Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Victorian Gardens

In 1887, brother and sister John T. and Lydia T. Morris began acquiring land north­west of Philadelphia in Chest­nut Hill. Not long afterwards, they engaged Theophilus Parsons Chandler, an architect popular with the city’s affluent families, to prepare drawings for a grand baronial structure which they christened Comp­ton. The grey stone mansion was carefully sited to capture breathtaking views of the Wissahickon Valley below.

Perhaps the house and the sweeping vistas stimulated the Morrises to enhance its garden-like setting and inter­pret, in suburban Philadel­phia, the typical nineteenth century English country house. Upon his retirement from the family iron works in 1891, John T. Morris (1847-1915) remained active as a board member for leading institu­tions, but he devoted his en­ergy to developing an arboretum on the grounds of Compton. The property was eventually willed to the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania. The ninety-two acre historic property – which also includes significant structures designed by leading architects of the period – is now a major seg­ment of an internationally recognized university arbore­tum for both research and education. The Morris Arbore­tum has been recognized as one of America’s finest Victo­rian period estates and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its grounds are ornamented with classical and romantic architecture and contemporary sculpture.

To conclude the Morris Arboretum’s year-long centen­nial celebration, a symposium entitled “The Victorian Land­scape in America: The Garden as Artifact” will be conducted on Thursday, June 16 [1988]. Experts representing the Smithsonian Institution, the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum and Gardens, and the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania will use examples of American Victo­rian era gardens, writings, artifacts and architecture to explore the ideas of the period and the ways in which those ideas found expression through landscape design. Speakers and their topics include: Dr. Kenneth L. Ames, Winterthur Museum and Gardens, “The Victorian Land­scape Garden as Artifact”; James R. Buckler, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Horticulture, 11 Ameri­ca’s Museum Collection of Victorian Horticulture”; Rudy J. Favretti, American Society of Landscape Architects, “Victo­rian Gardens in America, Past and Preserved”; Dr. Beverly G. Seaton, Ohio State University, “The Victorian Garden in Poetry, Prose and Autobiogra­phy”; and Patricia M. Tice, curator of furnishings, Marga­ret W. Strong Museum, “Fac­tory and Garden in Victorian America:Reflections ofTech­nology in Nineteenth Century Gardens.”

In addition to the presenta­tions, the symposium will also feature a Victorian style picnic lunch in the Arboretum’s award-winning rose garden, a tea, concert and tours of the sprawling estate. Several in­door and outdoor exhibits, specially mounted for the Arboretum’s one hundredth anniversary celebration will be open during the day-long symposium. On view will be “The Fernery: Window on the Tropics,” “Victorian Visions, A Landscape Exhibit” and “Rich­ness Lost, Richness Regained: From Private Estate to Univer­sity Arboretum, 1887-1987.” Symposium Proceedings will be mailed to all participants.

“The Victorian Landscape in America: The Garden as Artifact” will be open to the public, but advance registra­tion is required. For additional agenda information, write: Morris Arboretum, 9914 Mead­owbrook Ave. , Philadelphia, PA 19118, or News Bureau, University of Pennsylvania, 410 Logan Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6387; or telephone (215) 247-5777 or 898-8721.


The Face of the Land

There have been many important exhibitions of Amer­ican landscape painting during the twentieth century. One of the most poignant was the show especially mounted in 1976 by the United States De­partment of the Interior to celebrate the nation’s bicenten­nial. America has evolved during the last decade and is a much different country than it was in 1976.

An exhibition addressing the evolution of the United States during the past ten years will open June 4 at the Southern Alleghenies Mu­seum of Art in Loretto. Enti­tled ‘The Face of the Land: A National Landscape Exhibi­tion,” the exhibit explores the great strides that have been made during the last few years toward preserving more and more of the country’s land­scape through the efforts of various land conservancies and trusts, as well as by the Department of the Interior.
“The Face of the Land” cele­brates the land that has been saved, but it serves as a re­minder that much more must be preserved before it is lost forever. For centuries, Ameri­ca’s best landscape artists have been aware of the romantic beauty of the regional evironmnents, but they have also responded. to those spaces which have been spoiled by industrial exploitation and urban sprawl.

“The Face of the Land” is a truly American portrait which will capture, through the dis­play of fifty canvases, the many moods of the country’s landscape. Works include the wild Pacific coastal paintings of Diane Burko, and views of the hills of San Francisco by Wayne Thiebaud, the badlands by Merrill Mahaffey, the sar­donic southwest by Sidney Goodman, and eastern regions by Wolf Kahn, Joseph Raffael and Douy Maguire. Fifty art­ists will be represented in this exhibition.

