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.

Sail ’92

The U.S. Brig Niagara, re­cently restored by the Pennsyl­vania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), is the last remaining vessel which saw service in the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813 during the bitter War of 1812.

Named the official flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Gov. Robert P. Casey, the two hundred and eighty-seven ton vessel is scheduled to take part in the parade of tall ships in the port of New York during the week­end of July 4 [1992]. In May the Niag­ara will embark on a voyage from her home port of Erie, through the canals of New York, to the port of Philadel­phia. While in Philadelphia, crews will install two masts, standing and running rigging, and sails. Visitors to the Niaga­ra‘s site in Philadelphia will be able to see, firsthand, the outfitting of the historic vessel. Following completion of the installation projects, visitors will be able to board the brig.

In addition to Philadelphia, the ports of call during “Sail ’92” for the Niagara include Alexandria, Virginia, June 11- 14; Annapolis, Maryland, June 17-18; Baltimore, Mary­land, June 19-21; Philadelphia, June 25-28; New York, July 1-5; Boston, Massachusetts, July 10-13; Newport, Rhode Island, July 16-19; Bath, Maine, July 23-26; Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 31-August 3; Gaspe, Canada, August 7-9; Quebec, August 14; Montreal, August 16; Toronto, August 20; Rochester, New York, August 22-24; Erie, Au­gust 26-October 30.

The U.S. Brig Niagara, with her famous battle flag embla­zoned with “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” carried Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to victory over the British in a struggle that helped establish the na­tion’s northern boundaries. At the end of the battle, Perry penned his classic message of victory, “We have met the enemy and they are ours … ”

For additional information, write: “Sail ’92,” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, P.O. Box 1026, Harris­burg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 783-9882.


Access: Archives

The Pennsylvania State Archives has recently reo­pened to the public after being closed for extensive work on the visitors’ search room and staff offices, and reconstruc­tion of the plaza east of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Established in 1903 as an administrative unit of the State Library, the Pennsylvania State Archives was combined in 1945 with The State Museum and the Pennsylvania Histori­cal Commission to create the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The primary responsibilities of the Pennsylvania State Archives include the acquisition and preservation of the valuable public records of the Common­wealth. In addition to housing the records of state govern­ment, the Archives also col­lects and conserves private papers relevant to the history and heritage of the Keystone State. Archival materials are available to researchers, in­cluding genealogists, teachers and students, history enthusi­asts, and professional and avocational historians, as well as members of the general public.

The holdings of the Penn­sylvania State Archives are extensive and diverse. Genea­logical sources include ships’ passenger lists of arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia during the eighteenth century, official naturalization documents, oaths of allegiance, census returns, and military service records. Federal census, indus­try, and manufacturing cen­suses are available on microfilm. More than forty-five thousand cubic feet of research materials and thirteen thou­sand reels of microfilm may be used by responsible research­ers. Although the Pennsylva­nia State Archives does not perform genealogical research, staff members will assist pa­trons in conducting research. Photocopying services and access to the Research Li­braries Information Network (RLIN) are also available.

In addition to genealogical records and census reports, the Pennsylvania State Ar­chives holds public records spanning the years from 1682 to the present, including docu­ments representing state gov­ernment’s agencies, boards and commissions, and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. More than four hundred manuscript groups contain the papers of prominent individuals and families, business concerns, and numerous social, political, religious, and military organi­zations relating to nearly every aspect of the Commonwealth’s history. Available for research are military service records from 1775 to 1945; papers of the last twelve governors; early land records, such as original applications, surveys, war­rants, patents, searches, deeds, and mortgages; records relating to significant indus­tries, particularly the coal and iron trades; and transportation records, including documents pertaining to early roads, railroads, turnpikes, river im­provements, canals, bridges, and shipping.

A large quantity of maps, dating from 1681, and a broad photograph collection, includ­ing works by many well known photographers and collections of various state agencies, are preserved by the Archives. Vintage postcard and poster collections are also part of the Archives’ graphics holdings.

The twenty-one story Penn­sylvania State Archives tower contains space for sixty-eight thousand cubic feet of records. All stack areas are outfitted with controls to maintain proper humidity and tempera­ture levels.

The Pennsylvania State Archives is located adjacent to The State Museum at North Third and Forster streets. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:45 P.M.

For additional information, write: Pennsylvania State Archives, Pennsylvania Histor­ical and Museum Commission, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 783-3281.


