Currents

Xanthus Smith It is Sunday, March 9, 1862. Smoke hangs thick in the air. The water is littered with debris. The air even tastes bitter. Cannon roar. Cries of men pierce the din. Ironclad titans, the vessels Monitor and the Merrimac, clash in one of the fiercest confrontations of the Civil War. This is the Battle of Hampton Roads. Today, museum-goers are able to revis­it the Battle of Hampton...
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Currents

Kingdoms Come Edward Hicks (1780-1849), one of the best known of America’s folk painters, was a native and Lifelong resident of Bucks County, and a devoted Quaker preacher and missionary. His images of The Peaceable Kingdom, inspired by the Book of Isaiah’s prophetic vision of a peaceful world in which “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie with the...
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Lost and Found

Lost In 1845, less than five years after entering politics, William Bigler (1814-1880) built a handsome Italianate-style residence in Clearfield. Before settling in the Clearfield County seat, he apprenticed with his brother John at The Centre De­mocrat, published in Bellefonte, Centre County. In Clearfield, he amassed a fortune in the lumber business. He served in the state senate from 1841 to...
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Tin Toy Fire Pumper at State Museum of Pennsylvania

The earliest known manufactured American toy, a tin fire pumper, circa 1840, attributed to Francis, Field and Francis, of Philadelphia, was recently acquired by The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Historians believe the company, also known as the Philadelphia Tin Toy Manufactory, was the first toy manufacturer of record in the United States. Francis, Field and Francis made toy...
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Bookshelf

Hope Abandoned: Eastern State Penitentiary By Mark Perrott Pennsylvania Prison Society and Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 1999 (105 pages, cloth, $28.00) The images by Pittsburgh photographer Mark Perrott of Philadelphia’s “modern ruin,” Eastern State Penitentiary, are haunting in their portrayal of a medieval-looking fortress that is falling into grave disrepair....
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Currents

Both Sides Now A decade in the making, Harrisburg’s newly opened National Civil War Museum boasts nearly thirty thousand square feet of exhibition space. Situated high atop a knoll in a city park, with a commanding view of the capital city below, the museum – described by the re­gion’s press as “a world-class museum for a world-class collection” – is the first...
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Letters to the Editor

A Doc in the House Every Pennsylvania resident and visitor is indebted to “Doc” Goddard for his foresight and determination [see “Maurice K. Goddard, The Commonwealth’s Conservation Czar” by Ernest Morrison, Fall 2002]. No matter where you travel in this beautiful state, what you don’t see – polluted streams and rivers, desecrated scenic areas, and...
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Tom Mix (1880-1940)

Even before Hollywood producers glamorized the silver screen image of the American cowboy, huge audiences were mesmerized by touring cowboy shows, the most popular of which was William F. (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody (1846-1917) and his Wild West Show, which traveled the country for more than thirty years, from 1883 to 1916. With authentic Native Americans, skilled riders, sharpshooters,...
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CCC Camp Building at Pennsylvania Lumber Museum

As part of his New Deal, an ambitious agenda of relief initiatives to revive the nation’s economy during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on March 21, 1933. The CCC gave work to young men from unemployed families and became one of the New Deal’s most popular programs. In Pennsylvania alone, the CCC enrolled nearly two hundred...
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Building a Brand for Pennsylvania Products

Over the centuries most Pennsylvanians have traded their team of horses for cars, their work boots for street shoes, and their plows for computers. yet we still hanker for a taste of our rural roots. While many of us may be weekend gardeners, farmers are lifetime gardeners, producing a quality, diverse food supply for the world year-round. What better way to support local farmers than by...
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