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.

Amish Arts

The Heritage Center of Lancaster County recently increased its growing collec­tion of objects made and used by Amish residents of Lancas­ter County during the nine­teenth and twentieth centuries by the acquisition of three needleworked family registers, two calligraphic works of art on paper, two quilts and a set of six paint-decorated side chairs.

The earliest needlework family register, made by Katy Beiler in 1868, was executed in a wool cross-stitch on prepared canvas. Born in 1850 to John and Salome Beiler, her register lists the names and birth dates of their children. In each cor­ner of the piece, she affixed a large pink fabric rose. Katy Beiler later married Noah Fisher and gave birth to seven children.

Two nearly identical needle­work family registers were stitched by two of Katy Beiler and Noah Fisher’s daughters in 1910. Salome Fisher, born in 1885, and her sister Susie, born in 1888, made needle­work pieces that are similar to their mother’s both in subject and, most significantly, de­sign. These needlework pieces are larger than the 1868 exam­ple, but each has the trade­mark large pink fabric roses in the corners and lists the names and birthdates of the Fisher children. The arrangement and number of smaller pink roses differ somewhat between Salome’s and Susie’s family registers, but other telling design elements are clearly modeled after the designs of their mother’s original work.

The Heritage Center also acquired two works of art on paper from the same Fisher family. A calligraphic orna­ment penned on paper bears the name “Susie B. Fisher,” but whether she actually executed it or if it was made expressly for her is uncertain. A tiny bird and small flowers deco­rate the capital letters of her name. A large hand-lettered family register, also unsigned, records the birth and death dates of the Fisher children. It is inscribed “Written on the 21st day of September in the Year 1901 for Emma Fisher.” Emma was the older sister of Salome and Susie, born in 1879.

Family registers done in needlework and in ink and watercolor on paper are significant indications of the impor­tance placed by the Amish culture on the value of family as a cohesive unit. They are also survivals in the early twentieth century of a decora­tive arts form and cultural practice in America of the first half of the nineteenth century.

A quilt recently acquired by the Heritage Center of Lancas­ter County offers insight into the emergence of a particular quilt pattern within Lancaster County’s Amish community. Executed in a “Baskets” pat­tern, the wool and cotton quilt was made in the eastern sec­tion of the county about 1938-1940. This particular pattern was not widely popular among Amish quiltmakers in Lancas­ter County, and it has been possible to trace the dissemi­nation of this pattern among a family of the community’s quiltmakers. The maker of the Heritage Center’s “Baskets” quilt copied the pattern from a similar quilt which belonged to her mother’s sister. Several other related Amish “Baskets” pattern quilts are known to exist, including another nearly identical example made by the same maker.

The second quilt obtained by the Heritage Center was created in New Holland by an Amish quiltmaker who worked during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Amish quilts typically saw hard use, and as a result it is difficult to find early examples in conditions suitable for exhi­bition. This quilt’s pieced wool and fabric is grey-blue, with a large center square bordered in maroon. Its outer border is also grey-blue edged in bur­gundy. One feature, unusual in Amish quiltmaking, was the addition of small appliqued blocks at each corner of the maroon square. The maker quilted flowers and a waffle design in the large center square, and a flowing pattern of grapevines, grapes and leaves on the outer border.

The set of a half-dozen paint-decorated plank seat side chairs bear painted sur­faces and ornament applied by Mary Lapp, a recognized Amish artist of Lancaster County. Although their maker is unknown, the chairs are important documents of the transfer of goods between generations of Amish families at the time of marriage. In­scribed in manuscript and decorative lettering on the underside of each chair is the history of ownership. “John Berbey 1860” and “Mary E. Stoltzfus 1899” appear in pen­cil, followed by “Aaron Stoltz­fus 1933” in decorative lettering on the line below.

The original owner of the chairs, John Berbey (1837-1906), received the d1airs as a gift upon his marriage to Su­sanna Lapp on January 19, 1860. They passed to his daughter, Mary Berbey, who wed Samuel Stoltzfus in 1899. In 1933, artist Mary Lapp, a member of the same Old Or­der Amish as Mary Berbey Stoltzfus, redecorated the chairs for her to present to son Aaron Stoltzfus upon his marriage.

The objects are gifts of the James Hale Steinman Founda­tion.

For additional information, write: Heritage Center of Lan­caster County, Penn Sq., Box 997, Lancaster, PA 17603; or telephone (717) 299-6440.


