Painting the Town: Bethlehem and its Artists

Since its founding in 1741, the city of Beth­lehem in eastern Pennsylvania has bene­fitted from the presence of artists associated with its Moravian founders and their educational institutions, specifically the Moravian Semi­nary for Young Ladies, founded almost as early as the city itself, and Moravian College. In the eighteenth century Valentine Haidt served as the city’s...
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Forest County: What Better Name?

Never a promised land, flowing with milk and honey, Northwestern Pennsylvania – a part of which later became Forest County­ – seemed to repel early settle­ment. Moravian missionary David Zeisberger, whose diary ac­count reveals the first intimate knowledge of the terrain and the Indian inhabitants, did not extol the area nor its original residents locals to any high degree. Like all...
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A Colonial Christmas

The December holidays are ideal focuses for special exhibitions and activities at museums, historic sites, villages and history-oriented visitors attrac­tions throughout Pennsyl­vania. Eighteenth century Christmas observances are popularly re-created and inter­preted because many settle­ments on the East Coast were established prior to 1800. By interpreting this seasonal living history program,...
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Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
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Carbon County: Stone Coal in the Switzerland of America

Carbon, the primary component of an­thracite coal, is also a county in eastern Pennsylvania – for the same reason. The value of anthracite to the burgeoning industrial revolution of the mid­-nineteenth century created in 1843 a new county from the northern fringes of the once­-immense Northampton County. Beginning in the nine­teenth century, an entire county of coal was carved and moved to...
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Historic Preservation

In the United States, more than in Europe, historic sites and structures are nearly always in danger of destruction. As land becomes increasingly valuable in America those who have an eye only on money and who are almost completely devoid of culture move in, obliter­ate the site or structure, and “develop” the area – for a huge profit to themselves. Had Independence Square in...
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“Prepare Thyself … to Meet the Lord Thy God!”: Religion in Pennsylvania During the Revolution

Religion in the colony of Pennsylvania was distinctive. In contrast to most areas of the western world, this province practiced freedom of religion. It never had an established church. Friends who controlled the first legislative assembly, meeting in Upland, now Chester, in 1682, specified that no one was “at any time [to] be com­pelled to frequent or Maintain anie religious worship, place...
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The Sacred and the Secular: Immigrant Values in Pennsylvania History

Since its founding, the history of Pennsylvania has sprung from the successive waves of immigrants who have settled within its boundaries. Colonial Pennsylvania was peopled by English, Scotch-Irish, German, Swe­dish, and Welsh arrivals. Germans continued to come after 1800 but were joined by thousands from Ireland and Wales. With industrial expansion after 1870, Hungarians, Lithu­anians, Poles...
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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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How to Uncover Black Family History

Genealogy has replaced astrology as America’s favorite topic at social gatherings. Several factors are responsible in sparking the present upsurge in Black genealogy. The civil rights movement of the 1960’s encouraged a feeling of Black solidarity that had not existed before. Marches, demonstrations, and mass jailings brought together diverse elements of the Black community and made...
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