Executive Director’s Message

From the Executive Director features news and reflections on the work of PHMC by its chief administrator.

One of the major objectives of Pennsylvania Heritage is to foster the continual growth of existing historical societies as well as to assist in developing new societies. It is with this thought in mind that we devote several pages of this magazine to news for and about historical societies. This quarter we devote even more space to historical society news: comments on the early history of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies, an in-depth look at a very successful historical society – Cumberland County Historical Society – a preview of the June 14 [1975] Federation meeting as well as other news for and about the societies.

When members of societies comprising the Federation meet June 14 [1975] at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, they will be carrying on a seventy-year tradition, for the Federation was initiated in 1905.

The current constitution states: “The object of the Federation shall be the inter-change of information and ideas relating to historical activity, the encouragement of local historical research and the publication of the results; the promotion of historical activity in the Commonwealth and its several sub-division; and the maintenance of a co-operative working relationship between the member societies and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.”

As we approach the annual Federation meeting, it is appropriate to note a shift of responsibilities within the Historical and Museum Commission which will have direct bearing on our work with historical societies. John Bodnar has been designated as assistant to the director of the Bureau of Archives and History. In this new position, Dr. Bodnar will be responsible for programs relating to our senior and junior historical societies, ethnic studies and oral history. His office (717-787-3253) will serve as the contact point for historical societies. Joining Dr. Bodnar will be Carl Oblinger, associate historian, who serves as executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Federation of Junior Historians. Hopefully, as budgets permit, other professional positions will be added to Dr. Bodnar’s staff.

The program for the June meeting is a challenging one; we hope all who participate will find the sessions both stimulating and rewarding. Always meaningful, the annual Federation meeting assumes an even more special significance as we approach our Bicentennial year.

William J. Wewer, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission