Bookshelf

Amish Houses and Barns by Stephen Scott Good Books, 1992 (158 pages, paper, $5.95) Home is the center of Amish life, and most – if not all – major life events occur within its walls: birth, mar­riage, visiting, worship, recreation, and death. Amish Houses and Barns is a carefully researched “behind-the­-scenes” look at these events on three farms in particular, as well as...
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Poor John Fitch, The Inventor Few Remember

Philadelphia, August 22, 1787. With the promise of some relief from their intense debate and the heavy summer air, delegates to the Constitutional Convention strolled a few blocks from the State House (now Indepen­dence Hall) to the banks of the Delaware River. Along the river puffed an oddity, a curiosity that the statesmen had never before seen: a steam-operated boat­ – the first of its...
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The Apotheosis of George Washington: America’s Cincinnatus and the Valley Forge Encampment

In the early evening hours of December 19, 1777, the Continental Army, commanded by Gen. George Washington, marched into Valley Forge to encamp for the winter while the British occupied Philadelphia. Within days, six inches of snow blanketed the ground and the nearby Schuylkill River was frozen solid. Undernourished and poorly clothed, and with no immediate prospects for provisioning, many of...
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Like Father, Like Son: The Extraordinary Bartrams

An unusual man, of seemingly boundless talent and insatiable curiosity, John Bartram (1699-1777) was many things to many people. Although primarily regarded as a botanist, he might also have been considered a paleontologist, an archaeol­ogist, a geologist, a limnologist, a conchologist, an ethnologist, and so on. Like Thomas Jefferson, he was a prime example of that rare, almost unique,...
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Bookshelf

The Genius Belt: The Story of the Arts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania edited by George S. Bush James A. Michener Art Museum in association with The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996 (174 pages, cloth, $40.00; paper, $29.95) Bucks County had known artists as neighbors for years, but in this handsome and richly illustrated book, novelist and native son James A. Michener writes that two...
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New Sweden and The New World – History Lessons From the Morton Homestead

Years before William Penn and his Quaker followers set foot on America’s shores, Swedish settlers had established a settlement along the Delaware River and Bay. On this land, now part of both Pennsylvania and Delaware, stands the Morton Homestead, an emissary from a past, an emissary that tells the story of a powerful Swedish king, a white, sandy shore and primeval forest, peaceful fur...
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The Boat Ride that Changed America: Washington Crossing Historic Park

The characters a seem straight out of a big screen military blockbuster: the protagonist, a distinguished squire turned military commander, appearing outwardly controlled, yet besieged by internal doubts; his antagonist, a general whose redeeming qualities are negated by his arrogance and complacency; a comely widow; heroes, cads, and a supporting cast of thousands. The plot is also...
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In Franklin’s Footsteps: An Interview with Ralph Archbold

Greater hero worship may be accorded to other historical figures, but Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) has, for better or worse, been more commonly identified with the American national character. His remarkable success as a printer, as well as the popularity of his essays, aphorisms, and almanacs, allowed him to spread his notions of industry and frugality among the common people. In the process,...
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General Irvine’s Pistols at Fort Pitt Museum

General William Irvine (1741-1804), a physician who practiced in Carlisle, Cumberland County, and a member of the Continental Congress, enjoyed a distinguished military career. He served in the Revolutionary War, during which he commanded Fort Pitt, and led Pennsylvania troops during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. For many years, Irvine’s papers and personal arms – an elegantly...
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Current and Coming

Constitution Center Drawn up by nearly five dozen dele­gates to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia during the swelter­ing summer of 1787, the Constitution of the United States is a system of the nation’s fundamental laws, defining distinct powers for the Congress, the president, and the federal courts. Ratified by the states the following year, the Constitution offers a...
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