Dr. Engle’s Clock

Dr. Stephen D. Engle of Hazleton, Luzerne County, worked for two decades before completing his monumental timepiece – standing eleven feet tall and nine feet wide – in 1877. The famous Engle Clock, the first of what have been called “monumental clocks” by horologists, spawned similar mechanisms that celebrated the mechanical, technical and artistic abilities of American craftsmen by employing patri­otic and religious themes in­corporated into a variety of functions. The Engle Clock, for example, involves forty­-eight moving figures, each measuring ten inches tall, including the twelve apostles with Christ, the three biblical Marys, Orpheus and Linus, and Molly Pitcher with Conti­nental soldiers from the battle of Monmouth. Two separate organ movements play at regular intervals, and an or­rery shows a representation of the constellations in relation­ship to the earth at any given time. The piece is one of only six American monumental clocks known to exist today.

For many years the Engle Clock traveled on display throughout the East Coast, and as far south as New Or­leans and as far west as Ohio. On January 14, 1878, the York Record reported that, “The exhibition of this famous clock in York [Pennsylvania] closed on Saturday night. Notwith­standing the several days of very inclement weather, the exhibition was exceedingly well patronized by the citizens of York and vicinity. During the week there were 7,982 cash admissions, and this flattering result, under the circum­stances, goes far to show the intrinsic merit of the dock, and also that the public were not humbugged.”

A month later, the Philadel­phia Inquirer noted that the “celebrated Engle Clock, which embraces many more mechanical movements than the world famed Strasbourg clock, will not be exhibited in this city longer than this week, owing to engagements else­where, after which Captain Reid proposes to beard the lion in his den by taking his clock to Strasbourg for the purpose of showing the Stras­bourgers that their clock is not much after all, as a Pennsylva­nia Dutchman (Mr. Engle, the inventor) will submit his clock as a Yankee nut worth crack­ing.”

It has not been documented that the Engle Clock actually toured Strasbourg, or if it ever left the United States, with Capt. J. Reid, its owner and manager of what was billed as the “Eighth Wonder Exhibi­tion.” However, numerous newspaper articles and abun­dant ephemera and memorabi­lia testify to its popularity, as well as to the public’s seem­ingly insatiable curiosity and fascination. A first edition of the Engle Clock Times, edited by Reid’s wife and published in New York in August 1878, contained a poem entitled “The Eighth Wonder, Or Engle Clock.”

All honor to the distant lands beyond the boundless sea;
We offer homage where ’tis due, nor dream of rivalry.
We represent their nations, and beneath our flag’s broad fold
Fraternally their noblest sons are gathered and enrolled.
We boast no skies of Italy in this, our study clime,
No orange bowers, no myrtle groves, no endless summer time,
But kingly thrones are shadowed by blessed Plymouth Rock,
And we challenge even
Stras­bourg with our Pennsylvania Clock.

All honor to the Keystone State­ – her name shall ever be
Emblazoned on the scroll of Fame – oh, wondrous Clock, with thee.
All honor to thy sons of toil, who number in their band
royal brain, a royal skill, a royal fashioning hand.
A very
King of Art – whose crown shall none the less endure,
Because its gems are laurel leaves – Honor, its “Koh-i­-noor.”
Kingdoms decline, and thrones must fall beneath the battle’s schock,
Still we challenge
all the World with our Pennsylvania Clock.

According to an autobio­graphical sketch written in 1878, Stephen D. Engle was born in Sybertsville, Luzerne County, in 1837. The son of a “watch-tinker,” the boy was fascinated by tools, and at the age of twelve learned to make pottery at the nearby shop of Nicholas Fulroth. He left home at sixteen and lived in Scran­ton for two and a half years but returned to work for a brother in Hazleton. Shortly after his father’s death, he moved to Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) in neighboring Carbon County, where he worked for a J. C Dolan. Rest­less, he moved to nearby White Haven where he stayed for two years. Following yet another move – this time back to Hazleton – Engle “practiced dentistry, made watch-cases, gold chains, and jewelry, and kept experimenting with me­chanical organs and mechani­cal movements for clocks, till satisfied that I could make a successful Apostolic Clock. I calculated wheel trains, and made figures and drawings of the astronomical arrangement till I almost went mad. During the last year before its comple­tion, I had no night or day, but slept when I was sleepy, and ate when I was hungry, with­out paying any regard to old Sol. This injured my eyesight so that I could scarcely see to work, but I went to D. Strawbridge, Philadelphia, and had my sight corrected, so that I am now good for more clocks.”

