Bookshelf

The Venango County Historical Society is republishing in its original size the 700-page History of Venango County. The book was originally published by Caldwell in 1879. If ordered prior to December 31 [1975], the price is $32.50. The after-publication price will be $37.50. Checks or money orders can be sent to Venango County Historical Society, Box 101, Franklin 16323.   The George Dallas...
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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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Southern-Born Blacks in Harrisburg, 1920-1950

Beginning in 1974, John Bodnar, Chief of the Division of History of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, some six other inter­viewers, and I have been taping the rich store of memories and experience that is the possession of Pennsylvania’s ethnic, minority, and working-class groups. This material can provide answers to some important historical questions, among them the...
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The Covered Bridges of Pennsylvania: A Guide

The Covered Bridges of Pennsylvania: A Guide by Susan M. Zacher Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1994 (134 pages, paper, $9.95) Pennsylvania has many types of historic structures scattered throughout its sixty-seven counties, but it’s doubtful if any are as cher­ished and admired as the covered bridge. No matter the season, enthusiasts­ – often joined by photogra­phers...
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Maurice K. Goddard: The Commonwealth’s Conservation Czar

There is a point in crossing the top of the Allegheny Mountains between Pittsburgh and Harris­burg at which a traveler sees, at every turn, only trees. It is one of the most spectacular views on the North American Continent. The scene lacks the frenetic energy of Niagara Falls, or the awe-filling majesty of the Grand Canyon, but this several­-hundred-square-mile panorama of second-growth forest...
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Israel and Samuel Lupfer Tannery Site and House

During the nineteenth century, tanning was an essential component of Pennsylva­nia’s industrial economy. Prior to the out­break of the Civil War, tanneries in the Keystone State’s rural areas were as ubiquitous as gristmills; in 1860, for example, more than one thousand tanneries were in operation and all but one county had at least one. These tanneries ranged in size from a...
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Bookshelf

Documenting Pennsylvania’s Past: The First Century of the Pennsylvania State Archives Edited by Willis L. Shirk Jr. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2003 (242 pages, paper, $32.95) A detailed and highly graphic centennial celebration in print, Documenting Pennsylvania’s Past: The First Century of the Pennsylvania State Archives offers readers a glimpse at the vast...
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An Impressive Legacy: A Half-Century of Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania, 1955-2005

A quarter-century ago, James Biddle (1929-2005), president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, from 1968 to 1980, was named chairman of Pennsylvania’s first State Historic Preservation Board. Jimmy, as the scion of one of the Commonwealth’s most notable families was known – especially to fellow preservationists, many of them working at the grassroots level –...
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The Bucktails

Three days after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor on April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued an emergency call for troops to help defend the nation’s capital. Thomas Leiper Kane (1822–1883), scion of a prominent Philadelphia family, helped raise a mounted rifle regiment in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier counties of Cameron, Elk, McKean, and...
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When the Susquehanna River Was Pennsylvania’s Flour Highway

The flour trade industry in the Susquehanna River watershed is one of the lesser known stories in Pennsylvania’s history, but it is among its most significant sagas. Millers were among the first tradesmen to arrive in the New World to sustain the settlers. The Keystone State’s rich farmlands produced abundant flour for local and regional markets with a consistent surplus for export to foreign...
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