Currents

Wrecks and Rescues In the early nineteenth century, the shore posed great danger to sailing ships seeking to reach port. The long and lonely approaches to coastal cities, such as Philadelphia, were poorly marked stretches of sand dunes and salt marshes with a few isolated settlements. Unexpected storms with winds blowing from the northeast could suddenly force a ship onto perilous sandbars...
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My Memories of Harrisburg and the Flood of ’36

In 1923, I was four years old when my family moved from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. My father, Einar Barfod, had been appointed chief investigator in the securities department of Pennsylvania’s ban.king department by Governor Gifford Pinchot. My earliest memory of Harrisburg was a summer when my mother hired a farmer to plow the field next to our house, then having all the neighborhood...
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Letters to the Editor

Member of the Crew I found the piece about the SS United States quite interesting [see “Lost & Found,” Spring 2003]. I am privileged to have sailed on her as a member of the crew in 1962. In my Coast Guard Mer­chant Seaman’s papers, I was designated an “ordinary seaman.” This voyage was from New York to Newport News, Virginia, and back. The ship went into dry...
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PHMC Highlights

Aweekend historical sewing workshop at the Somerset Historical Center in February taught participants how to create hand-sewn, eighteenth-century pockets for period clothing. Gail Smith, assistant curator, and volunteer Robin Cordek, helped plan the event and assisted participants. Curator Carrie Blough and her mother, local seamstress Giselle Blough, served as workshop instructors.   Louis...
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A Tall Order for a Tall Ship: Pennsylvania’s Flagship Niagara – An Interview with Captain Walter P. Rybka

Continuing his stellar career with sailing landmarks – including several vessels built specifically to train sailors – Walter P. Rybka joined the staff of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in 1991 as master of the Flagship Niagara. It was the Brig Niagara, his relief flagship, that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commandeered and led the American forces to a...
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Cremation’s Fiery Beginnings

Franz Lee Rickaby (1889–1925), a bone-thin man of thirty-five, was a much-loved professor of English and drama at Pomona College in Claremont, California, when he died of rheumatic fever. An adventurous wanderer, he left a respected historical legacy with folklorists when Harvard University posthumously published his collection of songs of the Midwest lumberjack, Ballads and Songs of the...
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