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.

A Collector Collects

Henry Plumer McIlhenny (1910-1986), world-renowned art collector, respected mu­seum curator, philanthropist and active Philadelphian, devoted more than a half-century of service to the Phila­delphia Museum of Art as curator, trustee and chairman. Scion of one of Philadelphia’s leading families, he was the son of John D. McIlhenny, president of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1920 to 1925, and Frances G. Plumer McIlhenny, who served as a trustee. His sister, Bernice McIlhenny Wintersteen, served as president of the museum from 1964 to 1968 and was a member of the board of trustees at the time of her death in 1986. The McIlhenny family’s gifts and bequests to the Philadelphia Museum of Art have included important collections of Oriental rugs, European paintings and decorative arts.

To showcase one of the finest private collections as­sembled in the country during this century, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has mounted an exhibition entitled “The Henry P. McIlhenny Collec­tion,” on view through January 17, 1988. More than three hun­dred of the four hundred objects willed by the well-known collector to the museum show the full range and variety of works of art in the collection. McIlhenny applied his broad knowledge and discriminating eye to assembling an astonishing collection of nineteenth century French paintings and drawings, as well as important groups of European and American decorative arts. “The Henry P. McIlhenny Collec­tion” demonstrates in poignant detail the superb quality which characterized his con­noisseurship.

As curator, McIlhenny’s acquisitions for the Philadel­phia Museum of Art included significant collections of Conti­nental porcelain and silver, several architectural interiors and the celebrated suite of “Constantine” tapestries de­signed by Peter Paul Rubens for a gift from Louis XIII to Cardinal Barbarina. For the museum Mcilhenny also ac­quired the Titus C. Geesey Collection of Pennsylvania­German art and a major gift of Shaker furniture and objects.

Henry P. McIlhenny’s col­lection of French paintings was among the most distinguished in the country. Begun with the purchase of a still life by Char­din in the early 1930s, it even­tually included outstanding works by masters of the nine­teenth and early twentieth centuries, from Ingres to Matisse. During his lifetime, he gave many major works of art to the museum.

“The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection” showcases works of art by the masters of two centuries, such as Jacques Louis David, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Henri Matisse. The exhibition also features stunning exam­ples of late neoclassical French furniture, eighteenth century Irish rococo furniture, Irish silver, Anglo-Indian ivory furniture, a selection of eight­eenth century French gold boxes and marble sculptures.

A color-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Additional information regarding “The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection” is avail­able by writing: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Twenty­-Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19101; or by telephoning (215) 763-8100.


A Marietta Christmas

A prime example of a small mid-nineteenth century indus­trial town, located in Lancaster County on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, will again be the focus of a Christmas Candlelight Tour this year. The tour of Marietta enables visi­tors to view well-maintained structures in a town that reflects the social diversity com­mon to industrial towns of the period. The buildings range from lumber and iron com­pany operators’ homes to workers’ homes, with the styles ranging from Federal to Second Empire and Queen

Marietta’s history began in 1715, but the creation of the town did not occur until 1812, when two communities merged. Local history holds that the name Marietta was formed from the first names of Mary Anderson and Henrietta Cook, the wives of James Anderson, the founder of Waterford, and David Cook, the founder of New Haven, the two communities that merged. The main street of Marietta, Market Street, still reflects the merger of the communities. An “S” curve in the street marks the juncture of the main streets of the communities and evidences how their street plans did not match.

The first significant industry of Marietta was lumber, with the town having four lumber mills. With the lumber which floated down the Sus­quehanna River came a large number of sojourners who gave the town a dubious reputation, particularly along Front Street. The Front Street struc­tures are mostly built of wood, usually with clapboard siding, in the Federal style. These structures were residences, shops and taverns for the lumber men. Market Street, only one block north of Front Street, became the site of Marietta’s more prosperous citizens’ homes, which are large and quite impressive, reflecting the town’s affluence. These structures range in style from Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate to the “Stick” (or “Carpenter Gothic”).

Additional industrial growth was provided by the Pennsylvania Canal, built between 1825 and 1830, and later by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was, though, the iron industry which gave Marietta its greatest wealth and promi­nence. Several iron-producing furnaces were built near Ma­rietta during the mid­-nineteenth century. The town suffered a drastic economic decline after 1875, from which it did not recover. The steel industry replaced the small iron furnaces and the lumber trade slackened. Little struc­tural change occurred in Ma­rietta during the early twentieth century so that the town has an unusually large number of extant nineteenth century edifices. When resto­ration efforts were started during the 1960s, many of the buildings were still in their original state due to the lack­luster economy of the town after 1875.