The monumental clock, stored in barns in New En­gland for forty years before its acquisition by the Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Lancaster County, in 1988, has been painstakingly restored by museum staff and volunteers. It has been recently placed on view at the museum as a per­manent installation.

Administered by the Na­tional Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), the Watch and Clock Museum is open Tues­day through Saturday, from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. There is a charge for admission, and guided group tours are availa­ble by reservation. For addi­tional information, write: Watch and Clock Museum, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, 514 Pop­lar St., Columbia, PA 17512; or telephone (717) 684-8261.


Light, Air and Color

In the late nineteenth cen­tury, American artists began experimenting with the revolu­tionary tenets of French im­pressionism, which focused on the transitory aspects of nat­ure, especially light and its relationship to color. To accom­plish their goal, the impres­sionists primarily worked out of doors (en plein air) to capture the illusion of forms, drenched in light and interpreted through a continually chang­ing atmosphere.

Impressionism first arrived at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – the nation’s oldest art museum and school – at the annual exhibition of 1892, and became firmly rooted during Harrison S. Morris’ directorship from 1892 until 1905. Morris’ astute­ness and taste for contempo­rary painting had a direct impact on the Academy’s col­lecting and teaching practices. During his tenure, the institu­tion acquired its outstanding impressionist works, including Robert Vonnoh’s November (1890),Theodore Robinson’s Port Ben, Delaware and Hudson Canal (1893) and Joseph DeCamp’s The Little Hotel (1903).

Nearly a century after its arrival at the venerable Phila­delphia museum, impression­ism is celebrated in a major exhibition entitled “Light, Air and Color: American Impres­sionist Paintings from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy.” Showcasing more than fifty masterworks by master painters, such as Childe Hassam, John Twach­tman, Edmund C. Tarbell, Ernest Lawson, William Glack­ens, Vonnoh and Robinson, the exhibition features many paintings that are rarely on view to the public.

“Light, Air and Color: American Impressionist Paint­ings from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy” is divided thematically into three areas. The first, “Impres­sionism Arrives at the Acad­emy,” highlights Harrison Morris’ initial purchases, as well as J. Alden Weir’s Midday Rest in New England (1897) and Cecilia Beaux’s New England Woman (1895), among others. “Pennsylvania Impressionists” includes works by artists Wil­liam R. Lathrop, Walter Elmer Schofield, Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield and Charles Morris Young who, in the decade prior to World War I, formed their own identifiable regional school. Many of these artists concentrated on land­scape painting in the New Hope area of Bucks County. The final section, “The Legacy of Impressionism,” features impressionist works of the teens and twenties. The Crim­son Rambler (1908) by Philip Leslie Hale and Seated Nude (1920) by Frederick Carl Frieseke are early examples of a trend toward figuration painted in the impressionist style.

In the 1920s, the modernist art movements, which had originally developed in Eu­rope, began influencing the work of American painters. Throughout the decade, how­ever, impressionism held firm at the Academy. Although it no longer expressed the most avant-garde thought, it did preserve idealized pastoral landscapes and radiated hap­piness and hope, the very ideals of bourgeois family life. Today, the appeal of impres­sionist works by American painters-reflected by record auction prices and landmark museum exhibitions-proves that these ideals are still cher­ished.

“Light, Color and Air: American Impressionist Paint­ings from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy” will remain on view through April 14, 1991. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, 11 A .M. to 5 P.M. There is an admission charge.

The exhibit is accompanied by a 76-page catalogue.

Additional information may be obtained by writing: Penn­sylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Broad and Cherry Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19102; or by telephoning (215) 972-7600 or 972-7642.


Legacy in Light

As part of the nationwide celebration of 150 years of photography in America, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of more than 100 of the most beautiful and significant photographs drawn from the collections of 25 public institutions through­out the Delaware Valley. Enti­tled “Legacy in Light: Photographic Treasures from Philadelphia Area Public Col­lections,” the exhibition in­cludes pieces lent by the Library Company of Philadel­phia, the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the Franklin Insti­tute, the Pennsylvania State Archives and the Philadelphia Maritime Museum among others.

