Editor's Letter is an introduction to the contents and themes of each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage by the editor.

The cover of this edition features a poignant watercolor portrait, Woman in Blue, Waiting, by a Philadelphia artist whose work has been regrettably overlooked in the past but is now being rediscovered as new studies and exhibitions, as well as a preservation effort to save his home, have emerged in recent years. Printmaker and painter Dox Thrash sought to document the African American experience in his art and became a major figure in Philadelphia’s Black cultural awakening centered in the Sharswood neighborhood in the mid-20th century. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago after moving north from Georgia during the Great Migration, he arrived in Philadelphia in the 1920s and later honed his craft in the Federal Art Project’s Fine Print Workshop, where he and his associates pioneered the revolutionary carborundum mezzotint printing process. In this issue’s cover story [“Dox Thrash and the ‘Poetry of the Artist’s Own People’“], art historian Matthew F. Singer examines the power of the artist’s vision through a survey of Thrash’s vivid depictions of Black life during the diaspora and discusses the artist’s legacy today.

Also in the realm of art — and horticulture — frequent contributor Irwin Richman takes us on a fascinating journey in “Pennsylvania’s Forgotten Roseland,” from America’s oldest documented rose garden at Wyck in Germantown through commercial greenhouses and private gardens in the surrounding area where “rose mania” exploded in the late 19th century. This all serves as a prelude to a study of the sophisticated floral paintings created by Germantown artist George Cochran Lambdin, whose signature subject was roses.

The stories of the Native American tribes who inhabited Pennsylvania can be found embedded in the tool stone quarries that exist throughout the state, revealing to us the methods employed in manufacturing tools and how archaeological information is used to help reconstruct Native American trade routes, land use and resource
extraction. In this edition, archaeologist Joe Baker takes us to “The Source,” exploring the remarkable preindustrial quarry operations where First Nation people excavated materials such as chert, metarhyolite and jasper and processed them into tools and weapons that became commodities in the pre-colonial trade network. Visits with flintknapper-archaeologist Susanne Haney and Cayuga tribal member and lacrosse coach Sid Jamieson offer perspectives on the role that quarries played in the lives of Pennsylvania’s Indigenous people.

Another trade network, a colonial one, is the subject of “Run-Up to the Revolution,” our first article marking the 250th anniversary of the struggle that led to American independence. Beginning at the port of Philadelphia, curator Jennifer Gleim of the Pennsylvania Military Museum explains the dynamics of how imported goods from Britain became a source of identity for colonial Americans and transformed their port cities into large commercial centers. Through a litany of Parliamentary acts, taxation without representation on those imports would become the catalyst for nonconsumption agreements that would galvanize the now-politicized colonists in a fight for liberty.

In closing, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of this magazine, and I hope you’ll stay with us as we explore many more compelling episodes in the broad narrative of Pennsylvania history.

Kyle R. Weaver