See Worthy

“Exultation,” wrote nine­teenth century American poet Emily Dickinson, “is the going / Of an inland soul to sea.”

Those souls visiting an exhibition entitled “The Lure of the Sea” mounted by the Rosenbach Museum and Li­brary, Philadelphia, can voy­age through a wide array of rare books and manuscripts, finding “exultation” in the sea as literary metaphor, and as the setting for adventure and exploration. On exhibit through Friday, July 31 [1992], “The Lure of the Sea” features the works of authors as diverse as Capt. James Cook, William Shakespeare, James Joyce, and Maurice Sendak.

One of the earliest literary sea-voyagers was Homer’s Odysseus (Ulysses, in Latin). He recurs as the wandering Jew Leopold Bloom, humbly navigating the streets of Dub­lin in James Joyce’s modern epic Ulysses, the manuscript copy of which is included in the exhibition. Much like Joyce, Joseph Conrad em­bodied the modern condition in characters who find them­selves at sea – both figuratively and literally. Such castaways and outcasts constitute a major theme in “The Lure of the Sea,” explored in the manu­scripts of Conrad’s Lord Jim and The nigger of the Narcissus, as well as in earlier wanderers such as Daniel Defoe’s Robin­son Crusoe and in Herman Melville’s fictionalized account of his life as a seaman, White­-Jacket (shown in the copy be­longing to his close friend Nathaniel Hawthorne).

The imagination has also depicted the sea in literature as an agent of change, itself unchanging. The exhibition de­velops this theme through examples ranging from the sprite Ariel’s famous song of “seachange” in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Joyce’s depiction of the sea as “wombtomb” in Ulysses. Drafts of Marianne Moore’s poem, “A grave,” are juxtaposed with H.D’s first volume of poetry, Sea Garden, in which the restless ocean is a life-giving force. Also on view in “The Lure of the Sea” is the manuscript of Dylan Thomas’ radio play, Under Milk Wood, whose sea is both grave and cradle to the inhabitants of a fishing village in Wales.

While “The Lure of the Sea” focuses on the sea and literary works, the history of explora­tion, navigation, and naval warfare, which so often inspired imaginative works, is not ignored. A shipboard diary in the hand of Commo­dore John Barry, Admiral Nel­son’s autographed memoir, and a letter written by Ameri­can naval hero John Paul Jones remind the visitor of the rigor­ous realities of life at sea.

The concluding segment of this exhibition follows crea­tures of the deep sea. Featured are a first edition of Moby-Dick and the “dummy” made by Maurice Sendak for his chil­dren’s book, As I went over the water, in which the young protagonist’s ship is swal­lowed, then gently regurgi­tated, by a benevolent appearing sea monster.

Drawn largely from the extensive holdings of the Ro­senbach Museum and Library, the exhibition materials are supplemented by loans from the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Kendall Whal­ing Museum, and CIGNA Museum and Art Collection.

Visiting hours at the Rosen­bach Museum and Library are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. There is a charge for admission.

Additional information may be obtained by writing: Rosen­bach Museum and Library, 2010 Delancey Pl., Philadel­phia PA 19103; or by telephon­ing (215) 732-1600.


Architecture Exposed

The Athenaeum of Phila­delphia is celebrating the reo­pening of its building, officially designated a National Histori­cal Landmark, with a major exhibition of rare architectural drawings. Entitled “Architec­ture Exposed: Drawings from The Pew Charitable Trusts Museum Loan Program,” the exhibition showcases original drawings and sketches se­lected from nearly three thou­sand items transferred to the Athenaeum on long-term loan from eleven nonprofit institu­tions throughout the Delaware Valley.

“Architecture Exposed: Drawings from The Pew Chari­table Trusts Museum Pro­gram” includes original graphics by American master architects William Strickland, John Haviland, Thomas Ustick Walter, John Notman, Samuel Sloan, Steven D. Button, Frank Furness, John McAr­thur, Jr., George W. Hewitt, Horace Trumbauer, and Paul P. Cret. These drawings have not been previously exhibited for the public.