The exhibit, accompanied by a color-illustrated cata­logue, will remain in view through September 4 [1988].

In addition to “The Face of the Land: A National Land­scape Exhibition,” the South­ern Alleghenies Museum of Art is also hosting several concurrent exhibitions. Through June 19 [1988], the photog­raphy of nineteenth century photographer William Rau, well known for his portraits of Philadelphia’s Main Line fami­lies, will be on view. Rau later garnered great acclaim as a photographer of the nation’s railroads. The photographs in the exhibit are on loan from Lehigh University, Bethlehem. During the month of June, the museum will also show the Schmidgall Collection of Ani­mal Sculpture. The collection – one of the finest of its kind in the United States­ – showcases nineteenth and twentieth century sculpture and represents some of the finest achievements in animal portrayal by diverse artists.

For additional information regarding “The Face of the Land” or other exhibits and events, write: Southern Al­leghenies Museum of Art, St. Francis College Mall, P. O. Box 8, Loretto, PA 15940; or tele­phone (814) 472-6400. Visiting hours are Monday through Friday, 9 A. M. to 4:30 P. M.; Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 to 5:30 P. M. There is no admis­sion charge.


Bicentennial Celebration

In 1788, a small band of pioneers arrived at Cusse­wago, the site of present-day Meadville, to establish the first community in northwestern Pennsylvania. (For a complete history of the region, see “Crawford County: Welcom­ing the Twenty-First Century” by Anne W. Stewart in the spring edition of this maga­zine). To celebrate the settle­ment of Crawford County and the founding of Meadville, a broad variety of events and special activities has been planned throughout the county through July 4 [1988].

The double log house of David Mead will be re-created in Meadville’s Bicentennial Park; one-half of the structure will be interpreted as a frontier dwelling, the other as an early school house. The Cussewago Rifles, a militia reenactment group, will participate in all ceremonial activities. Because Meadville, the county seat, was an early ballooning center, a three day hot air balloon rally, with sanctioned races, will be held from June V through June 19. In addition to the customary concerts, lec­tures, dances and exhibits, several innovative programs will be staged to help interpret the county’s two centuries of history, including industrial tours offered by local busi­nesses. The event will con­clude on Independence Day with the dedication of the French Creek Feeder Canal Park. The canal played a sig­nificant role in the develop­ment of northwestern Pennsylvania’s transportation system.

In marking the county’s milestone, the Crawford County Historical Society is hosting an exhibit entitled “The Brides of Crawford County.” A selection of wed­ding dresses drawn from the historical society’s museum collection is on display. Begin­ning with a circa 1818 dress, changes in marriage and social customs are explored within the county’s two hundred year history. “The Brides of Craw­ford County” is on view at the society’s Baldwin-Reynold House, 639 Terrace Street, Meadville. Visiting hours are Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, from 1 to 5 P. M. Group tours are available by appointment on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. For more information about “The Brides of Crawford County;’ write: Crawford County Historical Society, 848 North Main St., Meadville, PA 16335; or tele­phone (814) 724-6080.

Additional information regarding the general bicen­tennial observances may be obtained by writing: Meadville Bicentennial Celebration, 300 Arch St., Meadville, PA 16335; or by telephoning (814) 724-8030.

Copies of the spring edition of Pennsylvania Heritage featur­ing the history of Crawford County may be ordered by sending a check or money order for two dollars and fifty cents to: Circulation Manager, Pennsylvania Heritage, P. O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026. The article is accompa­nied by numerous rare and vintage photographs.


Objects on View

Objects recently acquired by the Chester County Histori­cal Society in West Chester are the focus of a new exhibit which recently opened to the public, featuring many arti­facts and artworks never be­fore publicly shown. Items donated to, or purchased by, the society for its archives, library and museum are fea­tured in the exhibit entitled “What’s Old That’s New? Recent Accessions” on view through September 5 [1988].

One of the highlights of the exhibit is a “lost” will, received by the Chester County Ar­chives last winter. Donated by a descendant residing in Cali­fornia, the 1749 will of John Francis Long of West Nant­meal Township is extremely significant because it was one of only twenty-six wills miss­ing from the group of nearly six thousand wills and admin­istrations filed in the county between 1742 and 1810. This is the first time that the document – recently restored and conserved – has been on public display.

