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

With this edition we conclude the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s annual theme for 2012, “The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table.” Our observance allowed us to explore the Commonwealth’s traditional and regional foodways, highlight recipes from historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History, and even showcase snack foods, such as pretzels, potato chips, and chocolate candy, for which the Keystone State has become famous. But we’re not finished.

Jean H. Kummer and Nicole L. C. Bucher of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture have written an outstanding article introducing PA Preferred farming families. For many of these families farming is a time-honored tradition passed from one generation to the next. Jean and Nicole’s “Building a Brand for Pennsylvania Products” celebrates these individuals and their heritage as they successfully grow, package, and market the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

William C. Kashatus is no stranger to Pennsylvania Heritage. His article on the Wyoming Valley’s beloved Stegmaier beer recalls not only the glory days of brewing, but also the decades when King Coal ruled northeastern Pennsylvania and its subjects, anthracite miners, enjoyed a cold one after their shifts had ended. For well more than a century Stegmaier slaked the thirst of Pennsylvanians. All that remains of its illustrious and thirst-quenching history are bottles, colorful labels and packaging, and advertising ephemera including coasters, eagerly sought by collectors of breweriana.

From northwestern Pennsylvania writer Paulette Dininny comes “A Flag Bears Witness: Don’t Give Up The Ship.” Paulette traces the history of this iconic battle flag through two centuries, from its creation by a group of Erie women, through the Battle of Lake Erie, to its final destination at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Paulette discusses the flag’s various conservation treatments (and mistreatments) during its epic journey. For the Fall 2013 edition she will interview Captain Walter P. Rybka of the Niagara, who authored The Lake Erie Campaign of 1813: I Shall Fight Them This Day, newly published by The History Press. The Flagship Niagara League will host Tall Ships Erie in honor of the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. The four-day festival, from Thursday through Sunday, September 5-8, 2013, will feature public day sails aboard the Niagara, interpretive programs, a parade of sailing vessels, free admission to the Erie Maritime Museum, live entertainment, and children’s activities.

The staff and I take great pleasure in publishing “All Creatures Great and Small: The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society’s Revolution of Kindness Reformed Society and Improved Lives” by Isabelle Schroeder. Isabelle is very talented; she took second-place in the junior division of papers at the 2012 National History Day in Pennsylvania competition and also won this year’s Pennsylvania Heritage Award. This is only the second time in the history of the magazine that a National History Day paper merited publication as a feature article.

I do hope you enjoy our autumnal offerings.

With all good wishes.

Michael J. O’Malley III