The architectural drawings for diverse projects on view range from competition de­signs for such Philadelphia landmarks as the Pennsylvania Hospital, Academy of Music, and The Athenaeum’s build­ing, to grand proposals for the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, Furness’ Broad Street Station, and Paul Cret’s Pachyderm House at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Encouraged by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia entered into long-term loan agreements with the Academy of Natural Sciences, Atwater Kent Museum, Elfreth’s Alley Association, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann University, Pennsylvania Hos­pital, Presbyterian Historical Society, Radnor Historical Society, Southern Home Serv­ices, Wagner Free Institute of Science, and the Zoological Society of Philadelphia to accept responsibility for the conservation, cataloging, stor­age, and exhibition of each institution’s historic drawings. Most of the loans are for a term of ten years. The purpose of the initiative – which re­sulted in “Architecture Exposed” – is to encourage the extended loan from one insti­tution to another of important objects that because of condi­tion or lack of cataloging were not readily available for re­search use or exhibition. This program encourages coopera­tion by funding the conserva­tion, processing and secure storage of the objects.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, a national philanthropy headquartered in Philadelphia, consists of seven individual charitable funds established between 1948 and 1979 by the children of Joseph N. Pew, founder of the Sun Oil Company.

The Athenaeum of Phila­delphia, an independent re­search library with museum collections, was founded in 1814 to collect materials “con­nected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts, and generally to disseminate useful knowl­edge:’ As its collections grew during the past one and three quarters of a century, the in­stitution’s objectives have become more focused. Today, the nonprofit organization concentrates on social and cultural history of the nine­teenth and twentieth centu­ries, emphasizing architecture and interior design.

“Architecture Exposed: Drawings from The Pew Chari­table Trusts Museum Pro­grams” will remain on view through October 30, 1992. Visiting hours are Monday through Friday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is free.

For additional information, write: Athenaeum of Philadel­phia, 219 South Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106-3794; or telephone (215) 925-2688.


Rawle Reading Room

An extraordinary – if not priceless – collection of four thousand law books that date to America’s colonial period and offer a unique glimpse of the origins of the United States Constitution, as well as the creation of American Jaw, has recently been unveiled and dedicated at Temple University in Philadelphia. The collection is housed in the newly created Rawle Reading Room at the university’s School of Law.

The Rawle Collection in­cludes volumes spanning the seventeenth through the nine­teenth centuries once owned by William Rawle, the first chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and founder of the oldest continuing law firm in the nation, and his descen­dants. The collection, a re­source for the study of the first century of American legal development, contains land­mark books in virtually every field of English and American law. Not only does the Rawle Collection constitute a library of valuable and historically significant tomes, but it offers researchers a glimpse of how a lawyer practiced in the coun­try’s earliest days, when America’s legal system was being created.

One of the prized volumes in the collection is English Liberties, a diminutive, two hundred and eighty-eight page book containing such landmarks of law as the Magna Carta and the Habeas Corpus Act, as well as statues such as “the Proceedings in appeals of Murder; of Ship Money, of Tonnage and Poundage.” While Benjamin Franklin’s older brother James printed English Liberties in his Boston print shop in 1721, he probably believed it stated the basic freedoms that early colo­nists expected they would continue to enjoy in the New World. The American colonists considered themselves to possess the same legal rights as the English, but when they discovered in the 1770s that they did not, the Revolution­ary War broke out.

The creator of the the col­lection, William Rawle, was born in Philadelphia in 1759. Following his father’s death two years later in a hunting accident, his mother married Samuel Shoemaker, a Tory who served as mayor of Phila­delphia during the city’s occu­pation by the British. When the British troops withdrew, so did Shoemaker and his family – first to New York and eventually to London.

Young Rawle, who had begun his study of law in New York, continued in England, where he became a member of the Middle Temple Inn of Court. Homesick for America, and with the aid of a hand­written passport issued by Benjamin Franklin, he re­turned to Philadelphia in 1782 at the age of twenty-three. He established a law office in his Spruce Street residence.

William Rawle’s library, which became the foundation of the Rawle Collection, pro­vides insight into the begin­nings of American constitutional law and the working tools and methods used by lawyers in the early days on the republic. It in­cludes books of colonial era imprint, English law, and works by Rawle himself, in­cluding A View of the Constitution of the United States of America, an early treatise that was adopted as a textbook by the military academy at West Point, where it was used by a young cadet named Robert E. Lee.

The collection has been installed in the Rawle Reading Room, a colonial period style room of the Temple University Law School’s library, located at Broad Street and Montgomery Avenue. It is available to stu­dents, researchers, and legal historians by appointment.

To obtain additional infor­mation, write: Temple Univer­sity, 301 University Services Building, Philadelphia, PA 19122; or telephone (215) 787-7476 or 787-6507.