A selection of items recently acquired by the society’s li­brary collection, printed docu­ments, genealogical materials and manuscripts (other than court documents) that relate, or of interest to, the county are also on exhibit. Chief among the museum’s acquisitions is a side chair made by Samuel Moon, known to have been working about 1810 in East Caln Township. The chair is one of a set of four, two of which were already in the collections of the Chester County Historical Society.

One of the society’s more unusual items on view is a walnut coffin. Made by Ulysses Grant Mauger (1868-1937) of Warwick, Chester County, the coffin is an elegant example of the cabinetmaker’s skill. A watercolor and ink portrait of a mounted soldier wearing the uniform of the Chester County Troop comple­ments the society’s military collection. Despite the socie­ty’s large collection of uni­forms, accoutrements and photographs, no other docu­mentation or representation of this particular uniform existed in its holdings.

The Chester County Histor­ical Society safeguards an extensive collection of south­eastern Pennsylvania fine and decorative arts, antique “eve­ryday” objects and artifacts, records, photographs and documents. The collection has been made possible through many years of thoughtful donations and careful pur­chases of objects and artifacts that were made, used or owned in the county, and of documents that relate to county individuals, places and events. Pieces featured in “What’s Old That’s New?” reveal the continuing growth of the society’s diverse collec­tions.

Additional information regarding this exhibit may be obtained by writing: Chester County Historical Society, 225 North High St., West Chester, PA 19380; or by telephoning (215) 692-4800. There is an admission charge.


Found in France: James Greenleaf

Born in Boston in 1765, James Greenleaf was a scion of a well-respected New England family whose ancestors had settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1635. His father William was a merchant and served as sheriff of Suffolk County, while a sister married Noah Webster, the famous lexicographer. He followed his father in commerce for which Boston, a significant seaport linked to the shipping lanes of the world, served as his train­ing grounds. Sometime in the 1780s, Greenleaf, then in his early twenties, settled in Am­sterdam, Holland, at the time the most important commer­cial city in the world. He ob­served, firsthand, the operations of the world’s great­est financial houses, several of which aided American colo­nists in financing the Revolu­tionary War.

Skilled in social graces, James Greenleaf attracted the elite not only of Amsterdam, but of Europe as well, and married Baroness Cornelia Elbertine Scholten von Ascht of Holland. Five years later, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson appointed him United States Consul to Hol­land when Greenleaf was only twenty-eight years old. In 1794, the year following his appointment, French revolu­tionaries marched into Hol­land, replacing the Dutch government. With his diplo­matic career dramatically ended, Greenleaf decided to return to the United States. His wife refused and they were later divorced.

Greenleaf arrived in Philadelphia in 1795 and purchased Lansdowne, the magnificent country estate from the widow of the last colonial governor, John Penn. He also purchased the former home of Gen. Phi­lemon Dickinson on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Not long afterward, Greenleaf met Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution, who was in severe financial diffi­culty because of extensive land purchases. With Morris, former provincial comptroller general John Nicholson, Greenleaf established the North American Land Com­pany, which began buying building lots in Washington, D. C.

An economic recession caused the collapse the North American Land Company. Greenleaf lost everything; Lansdowne was sold at sher­iff’s sale and the Chestnut Street property reverted to the Dickinson family. By 1798, all three were imprisoned for their debts. Eventually Green­leaf and Morris were freed, but Nicholson died in prison.

Greenleaf left Philadelphia and moved to Washington, where he met and married on April 26, 1800, Ann Penn Al­len, niece of John Penn’s widow, from whom he ac­quired Lansdowne. Appar­ently wary of her husband’s previous financial failures, Ann placed her real estate in a trust controlJed by William Tilghman and John Lawrence, two Allentown area residents. The Greenleafs moved to Al­lentown, occupying a house at Fifth and Hamilton streets, the site of the present-day Post Office. James Greenleaf was extremely interested in im­proving the city, and lent his support to the construction of a chain link bridge across the Lehigh River in 1814. Ann, too, was active in civic affairs and in the creation of Lehigh County in 1812. Historians contend that the community officially changed its name from Northampton to Allen­town to honor her.

Later business failures caused the sale of part of Ann’s Allentown property in the 1840s. Late in their married life, James Greenleaf moved to Washington and died there in 1843. Ann continued to live in Allentown and Philadelphia until her demise in 1851.

