Commission Members’ Backgrounds Outlined

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

Fourteen persons with diverse and talented backgrounds comprise the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The Governor appoints nine members and designates the chairman. All are non-salaried in their positions as Com­missioners. Four members are legislators; two are senators, appointed by the Senate Pro Tempore; and two are repre­sentatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Secretary of Education is an ex-officio mem­ber.

The women and men now serving to guide the PHMC bring a vast array of knowledge and abilities to their posi­tions. Their backgrounds are given below.


Mrs. Ferne Smith Hetrick is the current chairman. She has been a member of the Commission since November 7, 1963, when Governor William W. Scranton appointed her. She was reappointed on August 22, 1967, by Governor Raymond P. Shafer, and on January 4, 1972, and again in January of 1975 by Governor Milton J. Shapp, who desig­nated her as chairman. She is the first woman to hold that office.

Mrs. Hetrick attended Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College), Pittsburgh, and graduated from Webber College, Roger W. Babson’s business college for women, Babson Park, Florida.

Mrs. Hetrick is a member of the Public Committee on the Humanities in Pennsylvania and an ex-officio member of the Valley Forge Park Commission, the Washington Cross­ing Park Commission, the Brandywine Battlefield Park Commission and the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsyl­vania.

Her many civic and community activities have included the Pennsylvania Federation of Women’s Clubs, the West Shore Public Library (founder-trustee). the Board for Adult Education of Dickinson College, the Tri-County Branch of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind (past president). Harrisburg Area Chapter of Muscular Dystrophy, and volun­teer or instructional service for the Harrisburg Y .W.C.A., the Pennsylvania Junior College of Medical Arts, the Governor’s Committee on Vocational Rehabilitation Planning, and the Harrisburg State Hospital’s recreational program.

The mother of two married sons, she has four grand­children and still lives upon and farms an 83-acre farm, Ferncrest Farm, R.D. 2, New Cumberland.


Senator Clarence D. Bell of 400 West Twenty-fourth Street, Upland, Delaware County, is an attorney and senior member of the law firm Bell, Harvey, Pugh and Sinclair of Media. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School as well as a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff.

Senator Bell is serving his fifth consecutive term in the State Senate. He also has served three terms in the House of Representatives. He has been chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Local Government Committee, Consti­tutional Changes and Federal Relations Committee. He is presently a member of the Transportation, State Govern­ment, Local Government and Consumer Protection Commit­tee and of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee of the Interstate Cooperation Commission. Previous service has included membership on the Local Government Commis­sion, Aeronautics Commission as well as being vice-president for Highway and Bridge Authority.

Senator Bell’s military service includes service in the Re­serves, the National Guard and active Army for almost forty-two years. He enlisted as a private in the United States Army in 1932 and retired February 19, 1974, as brigadier general. He was promoted to Major General, Penn­sylvania National Guard; his present assignment is Com­mander of the Pennsylvania State Guard. His military decorations include the United States Legion of Merit, the United States Army Commendation Medal; he was twice awarded the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal and the Pennsylvania Commendation Medal.

Senator Bell’s other commendations and awards include the Silver Medallion National Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, B’nai B’rith Man of the Year, and Delaware County Realtors Man of the Year. Other organizations honoring him have included the Pennsylvania National Guard Enlisted Association, Knights of Columbus, Jewish War Veterans and the Polish American Citizens Association. Senator Bell has served as national president of the Military Government Association (now called Civil Affairs Associa­tion), state president of the Exchange Clubs and national chairman of the Army Affairs Committee of the Reserve Officers Association.

Senator and Mrs. Bell have a son and a daughter. They are owners as tenants by entirety of two golden retriever dogs and seven cats.


Albert William Gendebien of Easton is one of the pro­fessional historians serving on the Commission. He is head of the Department of History at Lafayette College, Easton.

Mr. Gendebien received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lafayette College and a doctorate in history from American University, Washington, D.C. He also was an Inter­national Student Exchange Fellow at the University of Rome.

