Currents

All Aboard! Created by the state legislature in 1963 “to preserve significant artifacts appropriate to the history of railroading in the State and to present through exhibits the highlights of that history,” the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Lancaster County, serves as the Commonwealth’s official museum of railroading. The General Assembly of...
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Bookshelf

Illustrating an Anthracite Era: The Photographic Legacy of John Horgan Jr. by Gwendoline E. Percival and Chester J. Kulesa Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces Associates, 1995 (73 pages, paper, $9.95) Exemplifying the breadth and depth of more than twenty thousand images made by a single photographer of the anthracite region, the...
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John James Audubon, Squire of Mill Grove and Genius of Art and Science

In Pennsylvania, a beautiful state … , my father, in his desire to prove my friend through life, gave me what Americans call a beautiful “planta¬≠tion,” refreshed during the summer heat by the waters of the Schuylkill River, and traversed by a creek named Perkioming. Its fine woodlands, its extensive acres, its fields crowned with evergreens, offered many subjects to my pencil....
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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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Now Presenting American’s Oldest Playhouse: The Walnut Street Theatre

It all started with the circus. Early in the nineteenth century, the New Circus, as it was called, was located at the corner of Walnut and Ninth Streets in Philadelphia, several blocks west of the State House (now Independence Hall). On February 2, 1809, an advertisement in the newspaper Aurora announced that “Messrs. Pepin and Breschard, Professors of the art of Horsemanship and agility,...
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Executive Director’s Message

For the first time in two decades, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will open a new museum when the Erie Maritime Museum makes its grand debut in May. Planning for the museum began in 1986, but a suitable site was not secured until 1991. We needed not only a museum location but also a new berthing facility for the U.S. Brig Niagara. It was at this time that the Erie...
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This Venerable Document

The famous patient in Harrisburg needed treatment immediately. Dismembered, suffering gaping wounds, and literally growing weaker day by day, the situation was critical. The Pennsylvania State Police provided special escorts to and from Philadelphia to ensure safe transport. Once there, in the city this patient helped create, trained technicians administered highly effective restorative...
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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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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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All in the Family: The Riches in Woolrich

John Rich II received a “warm” welcome when he visited winter logging camps in the dense forests of northern Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Tough, hardened lumberjacks valued the one bit of comfort and protection from frostbite that Rich proffered from the back of his mule cart: a simple pair of woolen socks. From those humble beginnings, Rich engaged in a trade that...
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