At the height of his career, about 1795, James Greenleaf commissioned celebrated portrait painter Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) to capture his like­ness for posterity. Stuart’s portraits reflected the early prosperity of the young coun­try; among his best known likenesses are those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. For two centuries, the portrait of James Greenleaf went neglected and, for the most part, lost to art historians and museums. However, a London dealer recently “rediscovered” the painting at a Paris auction house, which incorrectly at­tributed it to the school of eighteenth century portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. The anonymous owner has recently offered the painting to the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley which, inci­dentally, already owns the portrait of Ann Penn Allen Greenleaf, also executed by Gilbert Stuart in 1795!

To add this significant art­work to its collections, the Allentown Art Museum has mounted a drive to raise funds for its purchase from its cur­rent owner. individuals and institutions wishing to support the acquisition of the James Greenleaf portrait are asked to write: Allentown Art Museum, Fifth and Court Sts., P. O. Box 117, Allentown, PA 18105; or telephone (215) 432-4333.


The Spoils of War

In 1862, the British Consul in Charleston, South Carolina, referring to the Union’s block­ade of the Confederacy, ob­served that “everything is brought in abundance … and no one seems to think that there is the slightest risk.” While the risks of blockade­-running, although undetected in 1862, were both real and imagined, the rewards often proved to be far greater. Profits could – and did – exceed fifteen times the cost. The captain of a successful voyage might re­ceive five thousand dollars in gold, while an ordinary sea­man about two hundred and fifty dollars – princely sums in terms of the mid-nineteenth century economy.

Under the cover of dark­ness, arms, munitions, medi­cal supplies, even luxury goods, were transported from St. George, Bermuda and Nassau in the Bahamas to Southern ports by stealthy phantoms, camouflaged the color of an Atlantic Ocean fog. In order to cut this Confeder­ate lifeline to the outside world, a flotilla of nearly seven hundred ships stretched from the mouth of the Potomac River to the Rio Grande. This flotilla, the Federal Union Blockading Fleet, disabled fourteen hundred blockade­-runners. They were captured, sunk or run aground, and to the Union victors went the spoils. One hundred and seventy-four of the disabled vessels were brought into the port of Philadelphia so their cargoes could be auctioned by the Federal District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania. The proceeds of the sales were divided among the members of the Union crews.

A glimpse into this fascinating – but little known­ – aspect of American naval his­tory, as well as the role of Philadelphia, is explored in “The Spoils of War: Blockade­-Running During the Civil War,” a major exhibition mounted by the Philadelphia Branch of the National Archives. The exhibit, continuing through July, incorporates ship models and plans, photo­graphs of the ships and their commanders, as well as crew lists, shipping registries and recently salvaged Confederate military items, such as sabers, muskets and cannonballs. On display is the half-ship model of the Housatonic, the first ship attacked and destroyed by the submarine H. L. Hunley on the night of February 17, 1864. In less than five minutes both the Housatonic and the Hunley were lost.

“The Spoils of War” also includes diaries, correspon­dence and personal effects of crewmen, highlighted by the diary and illustrations of Dr. Charles Stedman, Boston physician and amateur drafts­man. During his duty aboard the U.S.S. Huron, Stedman provided the only eyewitness account of the Navy’s vital contribution to the war effort­ – the importance of which was recognized by President Lin­coln’s reminder, “nor must Uncle Sam’s web-feet be for­gotten.”

The exhibit examines the documentation filed in the “Prize Case Files” of captured Confederate vessels, material which offers an unprecedented look at mid-nineteenth century American maritime history.

For additional information regarding “The Spoils of War: Blockade-Running During the Civil War,” write: National Archives-Philadelphia Branch, Room 1350, Ninth and Market Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19107; or telephone (215) 597-3000.


PHMC Photo Competition

Since its creation as the Pennsylvania Historical Com­mission in 1913, the Pennsylva­nia Historical and Museum Commission has served gener­ations of Pennsylvania resi­dents and visitors as the “Commonwealth’s Memory.” Originally encouraged by members of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Soci­eties, the act establishing the Commission was signed by Gov. John K. Tener in July 1913. In November of that year the governor appointed mem­bers of the first Commission, which conducted its first orga­nizational meeting at the Un­ion League in Philadelphia on March 21, 1914. Although the state senate did not confirm the appointments until Febru­ary 9, 1915, the commissioners began their labors in earnest following their first meeting. The Pennsylvania Historical Commission continued to grow and evolve until 1945, when the present-day Penn­sylvania Historical and Mu­seum Commission was created by an act of legislation.

