How They Served: Recovering the Experiences of Five Pennsylvanians in the American Civil War

Pennsylvania supplied approximately 362,000 soldiers to the Union effort in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. This was more than any other Northern state except New York. The Keystone State suffered the loss of 33,183 sons to death while in war service, and virtually every aspect of Pennsylvania society was affected by the pervasive nature of the great conflict and its staggering cost in terms of...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an elongated...
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America’s Oldest Brewery: A Pictorial History

Touted as “America’s Oldest Brewery” by the family which originated and still owns the Pottsville brewing company, D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. is an unusual collection of mid-nineteenth century buildings which seem to cling pre­cariously to the steep northern slope of the Sharp Mountain above this Schuylkill County seat. The brewery was founded by David G. Yuengling, a...
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Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
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The Molly Maguires: Fighting for Justice

Early on the morning of Wednesday, Septem­ber 1, 1875, a young English-born mine foreman started from his Schuylkill County residence to the Shenandoah coal colliery where he was employed. A gunshot pierced the air. Scrambling for cover behind a neighbor’s house, he was met by another assassin who drew his revolver and fired. Struck in the groin, the young man staggered blindly and fell to...
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The Lattimer Tragedy of 1897

Sheriff James Martin of Luzerne County in Pennsylvania was vacationing in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when he received an important telegram on Saturday, September 4, 1897, from George Wall, his deputy. The message indicated that Superintendent Lathrop of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company requested the sheriff’s presence at Hazleton to deal with a deteriorating strike situation that was...
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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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Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania: A Primer

Depending on the individual, historic preser­vation evokes a myriad of interpretations. To the local historical society, it’s restoring the town’s oldest structure to a house-museum showcasing collections of period antiques. To community planners, it often results in a challenge of saving the best while destroying the rest. And to many, historic preservation means little more than a...
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Berks County: Diamond of the Schuylkill Valley

Since 1811, when Schuylkill County was created to include part of what had been northern Berks County, Berks has been distinguishable by its diamond shape. It approxi­mates a geometric diamond or lozenge – an equilateral paral­lelogram without right angles. Its history also seems diamond-like, as it has com­bined a very hard, cutting, and persistently pragmatic charac­teristic with a...
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Mailbox

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, located in Strasburg, Lancaster County, is seeking information and documentation on railroad work clothes and uniforms worn from 1850 through the first half of the twentieth century. Of particular interest are changes in the styles of work clothing worn by engineers, freight train crews, shop workers, car inspectors, and maintenance and yard employees....
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