is a residence inhabited continuously by a single family for nearly three centuries, from 1689 until 1973. Moreover, it’s furnished with...
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Sowing a Wealth Uncommon

When Pennsylvania’s thirty-seven-year-old founder William Penn (1644-1718) drew plans for Philadelphia, he specified a central park of ten acres and four symmetrically placed squares of eight acres each “for the comfort and recreation of all forever.” In his September 30, 1681, instructions to his commissioners, he also mandated private space. “Let every House be placed,...
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Executive Director’s Message

Moving to Pennsylvania to become, in early February 2004, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) seems as much like a homecoming for me as it is a new beginning. Pennsylvania is a place where my family has deep roots among German farmers and Scots-Irish iron-workers. It is the place where I experienced history firsthand as a student at Bryn Mawr College...
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Current and Coming

Jimmy Stewart Upon his death at the age of eighty-­nine, James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997) – Jimmy Stewart to adoring fans throughout the world – was described by Washington Post staff writer Bart Barnes as “a motion picture Olympian with an all-American image and a universal appeal whose roles as a movie actor helped define a national culture.” During his career, he...
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Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School Celebrates 100 Years of Magic

One hundred years ago, in 1908, two community-minded, socially-conscious single young women, Philadelphians Jeanette Selig (1886–1965) and Blanche Wolf (1886–1983), unwittingly created a school that’s become recognized as the largest community arts school in the United States, serving more than fifteen thousand students. In 1982, as the Settlement Music School observed its seventy-fifth...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Society Newsletter

Topics in the Winter 2009 Newsletter: New Deal Post Office Murals Exhibit Opening Signature Series Lecture: The Atom and American Life Calendar for January – March 2009 Dr. G. Terry Madonna: Pennsylvanians and Presidential Elections New Deal Post Office Murals Tour Welcome New PHS Members Environmental Heritage Summit Holiday Marketplace 2008 Annual Appeal 2008-2009  ...
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A Backward Glance at Thirty-Five Years Young

Over the past thirty-five years, Pennsylvania Heritage has brought to readers hundreds of stories about the famous and the not-so-famous, of historic preservation struggles won and lost, and interviews with individuals who either shaped history or interpret it. Our thirty-fifth anniversary, which we’re observing with this edition, gives us a moment to pause and reflect on where we’ve been, where...
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Jimmy Stewart’s Wonderful Life Began in Pennsylvania

It’s Christmas Eve 1945 in the small town of Bedford Falls. George Bailey, president of the Bailey Building and Loan Association, stands in despair at the edge of a bridge wishing he had never been born. An unscrupulous competitor, Henry F. Potter, has threatened to shut down the financial institution and see Bailey thrown into prison on the pretense of stealing the townspeople’s money. In fact,...
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