Cramp Shipyard

A comprehensive, illus­trated guide to the extensive archival holdings in southeast­ern Pennsylvania museums pertaining to Philadelphia’s historic Cramp Company shipyards has been recently released by the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. The sixty­-four page volume provides an overview of the company, histories of vessels it con­structed (complete with techni­cal data), and a comprehensive listing of all known ships built between 1829 and 1945.

Shipbuilding at Cramp and Sons: A History and Guide to the Collections of the William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Build­ing Company (1830-1927) and the Cramp Shipbuilding Company (1941-1946) of Philadelphia is the culmination of en eighteen month long project of the Philadelphia Maritime Mu­seum to conserve, research, and catalogue the extant ship plans, photographs and draw­ings, business records, arti­facts, and works of art in the collections of the Atwater Kent Museum, Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. The volume chroni­cles the company’s business and shipbuilding activities which span a period of more than a century.

Founded in 1830 by shipbuilder William Cramp (1807-1879), the Cramp and Sons shipyard was one of the few in the nation which survived the transition from sail to steam, and from wooden to steel construction. During its lengthy history, the company built naval vessels which saw battle in the Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I and World War II. The firm’s international reputation is reflected by or­ders from a tsar of Russia and a Turkish sultan for ships used in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878, as well as by contracts issued by Japan and Russia for cruisers which saw service in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

Cramp and Sons built not only naval vessels, but also passenger liners, luxury yachts for financiers J.P. Morgan and Jay Gould, and even a few Coney Island excursion boats. The company is credited with building the first American dreadnought, South Carolina, and the first screw tugboat.

Located on several hundred acres at Beach and Norris streets in Philadelphia’s Fishtown, the company em­ployed nearly twenty thou­sand workers at the height of its operations during World War II, and was one of the city’s most important indus­tries. Hundreds of Philadelphians still recall working at Cramp, and many had rela­tives employed by the company. The story of the Cramp ship­yard is an important chapter in America’s maritime history and in Pennsylvania’s indus­trial history. Each year the Philadelphia Maritime Mu­seum receives numerous re­quests for information about the company and its shipyard.

For additional information regarding the Cramp and Sons materials, as well as the guide, write: Philadelphia Maritime Museum, 321 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106-2779; or telephone (215) 925-5439.


Ordinary Lives

Highlighting more than one hundred recent additions to its collection, the National Mu­seum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia will open an exhibition entitled “Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives: Five Years of Collecting” on Sunday, May 17. The exhi­bition will bring into focus the institution’s collecting activi­ties through objects and arti­facts that examine the participation of American Jews in the social, cultural, political, and economic life of the nation.

“Ordinary and Extraordi­nary Lives: Five Years of Col­lecting” will answer one of museum visitors’ most often asked questions: “Why do museums collect?” The objects acquired by the National Mu­seum of American Jewish History represent a new inter­pretation of Jewish – and ethnic – history, one that in­cludes items usually consid­ered “everyday” or “ordinary.” The exhibit emphasizes that artifacts of daily lives are es­sential to understanding his­tory and heritage.

Among the pieces on view in “Ordinary and Extraordi­nary Lives” are a metal sign emblazoned with Dr. Hyman, Painless Dentist; the first known Yiddish language cook­book printed in America in 1914; a Bart Simpson skullcap, a circumcision gown and baby socks, circa 1887; a campaign button for politician Bella Abzug; a Jewish National Fund tin ashtray; a 1920s joke­book, Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, containing anti-Semitic mate­rial; photographs of Jewish life in Philadelphia and New York from 1939 to 1955; sheet music, including the 1913 melody, Jake, Jake the Yiddische Ball Player, by Irving Berlin; and a silver dreidel (spinning top) crafted by contemporary artist Barbara Stanger in 1990.

In addition to exploring the role that everyday objects play in a specific culture, the exhibi­tion also showcases the dra­matic growth of the museum’s collection. The National Mu­seum of American Jewish History opened in 1976 with forty objects; today, the mu­seum holds sixty-five hundred artifacts, of which three thou­sand were acquired in the last five years.

“Ordinary and Extraordi­nary Lives: Five Years of Col­lecting” will remain on view through September 1992. An illustrated catalogue will ac­company the exhibition.

For more information, write: National Museum of American Jewish History, Independence Mall East, 55 North Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 923-3811 or 923-5978.


