18th Century Clock at Joseph Priestley House

An exuberantly styled marble mantle clock, decorated with ormolu and capped by a figural grouping of nesting birds, once belonged to scientist, theologian, and natural philosopher Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). According to the donor, the clock, made by Guy d’Amour, Paris, was given to Priestley by the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) in appreciation of his support of the French Revolution....
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Bookshelf

The Philadelphia Mummers: Building Community Through Play by Patricia Anne Masters published by Temple University Press, 2007; 232 pages; cloth, $74.50, paper, $22.95 Every New Year’s Day since 1901, the Philadelphia Mummers have presented a spectacular show of shows that raucously snakes and shimmies its way through city streets. The Mummers Parade includes music, dance, comedy, and mime, along...
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Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices

On a February morning in 1937, artist George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) and a group of four men met at the post office in Selinsgrove, Snyder County. Armed with cloth-covered rolling pins, the men attached Rickey’s mural entitled Susquehanna Trail to one of the lobby’s end walls. After six hours, they transformed the entire blank white wall, from marble wainscoting to ceiling, into a...
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Joseph Priestley’s Microscope

The achievements of Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) have been committed to memory by generations of American schoolchildren, who for years listened as teachers credited him as the discoverer of oxygen, which he called “dephlogisticated air,” and the inventor of carbonated water. Much of the attention given to Priestley highlighted his scientific work, but his contributions to education, natural...
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Discovering Religious Diversity Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

William Penn (1644-1718) knew well the sting of discrimination and the misery of persecution for his religious beliefs. He suffered the consequences of breaking with the Church of England, leading to estrangement from his father, Admiral Sir William Penn (1621-1670). When imprisoned for attending meetings of the Society of Friends – commonly called Quakers and Friends – the younger...
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Past, Present, and Future at PHMC

I should have written at the launch of this regular department for Pennsylvania Heritage, which debuted in the Summer 2011 edition, that there would be some experimenting with how to best capture the feel of Trailheads, a blog I write weekly. In the previous issue of the magazine, I took an in-depth look at Drake Well Museum’s renovation project, which had been covered in small bites on the...
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