The images included in “Legacy in Light: Photo­graphic Treasures from Phila­delphia Area Public Collections” will introduce visitors to the incredible rich­ness and variety of local collec­tions. The earliest image is a daguerreotype portrait made in December 1839 – the year the process was patented – by Robert Cornelius, who estab­lished the first photographic studio in Philadelphia. Other pieces were selected to reveal both the importance of Phila­delphia photographers in the history of the medium and the wide-ranging interest of early collectors. They include a panorama of the Centennial Exhibition held in Fairmount Park in 1876; a hand-colored portrait of a young girl by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland; documentary images of the excavation of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, made by Desire Charnay in the early 1860s; William Bradford’s 1873 book of the arctic regions; and a series on Native Americans, photographed in Washington, D.C., in the 1860s. Images of special interest include an American Indian portrait by the well­-known Edward S. Curtis and a portrait of artist John Sloan by Gertrude Kasbier. Although “Legacy in Light” consists primarily of nineteenth cen­tury photographs, early twentieth century masters, such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston and Paul Strand, are also featured.

The exhibition features images by artists and writers, such as a photograph used by the Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins as a study for his painting, The Swimming Hole. Historical views of Phila­delphia include a 12-foot bird’s eye view of the city made about 1850 by the Langenheim brothers and an 1848 daguerre­otype of Girard College by W. S. Porter.

“Legacy in Light: Photo­graphic Treasures from Phila­delphia Area Collections” will remain on view through Sun­day, August 12 [1990]. The exhibition is accompanied by an illus­trated catalogue edited by Kenneth Finkel, curator of prints for the Library Com­pany of Philadelphia, who organized the show. It is presented as part of the Photogra­phy Sesquicentennial Project, a year-long series of programs, exhibitions and special events relating to photography at regional museums, galleries and educational institutions.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is charged.

Additional information regarding “Legacy in Light,” group tour reservations and related activities is available by writing: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Parkway at Twenty­-Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19101; or by telephoning (215) 763-8100 or 787-5431.


Moon Rediscovered

The Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society has mounted a major exhibition to document the life, times and work of Samuel Moon, an artist who lived and painted in Northampton County between 1830 and 1860.

Entitled “Samuel Moon Rediscovered,” the exhibit features an extensive selection of Samuel Moon’s portraits, some of which have never before been publicly exhibited.

Born near Philadelphia in 1805, Moon attended a Quaker school in Chester County and later worked at his father’s wood shop in New Hope, Bucks County, decorating furniture. In 1830, he moved to Easton, Northampton County seat, and set up a studio on the north side of Centre Square where he worked until his death at the age of fifty-five in 1860. In addition to painting many family portraits, Moon also executed copies of Old Masters and original land­scapes and miniatures. His work attracted much attention and many commissions for portraits throughout eastern Pennsylvania. In the 1920 edition of History of Northamp­ton County, author William J. Heller described Samuel Moon as one of the Commonwealth’s “most prominent artists.” Heller noted that, upon open­ing his studio in Easton, Moon’s “fame as a painter soon spread abroad, and he was frequently called to Phila­delphia and other cities and towns in Eastern Pennsylvania to paint portraits …” Old newspapers contain references to exhibitions Moon held at the old Northampton County Courthouse when it was lo­cated at Centre Square.

Samuel Moon married Matilda White, daughter of William (“Chipp”) White II, prominent Easton resident and innkeeper, whose portrait is now owned by Lafayette Col­lege. It was at White’s tavern in 1824 that a group of Easton businessmen met to discuss the founding of Lafayette College; the college’s board of trustees gathered for the first time at the tavern on May 15, 1826.

Samuel and Matilda Moon’s family – the couple had eight children – was linked by mar­riage to such well-known county residents as Dr. Wil­liam White Cottingham, su­perintendent of Easton schools from 1853 to 1913; William White Moon, associated with the Glendon Iron Works; and John Andrew Miller, son of Conrad Miller of Nazareth.

“Samuel Moon Rediscov­ered” will continue through Sunday, September 30 [1990]. Visit­ing hours are Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 4 P.M. There is an admission charge.

Additional information is available by writing: North­ampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, 101 South Fourth St., Easton, PA 18042; or by telephoning (215) 253-1222.


Toys and Games

Nearly two hundred toys and games, old and new, illus­trate a century of change in ethnic images – from crude nineteenth century stereotypes to recent “ethnically correct” dolls and computer game heroes and villains – in an exhibit entitled “Ethnic Images in Toys and Games” now on view at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia.