For three-quarters of a cen­tury, the Pennsylvania Histori­cal and Museum Commission has-through its extensive holdings of fine and decorative arts, documents, public re­cords, vintage photographs and rare drawings, maps, archaeological specimens, objects and artifacts­ – documented, preserved and interpreted more than three centuries of Pennsylvania’s history and culture. The agen­cy’s ongoing public history programs – such as the state­wide historic preservation initiative, oral history surveys and the erection of state histor­ical markers – continue to convey the significance of the Commonwealth’s history to all. Its network of twenty­-seven historic sites and museums – Pennsbury Manor, Daniel Boone Homestead, Eckley Miners’ Village, Hope Lodge, the Flagship Niagara, Drake Well Museum and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania – make up the well-traveled “Trail of History,” showcasing the historic lega­cies which hallmark Pennsyl­vania’s role as the Keystone of a Nation.

As part of its seventy-fifth anniversary celebration, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will conduct a special photography contest. The primary goal of the competition is “to show the results of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission at work,” reflecting the labors of the agency, its staff or volunteers. The competition will be juried by a panel of expert judges. Winning photo­graphs will be featured in a traveling exhibit which will tour PHMC historic sites and museums.

The photograph competi­tion is open to all residents of Pennsylvania. The images should focus on the connec­tion between the agency and the public, highlighting the agency’s public service. The photographs will be accepted at historic sites and museums administered by the PHMC between Thursday, September 1 [1988], and Sunday, September 18 [1988]. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners.

Complete competition guidelines and information may be obtained by writing: Anniversary Photo Competi­tion, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, P. O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or by telephoning (717) 783-9882.


Recent Accessions

Civil War hero and gover­nor, James Addams Beaver was born in Millerstown, Perry County, on October 21, 1834. He distinguished himself as an officer of the Union Army and took part in the battles at Chancellorsville, Petersburg and Reams Station, where he lost his right leg. He was bre­vetted Brigadier General of Volunteers on November 10, 1864. After the war, he re­turned to Bellefonte, Centre County, where he spent most of his life. He studied under, and later joined the law firm of, Hugh N. McAllister (1809-1873), whose daughter, Mary, he married in 1865. McAllister was a well known lawyer who played a major role during the turbulent early years of the Pennsylvania State University in nearby State College. He assisted the president of the college in surmounting great obstacles, keeping the institu­tion operating, even though dissolution seemed forever imminent.

On the death of Hugh N. McAllister, Beaver succeeded his father-in-law as college trustee and later became board president. He also served as college president on an interim basis. In 1886, he was elected governor and in 1895 ap­pointed state Superior Court judge, a position he held al­most until his death in 1914.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recently acquired, through purchase, a selection of objects and artifacts directly related to Governor Beaver and his fam­ily. Included in this significant acquisition were Beaver’s travel trunk for books, lap desk and desk organizer – all used dur­ing his term as governor. The PHMC also acquired two fine gold and hairwork brooches, inscribed H. A. McA./April 27th, 1857, probably a memo­rial for the governor’s mother­-in-law, Henrietta Ashman McAllister, and an autograph album which contains a finely executed pen and ink Civil War memorial drawing and verse.

The recently acquired items complement the collection of documents and artifacts do­nated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission by members of the Beaver family in 1986. This gift included the governor’s aca­demic robes, worn during his long association with the Pennsylvania State University; the cream colored dress worn by his mother on her wedding to Hugh N. McAllister on September 17, 1841; Beaver’s major general’s coat and epau­lettes, dating his re-entry into Pennsylvania service in 1867; and the governor’s Civil War era accoutrements. Perhaps the most important items given by his descendants were Beaver’s letters written during the Civil War. These letters graphically detail his wartime experiences, including his fear of death following the amputa­tion of his leg. Accompanying the letters were Beaver’s dia­ries covering the same period, as well as manuscripts written during his term as governor. The 1986 gift also featured papers relating to the Johns­town Flood of 1889, and photo­graphs of the old State Capitol, destroyed by fire in 1897, and Keystone Hall, then the resi­dence of Pennsylvania’s gover­nors.

For additional information regarding the recent acquisi­tions of material relating to James A. Beaver and his fam­ily, write: Gail Getz, Decora­tive Arts, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P. O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 783-2614.