Homestead Steel Strike

The centennial of the Homestead Steel Strike (see “‘The Public is Entitled to Know’: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick” by Brent D. Glass in the winter 1992 issue) this summer will bring to­gether the talents of Pittsburgh area writers, filmmakers, play­wrights, photographers, and musicians, and will attract historians, curators, and archi­vists from throughout the country.

Centerpiece of the anniver­sary commemoration is a ma­jor symposium entitled “The Homestead Strike Centennial: Reflections and Lessons;’ which will be held at the Carnegie Library of Home­stead from Sunday through Tuesday, July 5-7 [1992]. The keynote address, “The Fight for Hearth and Home, 1892 and 1992,” will be given by David Mont­gomery, the Farnham Profes­sor of History at Yale University. Welcoming re­marks will be given by Lynn R. Williams, president of the United Steelworkers of Amer­ica, whose talk is entitled “The Lesson of Homestead: Reflec­tions on a Hundred Years of Toil and Turmoil.” Speakers include Joseph Wall, author of Andrew Carnegie, and John Hoerr, author of And the Wolf Finally Came. Historian Paul L. Krause, author of The Battle for Homestead, one of three books scheduled for publication during the strike’s centenary, will be among the twelve scholars presenting papers discussing various aspects of the events leading to the strike, the confrontation itself, and the aftermath.

Symposium sessions in­clude: “Out of the Crucible: The Formation of Steel and the ‘Workers Republic’ to 1892”; “The Duquesne Lockout of 1889: Prelude to Homestead in 1892”; “Henry Clay Frick: The Independent Iron Manufactur­ers and the Crisis at Home­stead”; “Notes from the Non-Union Era: The Long Night, 1892-1936”; “Bread and Roses in Steeltown: The Social Transformation of American Labor”; and “Worker Control, Technological Change and the Battle of Homestead.”

In addition to the sympo­sium, a number of centennial activities are planned.

The highly acclaimed exhi­bition concerning Homestead organized by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylva­nia will be shown at the Carnegie Library of Home­stead from Saturday, July 4 [1992], through Saturday, July 11 [1992]. The Special Collections Depart­ment of Indiana University of Pennsylvania is assembling a traveling exhibit for circulation to high schools, libraries, and public facilities. A documen­tary film, The River Ran Red will make its debut, and the University of Pittsburgh Press will distribute an anthology by the same title in July. A musi­cal originally produced in 1976 for the Bicentennial, Steel City, will be produced and performed through Saturday, July 4 [1992]. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will unveil and dedicate state his­torical markers at the site of the Homestead steel plant and at the Bost Building on Eighth Avenue, the headquarters of the Strike Advisory Commit­tee, on Monday, July 6 [1992], and Tuesday, July 7 [1992]. An “alumni” reunion of more than ten thou­sand steel workers will be held on Independence Day.

For additional information regarding these and related commemorations planned for July [1992] in and near Homestead, write: Homestead Strike Cen­tennial, The Philip Murray Institute, Community College of Allegheny County, 808 Ridge Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; or telephone (412) 237-2774.



The destruction wreaked by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 will long be remembered by Pennsylvanians, many of whom watched helplessly as their homes and businesses were washed away by the churning flood waters. From Tuesday through Sunday, June 20-25 [1992], Agnes dumped an estimated twenty-eight trillion gallons of water on the Key­stone State, most of it in a period of two days! Pennsylva­nia’s three main rivers – the Schuylkill, the Susquehanna, and the Allegheny – and their several hundred tributaries swelled, overflowed their banks and caused widespread flooding. The entire state was officially declared a disaster area, but n,o region suffered so much in loss of life and prop­erty as did the Susquehanna River watershed.

To mark the twentieth anni­versary of the tropical storm, three museums – The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, the Hershey Mu­seum of American Life, Hershey, and the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Wilkes-Barre – have created an exhibition, “Agnes, A Flood Remembered,” a pic­torial account of what was the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Pennsylva­nia. The three institutions collaborated on the collecting of photographs, newspaper clippings and film footage, and recollections by eyewit­nesses to mount an exhibition that depicts the severity of Agnes and the shock which gripped those caught in its midst.

“Agnes, A Flood Remem­bered,” will be on view at The State Museum through Sun­day, June 28 [1992]; at the Hershey Museum through Sunday, August 23 [1992]; and at the Wyo­ming Historical and Geological Society through Saturday, October 3 [1992].

For more information, write: The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 787-4980.