The Value of Pennsylvania History

George W. Bush won the presidential election of 2000 because the fifty states cast more electoral votes for him, even though more people actually voted for his opponent, Albert A. Gore Jr. The election reminded Americans about a curious institution called the Electoral College, and an equally peculiar system known as federalism in which each state conducts elections according to distinct laws...
read more

Maurice K. Goddard: The Commonwealth’s Conservation Czar

There is a point in crossing the top of the Allegheny Mountains between Pittsburgh and Harris­burg at which a traveler sees, at every turn, only trees. It is one of the most spectacular views on the North American Continent. The scene lacks the frenetic energy of Niagara Falls, or the awe-filling majesty of the Grand Canyon, but this several­-hundred-square-mile panorama of second-growth forest...
read more

Bookshelf

Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth By Randall M. Miller and William Pencak, editors Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002 (688 pages; cloth, $49.95; paper, $24.95) Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth is the first comprehensive history of the Keystone State in thirty years. Nearly a decade in the making, this weighty tome...
read more

Letters to the Editor

Member of the Crew I found the piece about the SS United States quite interesting [see “Lost & Found,” Spring 2003]. I am privileged to have sailed on her as a member of the crew in 1962. In my Coast Guard Mer­chant Seaman’s papers, I was designated an “ordinary seaman.” This voyage was from New York to Newport News, Virginia, and back. The ship went into dry...
read more

Current and Coming

First in the West More than fifteen organizations in western Pennsylvania are collaborating to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with a wide array of events, activities, and programs, such as exhibitions, reenactments, lectures, workshops, living history presentations, and performances. Participants include local and regional governments, educational organizations,...
read more

Lost and Found

Lost Even though she had been altered through the years, the Motor Vessel Niagara, launched in 1897, had been recognized by the mid-1990s as a rare and significant example of a late-nineteenth-century Great Lakes freighter. She first carried pulpwood and, from 1900 to 1925, hauled coal and ore. In 1927, she was converted for dredging. The Erie Sand Steamship Company purchased the Niagara in 1959...
read more

1876 Centennial Craze Sweeps into Philadelphia!

This spring marks the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the International Exhibition of Art, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, better known as the Centennial International Exhibition, staged to mark the one hundredth anniversary of American independence. Opening Day, Wednesday, May 10, 1876, welcome more than one hundred thousand visitors, and by closing day,...
read more

Susquehannocks, Catholics in Seventeenth-Century Pennsylvania

With its seemingly endless vistas of shopping malls, housing developments, technology parks, truck terminals, and warehouses, it’s hard to imagine Pennsylvania’s lower Susquehanna River valley a vast, undisturbed wilderness. Yet, little more than two centuries ago, the region was home to a group of Native Americans generally called the Susquehannocks, but also known as the Minqua, the Andaste,...
read more

Experience Lake Erie as a Seaman!

Standing on Lake Erie’s shoreline on a summer day, your eye catches a glint of sunlight on a tiny speck white far off in the distance. Eventually, sails, masts, and rigging of a magnificent tall ship emerge over the horizon, unlike any other structure for hundreds of miles in any direction. For those on board this stately vessel, the US Brig Niagara offers an incomparable experience. They can...
read more

“In Immortal Splendor”: Wilkes-Barre’s Fugitive Slave Case of 1853

On Saturday morning, September 3, 1853, U.S. Federal Marshal George Wynkoop of Philadelphia and two deputies, John Jenkins and James Crossen, sat down to breakfast in the dining room of the Phoenix Hotel on River Street in the Luzerne County seat of Wilkes-Barre. At the far end of the room was a handsome, powerfully built mulatto named Bill (or, according to various newspaper accounts, known as...
read more