Historical Societies: News and Highlights

Historical Societies: News and Highlights presents news and information about Pennsylvania's regional and county historical societies.

Historical Societies Receive Awards

The National Awards Committee of the American Association for State and Local History has voted Certificates of Commendation to four Pennsylvania historical societies – ­quite a distinguished honor.

AASLH awards chairman for Pennsylvania is Harry E. Whipkey, state archivist. Announcements of the awards were made by William T. Alderson, national director.

Commendations went to these societies: Chester County Historical Society, Bucks County Historical Society, Erie County Historical Society and Lackawanna Historical Society.

The Chester County group received its certificate “For the development and implementation of its educational program, ‘Project 1776.’ ” Ms. Anne Cook serves as Project director.

The Bucks County Historical Society received the commendation “For progressive programming and service as the Bucks County Archival Repository.” Gary D. Schuman is executive director of the society.

The Erie County Historical Society, whose president is Richard Wright, received the award “For contributing to historical scholarships by sponsoring the Journal of Erie Studies.” (The journal is issued in cooperation with the History Department of Mercyhurst College.)

The award to the Lackawanna Historical Society was “For undertaking a major oral history-ethnic studies project ‘The Immigrant Miner in Scranton.'” The society’s director is Dr. John L. Earl, III.

The national association made these announcements on Nov. 15. Pennsylvania deserves to be proud of these four societies and will look forward to additional societies receiving commendations or awards of merit next year.


Celebrates 150th Date

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will begin its commemoration of 150 years of existence with a VIP exhibit by invitation only. The exhibit features materials collected over the last 150 years.

The exhibit opened to Society members on Nov. 22 and to the public on Nov. 25. It will remain open until April 25, 1975.

James E. Mooney is the new director of the Society. Nicholas B. Wainwright, who had asked to be relieved of administrative responsibilities so that he could devote more time to literary pursuits, became director emeritus on Sept. 6.

Wainwright, director for the past nine years, holds degrees from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Dickinson College. In addition to other works, he has been author or editor of the last six volumes published by the society. The society will issue yet another book by him, an account of the society’s 150 years of collecting. A member of the staff since 1939 and recently elected to the Board, Wainwright will continue as editor of The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, a position he has held since 1952.

Mooney is a Harvard graduate who earned his doctorate at Clark University. For the past twelve months he has served as assistant director, having previously been assistant director and editor of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester. He is associate director and associate editor of the Program for Loyalist Studies and Publications, and is the author of a number of books including the National Index of American Imprints through 1800 (with C. K. Shipton), and a biography of John Graham Brooks.


Federation Awards

Now is the time etc. etc. Seriously, it is the time to begin planning a project that could win your historical society an award of merit next year.

At its annual meeting this year, the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies presented five Awards of Merit. Perhaps your society can gather ideas for projects from the awards presented this year. Honored were:

Bucks County Historical Society for “progressive new programs, including service as archival repository for courts of Bucks County”;

Cumberland County Historical Society for “the impressive number of excellent publications issued since 1874”;

Lackawanna Historical Society for “participation in the major oral history-ethnic studies project, ‘The Immigrant Miner in Scranton’”;

Northumberland County Historical Society for “excellent editorial work of Charles Fisher Snyder”;

Westmoreland County Historical Society for “archeological activity and work of reconstruction at the site of Historic Hanna’s Town.”

Federation officers for 1974-75 are Ernest C. Miller, Warren, president; William D. Gilbert, Sigel, first vice-presi­dent; Mrs. Le Roy Sanders, Reading, second vice-president; Robert Grant Crist, Camp Hill, third vice-president; Carl Burkett, Conneaut Lake, fourth vice-president; William J. Wewer, Camp Hill, executive secretary; Donald H. Kent, Camp Hill, assistant executive secretary, and Ralph Hazel­tine, Trucksville, treasurer. Jesse L. Hartman, Hollidays­burg, is president emeritus.


Beaver Area Heritage Foundation

In a joint effort with the Beaver Library Association, the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation has embarked on a major project: a memorial to men who served in the Western Department during the Revolution.

The memorial is to be in the form of a flag plaza overlooking the Ohio River, a tracery of outlines of Fort McIntosh and a museum in addition to the Beaver Memorial Library. The library is adjacent to the flag plaza and not far from the fort site.

