Editor’s Letter

As part of our mission “to introduce readers to Pennsylvania’s rich culture and historic legacy,” we at Pennsylvania Heritage seek to connect the commonwealth’s past with what Pennsylvania is today or what it is anticipated to become in the future. In this effort, we strive to publish stories on a variety of subjects, some of which have been overlooked or underrepresented in history, that relate...
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Kutztown Folk Festival: America’s Oldest Folklife Celebration

The Kutztown Folk Festival, originally called the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival, is a milestone among American community celebrations. Observing 70 years in 2019, it is the first and longest-running folklife festival in the history of the United States. Although many other popular celebrations preceded the Kutztown festival, it has had a national impact as the first festival founded and...
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Editor’s Letter

Football, fine art, and festivals. Throughout the years, Pennsylvanians have received national acclaim in all three fields. Each has become a vital part of our shared heritage, engaging residents and representing the commonwealth’s rich and diverse culture. In this edition, you’ll find three outstanding features on prominent examples of these activities in the Keystone State. Football has been...
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Trailheads

History never truly sleeps on the Pennsylvania Trails of History, but winter is generally a slower season with reduced schedules and fewer programs and events. Charter Day, the celebration of Pennsylvania’s founding (the second Sunday in March), is the traditional start to our spring season. As the weather warms, activity increases at the sites and museums. The landscape loses its dull winter...
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Powwowing in Pennsylvania by Patrick J. Donmoyer

Powwowing in Pennsylvania Braucherei and the Ritual of Everyday Life by Patrick J. Donmoyer Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center/Masthof Press, 343 pp., cloth $45, paper $35 In Powwowing in Pennsylvania, author Donmoyer gives a fresh and comprehensive account of traditional ritual healing practices (largely) among the Pennsylvania Dutch. The book ties together years of solid research,...
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Celebrities Discover Who They Are at the Pennsylvania State Archives

Archivist Aaron McWilliams smiles and shifts his gaze toward the floor when asked about his brush with TV stardom. Every so often, a patron visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, where he works, will ask him what it was like to appear alongside veteran Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi on a 2011 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? a reality series in which...
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Miniature Lord’s Prayer

Why would a calligrapher print the words to the Lord’s Prayer on a 1-inch-square piece of paper in letters so small that one would need a magnifying glass to read it? Even more puzzling: Why would someone fold such a small document to a quarter of its actual size? The answers may have more to do with the spiritual beliefs of some German-speaking Pennsylvanians in the 18th century rather than any...
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Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil?

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly cackle. Clad in a rumpled fur overcoat, the figure carried an old gunnysack in one hand and a bundle of...
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Editor’s Letter

Sometimes Pennsylvania history occurs outside the boundaries of the Keystone State. Throughout the past, Pennsylvanians have traveled to other parts of the U.S. or have gone abroad to make their marks in the commonwealth’s history. Pennsylvania’s involvement in World War I is a good example, when soldiers from the state joined their fellow American servicemen in the Allied fight against the...
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Artful Trails

In honor of the 50th Art of the State exhibition, open through September 10, 2017, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, we’re exploring art at other historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History. As visual storytellers, our sites employ a multidisciplinary approach to documenting and sharing Pennsylvania heritage. Artworks frequently play a role in the study...
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