Besides several residences, four buildings will also be open especially for this day. The Borough Hall, originally named Central Hall, was built in 1874 as a three story struc­ture with each floor being built by and for different organizations. The first floor was for use by the justice of the peace, the fire department, Post Of­fice, and town council. The Central Hall Association built the second floor for meetings and shows, and the Odd Fellows built the third floor for its meetings and lodge rooms. A fire destroyed the third floor about 1920. The Union Meeting House, the town’s earliest religious structure, was built in 1818 and is also open. Musical performers will entertain visi­tors there. The Marietta The­atre, the oldest movie theatre in Lancaster County, will feature old silent films. The fourth building open wi1l be the Town Hall Museum, which was built in 1847. The first floor was used as the seat of local government, the second floor as a school room, and the third floor was owned by the Sons of Temperance. The first floor now houses a collection of artifacts of Lancaster Coun­ty’s past.

The historic structures will be open on Sunday, December 6, 1987, from 1 to 7 P.M. Ad­mission will be charged. Walks through the town will provide visitors a view of the variety of style which reflects the variations of the structure of the society found in an industrial town, whose economic focus was lumber, iron and the canal. For additional informa­tion, write: Marietta Restoration Associates, P.O. Box 3, Marietta, PA 17547; or telephone (717) 426-3377 or (717) 426-3407.


Restoring an Architectural Treasure

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Henry Clay Frick – president of the H. C. Frick Coke Company and chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company – was a leading Pittsburgh businessman and capitalist. In 1882, the year he became industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s partner, he purchased a large Victorian era residence from the widow of Benjamin Vandervoort, a prosperous business leader. Called Clayton, the house had been built between 1866 and 1870 by the Vandervoort family at 7200 Penn Avenue in the outlying Point Breeze section of the city, which was becoming a fashionable retreat for the affluent.

Only eight years after he purchased the magnificent structure, Frick engaged a young Pittsburgh architect, Frederick J. Osterling, to re­model the structure. The exte­rior, originally a restrained Italianate style, was transformed into a fashionable chateauesque style in the manner of Richard Morris Hunt, architect for some of America’s wealthiest families and creator of their opulent palaces in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island. After Osterling’s extensive renovation in 1891-1892, Frick erected a children’s playhouse – a two-story brick building with a small bowling alley – and an ornate glass conservatory in 1897. In 1955, Helen Clay Frick, his third child born in 1888, constructed a building on the grounds to house the family’s collection of carriages, automobiles and sleds. During the same year she also built the Frick Art Museum to showcase her outstanding collection of Italian, Flemish and French fine and decorative arts.

Clayton served as the Fricks’ primary residence until they moved to New York City in 1905. However, Helen Clay Frick chose the twenty-three room mansion as the site of her debut three years later. It was at Clayton that Miss Frick enjoyed the splendor of the late Victorian period and where she received her early classical education.

On the death of Henry Clay Frick in 1919, Clayton was bequeathed to his daughter, who maintained it as it had been during her father’s life­time. She kept Clayton as her residence until her death in 1984.

Helen Clay Frick – a woman of indomitable spirit and strong family pride – devoted much of her life to philan­thropic and charitable activi­ties, many of which were international in scope. Charac­teristic of her generosity, she left Clayton to the Helen Clay Frick Foundation to maintain and administer as a historic­-house museum. During the next two years, Clayton will be restored to reflect not only a particularly interesting chapter in Pittsburgh’s distinguished industrial history, but to show­case the domestic setting of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs in the history of the United States.

The extensive restoration program includes not only the preservation of Clayton, but for an overall schematic design for the Frick estate. Upon completion of the program, the historic-house museum will be opened to the public.

Additional information regarding the restoration of Clayton and future activities may be obtained by writing: Helen Clay Frick Foundation, P.O. Box 86190, Pittsburgh, PA 15221; or by telephoning (412) 371-0600.


