Bookshelf

Building Little Italy: Philadelphia’s Italians Before Mass Migration by Richard N. Juliani Pennsylvania State Univer­sity Press, 1998 (398 pages, paper, $19.95) The study of ethnicity in Amer­ica has been popular for years. Ethnic groups in cities small and large, in remote villages, and in rural farming areas have been ana­lyzed and researched; in several urban areas institutions devoted...
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Lost and Found

Lost The world’s first service station – build exclusively to dispense motor fuel and related automobile products – was opened by the Gulf Refining Company (now Gulf Oil) in December 1913 in Pittsburgh. Located at Baum Boulevard (known as “automobile row” because of its many dealerships) and St. Clair street, the drive-in station boasted thirteen pumps and offered...
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Bookshelf

Wealth, Waste, and Alienation: Growth and Decline in the Connellsville Coke Industry By Kenneth Warren University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 (297 pages, cloth, $30.00) In less than three-quarters of a century, the Connellsville coke industry, situated in southwestern Pennsylvania, mushroomed from slight beginnings into a key supplier essential to the iron and steel industries. It then fell victim...
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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...
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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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Current and Coming

Titanic Science When launched in 1912, he was the grandest, most luxurious moving object ever built, and few stories in history have captured the world’s imagination like hers. The saga of the RMS Ti­tanic actually began five years earlier, in 1907, at a dinner party at Downshire House, the residence of Lord James Pirrie in the fashionable Belgravia section of London. A guest of Lord...
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An Address for the Afterlife at Laurel Hill Cemetery

It all began in 1836, when architect John Notman (1810–1865) laid out a series of meandering walkways and terraces on the east bank of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Park. With his design for Laurel Hill Cemetery, the twenty-six-year-old native of Scotland created the first architecturally designed cemetery in the country. He also established the nation’s second garden-type cemetery,...
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Bookshelf

Pennsylvania Civil War Trails: The Guide to Battle Sites, Monuments, Museums and Towns by Tom Huntington Stackpole Books and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2007; 150 pages, paper, $14.95 As the 2011 opening of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial draws near, the national observance is guaranteed to produce a spate of weighty tomes analyzing the epic event of the nineteenth...
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Hummelstown Brownstone: A Victorian Era Treasure

Builders and contractors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries prized brownstone as one of the best and most versatile masonry materials in the United States. Whether used for curbing, windowsills,steps, lintels, stoops, foundations, and tombstones, or to grace the finest mansions as intricately carved statues or coping, brownstone filled the bill. Eminent American architects...
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Cottage, Williamson School

Inspired by the Quaker ideals of hard work, faith, and modest lifestyle, Isaiah Vansant Williamson (1803–1889), a wealthy Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, founded the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Middletown Township, Delaware County, the year before he died. He established the school to provide financially disadvantaged young men with an opportunity to become...
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