Mr. Gendebien was a captain in the United States Air Force. He is the author of many articles and received a Humanities Enrichment Grant for advanced study and re­search in Italy in 1973-74. His community activities in­clude the Foreign Pol icy Association of the Delaware Valley, the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Family Counseling Service of Northampton County.


Dr. Jacob Gruber, anthropologist, was traveling abroad when this article was written. A sketch of his background and photographs of him as well as those of Representative Morris and Representative Wright will appear in the Decem­ber issue.


Mrs. James John of West Chester is a graduate of the Friends School, Darlington Seminary, and the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the Chester County Historical Society, the Chadds Ford Historical Society and the Christian Sanderson Museum, Chadds Ford.

Mrs. John has served as vice-chairman of the Democratic State Committee and was a delegate-at-large to national conventions in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968. A former member of Chester County Prison Inspectors, she also served on the State Welfare Commission and the State Employes’ Re­tirement Board and currently serves on the Chester County Senior Citizens Advisory Committee. She served on the Board of Directors of West Chester State College for seven years.


Senator James R. Kelley obtained a bachelor of arts de­gree from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, and was graduated from Catholic University School of Law, Washington, D.C. He is an attorney with offices in Greensburg.

Senator Kelley was elected to the State Senate in a special election in May, 1974. He served as a Westmoreland County commissioner from 1968-1974. In the Senate, he serves on five committees and is vice-chairman of the Law and Justice Committee. Senator Kelley is president of the Westmoreland County Bicentennial Association.


Philip S. Klein of State College, professor emeritus of history at The Pennsylvania State University, is one of the more recent appointees to the Commission. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College, a master of arts degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Klein is the author of several books including The Story of Wheatland, Lancaster, 1936; Pennsylvania Politics, 1817-1832, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1941; History of the United States (with A. C. Bining), Scribners, New York, 1951; Pennsylvania Leaders (with H. S. Alshouse), Penns Valley, State College, 1951; Pennsyl­vania Pioneers (with H. S. Alshouse), Penns Valley, State College, 1951; President James Buchanan, A Biography, Penn State Press, University Park, 1962; and A History of Pennsylvania (with Ari Hoogenboom), McGraw-Hill, New York, 1973.

A charter member of the Pennsylvania Historical Associa­tion, Mr. Klein currently serves on its council and editorial board. He served as president of the Centre County Histor­ical Society for ten years. In addition to his professional affiliations, he has served as consultant for the Buchanan Foundation for Preservation of Wheatland; vice-president of the Curtin Foundation for Preservation of Eagle Furnace; board member, Pennsylvania Historical Foundation; and co-founder of Homestead Foundation, Union Mills, Md.


Representative Samuel W. Morris of Chester County is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is serving his third term in the House of Representatives. This is his first year on the PHMC.

Representative Morris’s home and office are both listed in the National Register of Historic Places. His interests, in ad­dition to history, include conservation, agriculture, and problems of local government.

Representative Morris served five years in the armed forces, ending his military career as a captain in the Corps of Engineers. His wife, Eleanor, serves on the Valley Forge Park Commission. They have seven children.


Secretary of Education John C. Pittenger serves as an ex-officio member of the Commission. He is an attorney, former state legislator from Lancaster County, and a teacher at Franklin and Marshall College. Mr. Pittenger is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He was a Frank Knox Fellow at the London School of Economics before serving in the United States Army. He is co-author with Henry Bragdon of The Pursuit of Justice, a study of Constitutional rights.

Mr. Pittenger’s representative on the PHMC is Russell Paul Getz. Mr. Getz is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College, the University of Pennsylvania and The Pennsylvania State University where he received his doctorate in education. He is chief of the Division of Arts and Humanities in the De­partment of Education.

The author of various publications, Mr. Getz’s special interest is music. He is active in conducting and singing and has written various articles on music including “Ephrata Cloister Chorales.”