Industrialist’s Papers Acquired

Ranked as one of the most important individuals in the history of nineteenth century iron and steel manufacture, industrialist John Fritz (1822-1913) was an individual of towering technological achievement, a community leader and a philanthropist blessed with foresight and vision. Through his development of the “three high” rail rolling mill, the utilization of the English Bessemer process for manufacturing steel and the development of heavy steel forging, John Fritz helped make possible the rapid expan­sion of railroads, the creation of the American steel industry and the construction of the country’s first warships during the nineteenth century.

Born in Chester County, John Fritz played a pivotal role in the growth of the Cambria Iron Company at Johnstown and the Bethlehem Steel Com­pany, Bethlehem. Under his supervision, the Cambria Iron Works became the largest iron and steel works in the United States during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. Induced by a gener­ous contract offered by the Bethlehem Rolling Mills and Iron Company in 1860, Fritz and his family moved to the Lehigh Valley that summer. With the promise of financial security and assurances of management independence, Fritz began designing and supervising the construction of the company’s facilities at Bethlehem. He was one of a small group of dedicated indi­viduals that confronted and resolved seemingly over­whelming technical difficulties to firmly establish a bonafide American steel industry. Un­der his guidance, Bethlehem became the steel-making center of the United States. Even­tually, the facilities were expanded to include the man­ufacture of weaponry.

Although John Fritz retired from active management of the Bethlehem Iron Company’s facilities in 1892, the plant and management system he had developed continued to grow. The company, by the time it underwent reorganization seven years later and emerged as the Bethlehem Steel Com­pany, employed more than seven thousand workers and its products set international standards.

John Fritz’s labors not only centered on his beloved Beth­lehem Iron Company. He also played a key role in the foundation and development of various educational, religious and cultural institutions. He served as a trustee of Lehigh University for thirty-five years and funded the design and construction of a modern engi­neering laboratory. His death in 1913 brought a close to an outstanding professional and philanthropic career.

An extraordinary collection of documents, photographs, architectural plans and arti­facts which chronicle the career of John Fritz – as well as those of his brothers, George and Will – was recently do­nated to the Canal Museum in Easton. The collection contains the surviving personal records of the Fritz brothers, all of whom made significant contri­butions to the growth of Amer­ican technology. George worked with John at Cambria, sharing the credit for nurtur­ing the American steel indus­try, while Will developed the iron industry in the South by operating a rolling mill de­signed by his brothers at Chat­tanooga, Tennessee.

Items selected from the Fritz Collection formed the basis of recent exhibits at the Canal Museum and at the Annie S. Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem. The collection also complements the immense Bethlehem Steel Corporation Historical Collection acquired by the Canal Museum in 1984. Information gleaned from the collection also aided the publi­cation of a recent study, John Fritz and the Growth of the American Iron and Steel Industry.

Students and scholars inter­ested in materials contained in the Fritz Collection are asked to 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.


Clockwork Toys

Continuing through Janu­ary 9, 1988, the Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Lancaster County, is featuring a holiday exhibit capturing the spirit of childhood dreams, “Timeless Clockwork: Clock­work Toys, 1860-1942.” The exhibit demonstrates the boundless imagination of early toy makers.

Not to be confused with simpler “wind-up” toys, the exhibition pieces use an actual geared mechanism similar to clock movements for their animation. Several even use more than one clockwork element for a complex combi­nation of movements. The clockwork toys use a heavy­-gauge mainspring – similar to that commonly found in nine­teenth century clocks – as opposed to the simple gear and spring mechanism of the “wind-up” toy, which seldom withstands long periods of play as does the clockwork mechanism.

One of the earliest manu­facturers of clockwork toys in the United States was George Brown of Bristol, Connecticut. Brown actually enjoyed a ca­reer as a clockmaker before manufacturing toys in 1857. He combined painted tin with clockwork mechanisms to make trains, chariots and animated figures.

“Timeless Clockwork: Clockwork Toys, 1860-1942,” showcases more than forty rare examples examining the inventiveness of their makers. One outstanding piece is a nattily dressed rabbit – in silk jacket and tie – driving a tin­plate car with fine, hand­-painted decoration. The rabbit’s head moves from side to side, while its left arm raises a pair of spectacles to its eyes. The object was manufactured in France about 1890. Another noteworthy piece on display is the “General Grant Smoker,” patented in 1877, which may have once been used as an advertising object. Seated in a chair, the general moves his hand to his mouth, puffs a cigar, turns his head to one side and blows a series of perfect smoke rings. Other specimens in the exhibit in­clude a clown which stands two feet high, a walking ele­phant, an animated lion, jig figures, trains, boats and cars. Famous American makers’ names – particularly Hubley and Ives – are represented in “Timeless Clockwork.”

