Behind the Battle of Gettysburg: American Nursing Is Born

The battle of Gettys­burg cannot only be characterized as the turning point of the Civil War, for it was so much more. During the war, with casualties high and the need undeniable, women entered hospitals to care for the wounded, but – shockingly­ – were made to feel unwelcome. These resolute women, though, stood fast, and pro­ceeded to establish a new profession. When the war...
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Potter County: At the Edge of the Forest

Potter, one of the Com­monwealth’s larger counties in size, but one of the smaller in population, is located in the center of what is popularly called the northern tier. Its location on a highly dissected plateau with narrow, steep­-sided valleys made travel diffi­cult and settlement hesitant. Even today with modern tech­nology, the pace of life is slower than in Pennsylvania’s more...
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Bedlam in Penn’s Woods

Pennsylvanians have been concerned with the welfare of the insane since the earli­est provincial days. Indeed, as befits the Commonwealth’s humanitarian Quaker heritage, Pennsylvania has made pio­neering efforts in the field. For most of the pre­Revolutionary period, care of the mad was restricted to physical support and occa­sional confinement for public safety. Victims’ families...
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Women in Pennsylvania … The First Two Hundred Years

In the past two hundred years thousands of women have contributed significantly to the social, economic, political and cultural richness of Pennsylvania. An encyclopedia could barely sketch their contributions. Since this article cannot possibly present a complete picture of women’s history in our state, it will survey the changes in women’s roles with brief accounts of a few famous...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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Toward Freedom: Pittsburgh Blacks, 1800-1870

Throughout the antebellum period in the United States, two of the most volatile issues were the abolition of slavery and Blacks’ civil rights. Conventions, meetings, and written memorials to state and federal governmental bodies regarding these concerns abounded. Both Black and white residents of cities and towns became involved in the slavery question, while Black residents, primarily,...
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One Should Not Overlook Union County

Union County on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, encompassing a bare 258 square miles, with a population of 30,000, including 3000 college stu­dents and 1900 inmates of two federal prisons. Few of its residents have held high political office and fewer of its names have appeared in Who’s Who in America. Yet the historical...
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Howard L. Barnes, Dean of Philadelphia’s Amateur Historians

Howard L. Barnes claims that Frankford is the oldest settlement in Philadelphia. Historians in neighboring Germantown dispute him, contending theirs to be the oldest community in the Quaker city area. How­ ever, no one has proven him wrong – nor can one, especially when he produces the original land deed of his beloved home­town, which dates to 1660. That would make Frankford not only the...
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