Homer Tope Rosenberger is another professional historian who serves on the Commission. He is a graduate of Albright College and Cornell University where he received a master of arts degree and his doctor of philosophy degree at the age of twenty-four.

Mr. Rosenberger’s most recent publication is The Phila­delphia and Erie Railroad: Its Place in American Economic History, a 748-page book published by Fox Hills Press. Other books he has written include The Pennsylvania Germans, 1891-1965, 1966; Harriet Lane, 1967; Adventures and Philosophy of a Pennsylvania Dutchman, 1971; Man and Modern Society: Philosophical Essays, 1972, as well as six others.

During the years that he was organizing and conducting nationwide programs for the Federal Government of the United States (1938-1965), Mr. Rosenberger did most of his research beyond office hours. He was the organizer and moderator of the Rose Hill Seminars and an incorporator of Franklin County Heritage, Inc. Among his activities are the Pennsylvania Advisory Board for the National Register of Historic Places, Pennsylvania Prison Society, Howard League Penal Reform, Pennsylvania Historical Association (past president). American Peace Society, Pennsylvania German Society, and the American Correctional Association.

Mr. Rosenberger, whose collection on Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Germans is well-known, resides at Rose Hill, Rural Route 4, Waynesboro, Franklin County.


Mrs. Irvin G. (Anita) Schorsch, Jr. received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Temple University. She also studied fine arts at the Tyler School as well as with Hans Hofmann.

A working craftswoman of colonial crafts, Mrs. Schorsch also did graduate studies in American Decorative Arts at Winterthur Institute.

Mrs. Schorsch served on the Washington Crossing State Park Commission, prepared film scripts for six historic sites and served as historian aboard the ark on the television program, “Captain Noah.”

Mrs. Schorsch, a collector of American decorative arts, is currently writing a book on mourning art. She is a member of the American Association of University Women, Library Company of Philadelphia, Art Alliance, the National Trust, American Association for State and Local History, Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Newport Historical Society, and the Historic Fallsington furnishings committee.


Mrs. Nathan Schwartz was educated at Peabody High School, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. She is active in the American Red Cross at Montefiore Hospital. Chairman of the War-Bond Drive, she serves as a speaker of the War Information Center.

Mrs. Schwartz is a member of the Board of Jewish Women, the History of Pittsburgh Landmarks Foundation and the Parent-Teachers Association. She is also a member of the CARE organization.

Mrs. Schwartz and her husband, a judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, reside in Pittsburgh. They have a daughter and three sons.


Maxwell Whiteman, a native and lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a professional archivist, librarian, bibliophile and historian. He is with the Union League of Philadelphia and is a recognized authority on ethnic and minority history in the United States.

His most recent book is Gentlemen in Crisis: The First Century of the Union League of Philadelphia, 1862-1962. Another book, The History of the Jews of Philadelphia from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson (with Edwin Wolf II) is currently being reprinted. Other books include A Century of Fiction by American Negroes and Copper for America.

During the Civil War Centennial (1961-1965), Mr. White­man served as consultant to the City of Philadelphia and was responsible for major exhibitions.

The American Association for State and Local History has twice honored him with special awards, once for the publication, Pieces of Paper: Gateway to the Past, 1967, and again in 1971 for Copper for America, published by Rutgers University Press.


Representative James L. Wright of Bucks County was re­elected to the House of Representatives for the 1975-76 term. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a former steel mill engineer.

Representative Wright is Minority Chairman of the Mines and Energy Management Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations and Federal State Relations Committees. He served as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. A former Middletown Township (Bucks County) supervisor, he is a founder of the Bucks County Mental Health-Mental Re­tardation Program. He also serves on the Boards of Valley Day School and the Association of Retarded Children. He helped to create the new mental health service now operat­ing in the Bristol area.

Representative Wright served as a navigator with the Eighth Air Force in Europe during World War II. He and his wife Elaine have a daughter and three sons.