Julius Bloch: The Time Has Come

Early in his career, artist Julius Bloch (1888-1966) painted serene landscapes, but the force of his compassion for the human struggle soon over­powered his heart and his canvas. He felt compelled to portray instead the blacks, the working poor, the unemployed that made up the fabric of American life during the Great Depression. In 1932, he won­dered in his journal why such somber subjects...
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Setting the Standard for Others

With a rich heritage rooted in colonial military formations – such as the forces furnished in 1740 for a disastrous English expe­dition against Cartagena, Spain’s principal seaport in South America, and Benjamin Franklin’s ten thousand mem­ber military Association, estab­lished in 1747 – the 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is the...
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Two Gentlemen of Vision

Henry Janssen and Ferdinand Thun, whose small textile company grew mto the multi-million dollar Wyomissing Industries, were not only prominent industrial­ists, but also visionaries and idealists. With their unique, progressive approach, the two were largely responsible for the development of Wyomiss­ing, Berks County, one of the first planned industrial com­munities in Pennsylvania. Although...
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Paradise Lost: A Poet in the Political Labyrinth

During the nineteenth century, it was not unusual for promi­nent literary figures – authors, playwrights and, of course, poet laureates­ – to be awarded diplomatic posts as honors. Perhaps these appointments lent prestige to administrations or helped lessen suggestions of rank patronage. Writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was one of the best examples; he held several custom house...
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No Summer Solstice: War Stories of the Home Front Survivors

War stories. Before epic movies and documentaries changed its connotations, the phrase once implied a personal exchange, the kind that took place in barber shops, on porches, or in front of the court house on hot summer afternoons when the fish weren’t biting. They were the kind of stories that grew better in the telling, each time preserving another aspect, perhaps, of a day in a...
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Susquehanna’s Painters

Few Pennsylvanians probably realize that Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Doughty, Frederick Edwin Church and Jasper Francis Cropsey, the leading lights of the Hudson River school, the famous nineteenth century landscape tradition, painted the Susquehanna River or its tributaries. The most important works of Cropsey and Doughty – hailed as the luminar­ies of the Hudson River school...
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Currents

Exciting Erie Before the arrival of white settlers, the southern shores of Lake Erie were inhabited by the Eriez Indians of Iroquois stock until they were virtually eliminated, by 1655, through war with the Seneca nation. A century later, the French, recognizing the military and trade advantages that Lake Erie and its waterways offered, found a harbor ideally suited for a fort, which they named...
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Country Road (1878) by George Hetzel

An accomplished and influential painter active in western Pennsylvania during the second half of the nineteenth century, George Hetzel (1826-1899) was fascinated by the vanishing-yet still rugged and beautiful-landscape of his adopted homeland. Today, he is credited with inspiring the creation of a school of painters and a style called the “Scalp Level Tradition,” after the region...
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Currents

Grand Manner Born in Nescopeck, Luzerne County, Peter Frederick Rothermel (1812-1895) was once one of the most celebrated his­tory painters in the United States (see “Painting for Peer, Patron, and the Public” by Kent Ahrens in the spring 1992 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage). Neglected for decades, he is at last being celebrated in a major exhibition, “Painting in the Grand...
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Finding a Light in the Forest: Conrad Weiser Homestead

More than any other, Conrad Weiser (1696-1760) captured the imagination of the Pennsylvania German community during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time when its leaders asserted its right to be considered a major participant in the building of America. The veneration he was accorded led to the creation in 1923 of the historic park bearing his name and interpreting his...
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