The Aaronsburg Story

Thanks to Penn State coach Joe Paterno and his loyal fans, it’s not uncommon to find tens of thousands of motorists jamming Centre County roads on autumn weekends. Fifty years ago this fall – Sunday, October 23, 1949, to be precise – thirty thousand people from throughout the United States converged not in State College to enjoy a football game but in the considerably smaller...
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Currents

Quilting Time Lancaster County is associated with many things, among them the “Pennsylvania Dutch,” barn raising, the horse and buggy, Amish and Mennonite farmsteads, shoo fly pie, and, of course, quilts. Quilts made in Lancaster County reflect the diversity of cultures and way of life in the region called – because of its verdant beauty and highly productive agricultural...
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Currents

Pennsylvania Germans Historians trace the origins of Pennsylvania German settlement to late seventeenth-century Philadelphia and the arrival of the earliest immigrants. These arrivals came from many regions in what are now the countries of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the Alsace region of France. Lutheran, Reformed, Moravian, Catholic, Jewish, and Anabaptist (including...
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Genealogy Records at Ephrata Cloister

The types of source documents that help family historians most often depend upon such factors as ethnicity, ge­ography, and time period. Even within an ethnic group, there can be great variety. Pennsylvania Germans constitute one such group. The large immigration to Pennsylvania of German­-speaking people in the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century was composed...
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On the Road in Search of William Penn’s Holy Experiment

When we think of historic sites in Pennsylvania, places such as the hallowed ground at Gettysburg, Philadelphia’s stately Independence Hall, or Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh, immediately come to mind. These places are normally associated with great military engagements or important political events. Yet when William Penn (1644–1718) ruminated about the things that would make Pennsylvania unique, he...
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William Penn’s Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity

Alexander Milne Calder’s bronze statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall surveys the founder’s beloved Holy Experiment fashioned out of the ideals of his Quaker faith. In a seventeenth-century world conditioned by violence, religious persecution, and arbitrary authority, Penn established an unusual colony dedicated to the principles of religious toleration, participatory...
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Muhlenberg House

The patriarch of American Lutheranism, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711–1787) was a German Lutheran pastor summoned to North American to minister to Pennsylvania colonists. Born at Einbeck in Hanover, he studied theology at the Georg-August University of Gottingen and at Halle University, an important Pietist institution. He completed his studies in 1738 and four years later immigrated to...
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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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