Visiting hours at the Watch and Clock Museum are Tues­day through Friday, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M.; Saturday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is charged.

Administered by the Na­tional Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), the museum is located midway between York and Lancaster.

For more information, write: Watch and Clock Mu­seum, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, 514 Poplar St., Columbia, PA 17512-2124; or telephone (717) 684-8261.


Photographing Hershey

On February 14, 1988, the Hershey Museum of American Life will inaugurate its fiftieth anniversary year by opening an exhibit entitled “Through the Camera’s Lens: Photo­graphs of Hershey, 1903-1960.” Providing an exceptionally interesting view of the past, many of the photographs have been printed directly from glass-plate negatives selected from a collection recently ac­quired by the museum. Sev­eral images have never before been publicly exhibited.

A recent exhibit depicting the life of Milton S. Hershey, entitled “The Man Behind the Chocolate Bar,” prompted community residents not asso­ciated with the museum to come forward with objects and photographs related to the chocolate magnate. The photo­graphs enabled museum cura­tors to expand the knowledge about Hershey – both the indi­vidual and the community­ – and provided the impetus for this year’s anniversary exhibit.

“Through the Camera’s Lens” features one hundred photographs. The prints vary greatly in size, from small, intimate portraits to large-scale views measuring several feet in width and height. Taken by a cadre of professional photogra­phers, the quality of the pic­tures is excellent. The exhibit features the work of Paul Ul­rich of Lebanon, who often received specific instructions from Milton S. Hershey re­garding subjects and views to be photographed.

The theme of the exhibit is “Hershey, a place to work, a place to live, a place to play,” and the images convey a fasci­nating portrayal of a unique community that fulfilled those needs. Captured on film dur­ing the last half-century, the development of Hershey as a planned community will emerge for the visitor. The Dauphin County community’s growth is well documented by photographs of its buildings and structures, many of which were photographed during construction.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Hershey Museum will sponsor a contest for ama­teur photographers whose pictures have been taken since 1960.

“Through the Camera’s Lens: Photographs of Hershey, 1903-1960,” will be on view through May 16, 1988.

More information regarding the exhibit and the museum, located adjacent to Hershey­Park, may be obtained by writing: Hershey Museum of American Life, P.O. Box 170, Hershey, PA 17033; or by tele­phoning (717) 534-3439. Ad­mission is charged.


Yours Truly, Harry C. Trexler

Yours Truly, Harry C. Trexler, a short dramatic documentary about one of the Lehigh Val­ley’s most illustrious citizens and leading philanthropists, has recently been completed and released by the Lehigh County Historical Society headquartered in Allentown. The 35mm, forty minute film is the largest of its type to have been produced in the area. Beginning with General Trex­ler’s demise in 1933, the film offers a series of vignettes that connect the highlights of his life with the current landscape of the Lehigh Valley.

Written and directed by a local award-winning produc­tion company, Yours Truly documents the general’s in­volvement with almost every aspect of Lehigh County and its seat of government, Allen­town, including the parks system, academic institutions, businesses, industries and recreational facilities. Most importantly, the film illustrates the way in which his provision of considerable sums of money has ensured that his great humanitarian work be contin­ued long after his death.

During his lifetime, Gen. Harry C. Trexler was the sec­ond wealthiest individual in Pennsylvania and ranked tenth in wealth in the United States. Much like many philanthro­pists of the day, he was a self­-made man whose life story was hallmarked by success. Born on April 17, 1854, in Easton, Northampton County, he resided mostly in Allen­town, where his father owned a lumber company. The young Trexler’s first venture was to transform the company into an unparalleled nationwide con­cern, with extensive tracts of timber and networks of saw­mills in Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. He established huge distribution yards at Portsmouth, Virginia, and Newark, New Jersey.

In 1897, with Col. E.M. Young and George Ormrod, he organized the Lehigh Portland Cement Company, which became one of the largest manufacturers of cement in the world. He assisted with the centralization of Pennsyl­vania Power and Light in Al­lentown, and advocated construction of the company’s office building – the city’s only skyscraper – in the 1920s. He is credited with forming numer­ous organizations in the county seat, as well as throughout the region. He served as trustee on countless boards and associations, and actively participated in various military activities as brigadier general of the Pennsylvania National Guard. When he died on November 17, 1933, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, he left his estate in the hands of five trustees; today his trust pro­vides funding for nearly seventy-five organizations each year.

