The Value of Pennsylvania History

George W. Bush won the presidential election of 2000 because the fifty states cast more electoral votes for him, even though more people actually voted for his opponent, Albert A. Gore Jr. The election reminded Americans about a curious institution called the Electoral College, and an equally peculiar system known as federalism in which each state conducts elections according to distinct laws...
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Current and Coming

Steel Poetry Inspired by the various aspects of the steel industry in Bethlehem, Mildred T. Johnstone (1900-1988) created unusual canvas embroideries in the late 1940s and early 1950s. As the wife of Bethlehem Steel Corporation executive William H. Johnstone, she had the singular honor of being the first woman to tour the compa­ny’s steel mills. Although the mills have grown silent,...
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Into the Woodlands

Rarely does his name enjoy prominence in horticultural history, but William Hamilton (1745-1813), owner of The Woodlands, a picturesque eighteenth-century countryseat on the banks of the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia, made sev­eral significant contributions that forever changed the landscape of North America. An avid plant collector he filled his English-style garden with as many new...
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Current and Coming

Jimmy Stewart Upon his death at the age of eighty-­nine, James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997) – Jimmy Stewart to adoring fans throughout the world – was described by Washington Post staff writer Bart Barnes as “a motion picture Olympian with an all-American image and a universal appeal whose roles as a movie actor helped define a national culture.” During his career, he...
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Bookshelf

The Hospital on Seminary Ridge at the Battle of Gettysburg By Michael A. Dreese McFarland and Company, 2002 (200 pages, illustrated case binding, $45.00) “Old Dorm,” which served as the first classroom and dormitory of Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary, is a popular attraction for visitors to the site of the bloody three-day Civil War battle in Adams County. Few...
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Two Hundred Years and Counting – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Two centuries ago, on Thursday, Decem­ber 26, 1805, seventy-one individuals gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) to formally establish an art institution for Philadelphia. Meetings throughout the summer had led to the drafting of a charter, formation of a board of directors, and the collection of funds for a building. By the day after Christmas, a professional calligraph­er had...
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Current and Coming

Titanic Science When launched in 1912, he was the grandest, most luxurious moving object ever built, and few stories in history have captured the world’s imagination like hers. The saga of the RMS Ti­tanic actually began five years earlier, in 1907, at a dinner party at Downshire House, the residence of Lord James Pirrie in the fashionable Belgravia section of London. A guest of Lord...
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Out and About

Family Affair Much Like her famous great-grandfather, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie (1821-1901) was a spirited, community-minded Philadel­phian, a tireless champion of causes she believed were in the best interests of fel­low citizens. Her notable ancestor? None other than Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). As part of the myriad events and exhibits staged in and beyond Philadelphia to mark the three...
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1876 Centennial Craze Sweeps into Philadelphia!

This spring marks the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the International Exhibition of Art, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, better known as the Centennial International Exhibition, staged to mark the one hundredth anniversary of American independence. Opening Day, Wednesday, May 10, 1876, welcome more than one hundred thousand visitors, and by closing day,...
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Bookshelf

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: 200 Years of Excellence Edited by Jane Watkins 2005 (312 pages; cloth, $80.00; paper, $60.00) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: 200 Years of Excellence is difficult to summarize without relying on superlatives to describe its richness in both text and illustration. The hefty volume is elegantly designed, brimming with color and insightful narrative....
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