Volunteer archeologists are donating their Sundays to locating exact outlines of Fort McIntosh so that the architect can complete his design study.

The “dig” itself has attracted much attention, according to Frank F. Carner of the foundation, and the foundation is receiving many calls for appearances to speak on the project and in conjunction with the Bicentennial.


Project 1776 Workshops Slated

As an outgrowth of Project 1776, a series of four workshops are being offered to teachers throughout Pennsylvania.

Workshops for elementary teachers (3rd and 6th) and social studies personnel are scheduled at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 17, 1975, at Freedom’s Foundation, Valley Forge, and at 9:30 a.m., April 29 at the Conference Center, the Pennsylvania State University. Registration is $15.00 and includes lunch, a Project 1776 Manual, and craft materials. Checks should be made payable to Project 1776 and mailed to 441 Timber Lane, Devon, 19333. Include your name, school and address.

Additional information can be obtained from Anne H. Cook, Director, Project 1776, 451 School House Lane, Devon, 19333.


Regional Workshop

The Warren County Historical Society sponsored a regional Federation workshop Oct. 12. Workshop leaders and topics included: Quinn Smith of the Warren County Society, “Creating Displays in the Small Museum”; Mrs. Harold Stewart of Clarion County Historical Society, Bicentennial Planning in Local Groups: “So Your Children Can Tell Their Children,” and Michael P. Weber, assistant professor of urban history at Carnegie-Mellon, “Organizing an Ethnic Studies Program.”

Others participating were Bruce Smith of the Warren Society; Wayne R. Painter, Warren mayor; Ernest C. Miller, president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies.

A tour of the Warren Society headquarters, 210 Fourth Ave., followed the program. Mrs. James Springer of the Warren Society was in charge of arrangements. Serving on the program committee were Miss Alice Wessman, Elk County Historical Society; Carl Burkett, executive secretary, Crawford County Historical Society; Mrs. Sherwood Mead, secretary, and Chase Putman, curator, Warren County Historical Society.


Historical Society of Western Pa.

Eighteen rare documents were on display at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in Oakland. The documents, dating from 1743 to 1801, were presented to the society by Lawrence C. Woods, Jr., member of the society, insurance executive and lifelong student of history.

Among the signatures is that of Gen. Edward Braddock. The Braddock signature is on a document dated Sept. 21, 1745, when he was a lieutenant colonel, and is a subsistence order for five men under his command. Other well-known signatures represented in the collection include those of George Croghan and Conrad Weiser. The rare Weiser signature is affixed as notary to a will.

The Historical Society is at 4338 Bigelow Blvd. Admission is free, and hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; until 12:30 p.m. Saturdays; closed Mondays.


Beaver Valley: Hard at Work

Editor’s Note: The following is based on an article written by Denver L. Walton.

Unpaid volunteers from all areas of Beaver Valley are actively working to protect and to preserve their historical heritage.

Many are members of the various area historical societies; together they comprise the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.

One of the goals of the foundation is research. Volunteer communities have been organized in each of the nine districts in Beaver County. Robert Bonnage of Dougherty Township serves as research director.

At the request of local residents, research will also be done. The foundation works closely with the office of the coordinator of Beaver County history, Gladys Hoover, in the Beaver County Courthouse. Mrs. Hoover is also chairman of the foundation.

Permanent markers are perhaps most visible among the foundation’s accomplishments. Historic sites, buildings or locations are designated as historic landmarks. Sites are recommended by local historical groups and then approved by the foundation. Within the last few years, markers have been placed in recognition of the original site of Mill Creek in Green Township; Greersburg Academy in Darlington; Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton; the site of Thiel College, Monaca, and the site of the Indian village Logstown, Baden. A marker is planned for the future on the original route of Brodhead’s Road in Center Township. Alton Bonzo is the foundation’s director of landmarks.

Each Spring a genealogical workshop is held at Beaver County Community College. Efforts are underway to compile family histories of early settlers and prominent or contemporary residents – or of anyone who expresses an interest in such a survey. Margaret Ross of Rochester is the foundation’s director of genealogy.

An editorial board has been established with Robert Bassett of Chippewa Township as chairman.