“From My Own Observation and Familiar Acquaintance”: Phebe Earle Gibbons Introduces the Pennsylvania Dutch to the World

  “It was on a Sunday morning in March, when the air was bleak and the roads were execrable, that I obtained a driver to escort me to the farm-house where an Amish meeting was to be held,” wrote Phebe Earle Gibbons (1821–93), describing a Lancaster County Amish religious gathering in the late 1860s. “The floors were bare, but on one of the open doors hung a long white towel,...
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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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Currents

Officers and Gentlemen Brevet Major General John Frederick Hartranft and General Winfield Scott Hancock, of Montgomery County, and Brevet Brigadier-General Galusha Pennypacker and Private Samuel W. Pennypacker, of Chester County, were among the many local servicemen and heroes who served during the Civil War. Galusha Pennypacker (1842-1916), hero of Fort Fisher, off Cape Fear, North Carolina,...
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Currents

Both Sides Now A decade in the making, Harrisburg’s newly opened National Civil War Museum boasts nearly thirty thousand square feet of exhibition space. Situated high atop a knoll in a city park, with a commanding view of the capital city below, the museum – described by the re­gion’s press as “a world-class museum for a world-class collection” – is the first...
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Seneca Religious Ceremony Transcript

From the period of early contact of Native Americans with European settlers through the first half of the nineteenth century, little effort was made by most Americans of European descent to understand the religious beliefs and practices of the Native peoples. This began to change in 1855 when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem “Song of Hiawatha” captured the American imagination with a...
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