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

America is experiencing a beer renaissance that began three decades ago, and Pennsylvania has been at its forefront from the start. New craft breweries have flooded the market with an amazing variety of styles, diversifying the taste buds of beer drinkers nationwide. The Brewers Association (BA) defines a craft brewer as independent, small (6 million barrels or less a year) and traditional (using long-established ingredients and fermentation), with innovation being a primary characteristic (making old styles, but experimenting with nontraditional ingredients for flavor). According to BA statistics from 2015, Pennsylvania is the highest ranking state in total craft beer output. In this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage we investigate the craft brewing phenomenon in the commonwealth – and who better to cover this story than Lew Bryson, a journalist who has been following this progression from its start in articles, blog posts and four editions of the book Pennsylvania Breweries. Here, in “Craft Brewing: Another Revolution in Pennsylvania,” Bryson roots today’s scene in the rich brewing history of the Keystone State, starting with an industry that thrived with diversity from the 19th century until Prohibition, only to be reborn in recent years by producing some of the most heralded brands and styles of beer in the country.

Some of the earliest brewing in Pennsylvania took place at the beginning of the 1700s at none other than Pennsbury Manor, the estate of William Penn along the Delaware River. Life at Pennsbury has been covered in previous issues (also see Sharing the Common Wealth [“William Penn’s Side Chair“]), along with stories about Penn the Quaker, Penn the founder-proprietor of Pennsylvania, and Penn the champion of religious and spiritual freedom. Now, in “Young William Penn,” historian Russ Chamberlayne explores the aristocratic world from which Penn emerged. Tapping the most famous source of information on London of the 1660s, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Chamberlayne presents a portrait of the teenaged Penn in Restoration England and the lifestyle he would come to reject, leading to his acceptance of a philosophy he put into practice in his colony that would become a model for later free societies.

William Penn’s vision of religious toleration in Pennsylvania resulted in a diverse colony that included English Quakers and Anglicans, Scots Irish Presbyterians, and numerous other religious groups. The German-speaking emigrants from Europe whose ancestors became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch also began arriving through the 18th century in abundance, bringing an assortment of Protestant denominations, from Amish and Mennonite to the more numerous Lutheran and Reformed. Along with their theologies came religious folk culture that was not necessarily sanctioned by their official churches, including rituals for curing and preventing illnesses and providing protection from the spiritual forces believed to cause these maladies. In his article “Powwowing,” Patrick J. Donmoyer of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University brings together his research from manuscripts, oral histories and field work to present a fascinating look at the secret healing rituals, incantations and beliefs that were systematically passed down through generations of families in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Also in this edition we continue our ongoing series of articles to spotlight PHMC’s multiyear initiative Pennsylvania at War, commemorating the anniversaries of World War I and World War II. In “Keep the Boys in College,” sports historian Todd M. Mealy exemplifies how World War I impacted college campuses and students at home – in this case Penn State and Harrisburg’s Glenn Killinger, who was too young at the time to enlist. Shortly after the war began, the government initiated the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) at colleges across the country to train young scholars to be military leaders. The SATC program at Penn State included competitive sports as part of the training and allowed the commencement of the 1918 football season, giving young Killinger the opportunity to become a star whose records still stand.

Several of the magazine’s departments – Our Documentary Heritage [“Pennsylvanians in Allied Country Units During World War I“], A Place in Time [“Coatesville Veterans Hospital“] and Wish You Were Here [“Lebanon County: Training at Indiantown Gap“] – also feature Pennsylvania at War stories for a compelling issue that I hope will resonate with you and provide you with new insight into the rich cultural heritage of the Keystone State.

Kyle R. Weaver