Well known for his success in commerce, it is the beautifi­cation of his beloved city for which he is most widely recog­nized. Trexler purchased lots and developed them as West Park and the Fish Hatchery on the Little Lehigh Parkway. Springwood, his distinctive summer house, with its sur­rounding grounds designed to resemble an English park, is today Trexler Park. His pas­sions were the Trexler Or­chards and Game Preserve, which harbor the same tran­quility for visitors today as they did for the general and his wife, Mary, a half-century ago.

Yours Truly, Harry C. Trexler, printed in 16mm and video­tape formats, is available to schools, community groups, Libraries, chambers of com­merce, historical societies, neighborhood organizations and theaters throughout the Commonwealth. For informa­tion regarding the loan of the film, requests should be di­rected to: Lehigh County Historical Society, Old Court House, Hamilton and Fifth Sts., Allentown, PA 18101; or telephone (215) 435-1074.


The Scott Arboretum

Established in 1929 on the grounds of Swarthmore Col­lege as a Living memorial to Arthur Hoyt Scott (class of 1895) by his family, the Scott Arboretum provides a display of the best ornamental plants recommended for gardens in the Delaware Valley. Five thou­sand different types of plants thrive throughout the one hundred and ten acre sanctu­ary. They were selected for their outstanding ornamental qualities, ease of maintenance and resistance to disease.

The major plant collections of the Scott Arboretum include flowering cherries, crabapples, lilacs, magnolias, native aza­leas, wisteria and tree peonies. Other seasonal highlights are the Rose Garden and the Fra­grant Garden. The arboretum also serves as a test site for major plant evaluation pro­grams of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, the Uni­versity of British Columbia Botanic Garden and the Na­tional Crabapple Evaluation Program.

The Scott Arboretum con­tains the James R. Frorer Holly Collection, donated by an ardent holly enthusiast and college alumnus. Designated an official Holly Arboretum by the Holly Society of America, the collection features more than two hundred different species, cultivars and hybrids.

On Saturday, December 5 [1987], the Scott Arboretum will host a “Holly Festival” at the Friends Meeting House in Swarthmore. The festival will include a lecture on the identi­fication of hollies and their use in the landscape, a propaga­tion workshop and a tour of the Frorer Collection. The one day event will be held from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

For additional details re­garding the arboretum and special public programs, write: Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081; or telephone (215) 328-8025.

The grounds of the Scott Arboretum are open daily, from dusk to dawn. Admission is free and guided tours are available by advance reservation.


Celebrating Christmas in Philadel­phia

Seven of the historic houses of Fairmount Park in Philadel­phia will be decorated by area garden clubs in the style of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and open for the holiday season from Saturday, December 5 [1987], to Sunday, De­cember 13 [1987]. In keeping with the theme of celebrating the bicen­tennial of the U.S. Constitu­tion, each house will be decorated as if it were ready to welcome guests to a party.

Decorations by the ten garden clubs selected to fes­toon the historic houses will be judged by an accredited panel, and winners will be awarded ribbons. The garden clubs will follow strict guide­lines to insure that the decora­tions will be in keeping with those used by eighteenth and nineteenth century families. Only fresh, dried plant materi­als and ornaments appropriate to the period may be used; plastic and artificial materials are not permitted in the deco­rating schemes.

Decorated for the holidays and open this year are Straw­berry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Sweetbriar, Mount Pleasant, Lemon Hill and Woodford.

To celebrate the Constitu­tion’s bicentennial in a festive manner, Strawberry Mansion will be decorated for a ball; Cedar Grove will host a chil­dren’s tea party; Laurel Hill will await the wedding party; Mount Pleasant will be pre­pared for a presidential recep­tion; the table at Lemon Hill will be lavishly set for a sup­per; Sweetbriar will be deco­rated to welcome an ambas­sador; and Woodford will be ready to host a punch party.

The special holiday tours will be given by costumed guides from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Tickets to the seven houses include admission to the Hor­ticulture Center in which a poinsettia display and Christ­mas Shop will be located.

For more information re­garding the holiday tours, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Parkway at Twenty-Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19101; or telephone (215) 763-8100. Spe­cial group tours are available by telephoning (215) 787-5449.