War and Tranquility: From Gettysburg to Glen with Robert Bruce Ricketts

The order was clear. Capt. Robert Bruce Ricketts and his two companies of artillery were to hold the Union’s left flank on East Cemetery Hill just beyond the outskirts of Gettysburg. “In case you are charged here,” Ricketts’ commanding officer Col. C.S. Wainwright told him, “you will not limber up under any circumstances, but fight your battery as long as you can.” The reality facing Ricketts on...
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Expanding A Vision: Seventy-Five Years of Public History

Three-quarters of a century ago, it proba­bly surprised no one that the first act of the Pennsylvania Historical Com­mission, not long after its creation in 1913, was to survey all monuments and memorials in the Commonwealth’s sixty­-seven counties. At that time it was universally assumed that public history involved com­memoration and the rituals associated with recognizing significant...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Pioneer: Hanna Tiffany Swetland (1740-1809)

When the swollen waters of the Susquehanna River roared and smashed over its banks in the Spring of 1972, bringing destruction to property and homes and despair to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania citizens, one of the hardest hit areas was the Wyoming Valley in Northeastern Pennsylvania with its many small towns. One such community was the quaintly and historically named Forty Fort. That...
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Historical Sketch of Luzerne County

The Proclamation Line of 1763 was a stopgap devised to give England a chance to gather her forces and to adopt a policy for further expansion of the American colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. The Treaty at Fort Stanwix in 1768 resulted in a pre-revolutionary division of Indian land to establish a boundary between the Indian hunting grounds and the white settlements. The treaty was the last...
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Mailbox

The Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Phila­delphia, has recently acquired the political archives of Robert N. C. Nix, Jr., the first African American to serve on the Pennsylva­nia Supreme Court. To further expand its collections documenting and interpreting the lives and careers of leading African American political leaders and government officials, the museum is seeking documents,...
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A Jewel in the Crown of Old King Coal: Eckley Miners’ Village

It survives – somewhat miraculously – as a vestige of Pennsylvania’s coal mining heritage, a link in what was once a chain of little coal communities, or patch towns, that dotted the anthracite region. “Eckley is part of the puzzle, but not a unique part. There were numerous, almost identical, mining patch towns like Eckley,” explains Vance Packard, site...
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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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Letters to the Editor

Left Hanging It’s always interesting to see articles in a statewide publication regarding the Wilkes-Barre area. As the new executive director of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, now known as the Luzerne County Historical Society, it was a treat to read “Joe Palooka: Wilkes-Barre Boxing Legend with a National Punch” by William C. Kashatus in the Spring 2000 issue....
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The Pennsylvania Archives Turns 100! An Interview with State Archivist Frank M. Suran

2003 marks the centennial of the Pennsylvania State Archives, the oldest component of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency, and State Archivist Frank M. Suran knows its history bet­ter than anyone else. An archivist’s responsibilities include a multitude of tasks. Suran discusses his beginnings at the State Archives,...
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