“Ethnic Images in Toys and Games” presents a wide vari­ety of children’s objects rang­ing from century old cast iron mechanical banks to Michael Jackson personality dolls and working video and pinball games to illustrate that such toys and games are, indeed, more than playthings. De­signed to provide for visitor participation, the exhibit will demonstrate how ethnic im­ages in toys and games not only reflect the attitudes of the dominant culture which man­ufactures them, but also mold the attitudes of the children who unwittingly use them.

Stereotypes are a means of imposing uniformity on a group of people without re­gard to individual differences. Negative stereotypes are born out of fear of differences and distinctiveness. Since the Civil Rights era, as the exhibition graphically demonstrates, most of the blatantly offensive ethnic images of the past have been reversed. “Dapper Dan the Coon Nigger,” “Hopping Nutty Mad Indian,” “Paddy and the Pig,” and “The New Game of Ah Sin the Heathen Chinee,” three mechanical toys and a card game, would be unthinkable today. By provid­ing an understanding of the origins and intent of such negative images within the contexts of their periods, “Eth­nic Images in Toys and Games” teaches visitors about the American past and helps them gain insight into the messages being conveyed by the toys of today.

Museums and private col­lectors have loaned antique dolls, tin toys, rare mechanical banks and beautifully litho­graphed nineteenth century board and card games. Together with twentieth century dolls and toys, such as Maggie and Jiggs, Amos ‘n’ Andy, and Mr. T., this selection presents the history of ethnic images in an important area of popular culture. More than fifteen ethnic groups are represented in objects dating from about 1840 to the present.

To carry out its mission of promoting greater intergroup understanding, the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies has organized three previous exhi­bitions on the subject of ethnic stereotyping: “Ethnic Images in Advertising,” “Ethnic Im­ages in the Comics” and “Eth­nic Images in World War I Posters.” They have – as does the current exhibition­ – examined the use of ethnic and racial stereotypes in signif­icant parts of the social envi­ronment.

Accompanied by an illus­trated catalogue, “Ethnic Im­ages in Toys and Games” will remain on view through Satur­day, October 13 [1990].

Visiting hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is charged.

For additional information, write: Balch Institute for Eth­nic Studies, 18 South Seventh St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 925-8090.


Industrial Images

A new exhibition exploring the work of four industrial photographers in Pennsylva­nia, “A Century of Industrial Images, 1889-1989,” is on view at the Canal Museum in Eas­ton, Northampton County. Showcasing the work of George Bretz, William H. Rau, George Harvan and Joseph Elliott, the exhibit examines and interprets the evolution of northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite mining, railroading and ferrous metals industries throughout a period spanning one hundred years.

Each photographer repre­sented in “A Century of Industrial Images, 1889-1989,” claims individual distinction. George Bretz (1842-1910) was the earli­est Pennsylvania photographer to successfully make pictures in a working underground mine. William H. Rau (1855- 1920) displayed a remarkable talent for the artistic integra­tion of railroad and industrial structures in the natural land­scape. The contemporary work of Lansford, Carbon County, photographer George Harvan deals with the emotional rela­tionships between hard coal miners and steel workers with their working environment. Joseph Elliott’s work during the last two decades – which has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Parsons School of Design and the Al­lentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley – exhibits a keen fascination for the interplay of mass and shadow, which em­phasizes the monumentality of industrial facilities.

“A Century of Industrial Images, 1889-1989,” features selections drawn from the Canal Museum’s holdings of works by George Bretz and William H Rau, and photo­graphs from the personal collections of George Harvan and Joseph Elliott. The exhibit, continuing through Sunday, September 30 [1990], is part of the Photography Sesquicentennial Project, a consortium of more than seventy-five Philadelphia area institutions celebrating one hundred and fifty years of photography in Pennsylvania. (For a complete account of the development of photography in Philadelphia, including illustrations of early works by Rau, George Bacon Wood, Robert Cornelius, Marcus Root and James Landy, see “A Spe­cial Place for Photography” by Kenneth Finkel in the fall 1989 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage.)

The Canal Museum is lo­cated on Route 611, south of U.S. Route 22 in Easton. For additional information, write: Canal Museum, Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums, 200 South Delaware Dr., P. O. Box 877, Easton, PA 18044-0877; or telephone (215) 250-6700.