Historical Societies: News and Highlights

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

Tamerlane Society

The Tamerlane Society, founded by Mrs. Elaine Peden of Philadelphia, is dedicated to preserving the name of William Penn, who was fond of horses.

The society, consisting of high school art students, has received congratulations from the White House, Gov. Milton Shapp and Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.


Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies Announces Awards

Three Awards of Merit and two Honorable Mention awards were announced at the sixty-eighth annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies. The meeting occurred at Keller Conference Center, The Penn­sylvania State University, University Park.

The Awards of Merit went to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania for its oral history projects with Pittsburgh’s ethnic groups; to Lancaster County Historical Society for its “Building Bridges” program which has ef­fectively incorporated youth into the activities of the so­ciety; to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the ex­cellence of its program commemorating the 150th anni­versary of the society. The celebration included a lecture series, the publication of two books on the society’s work and the microfilming of the Papers of William Penn.

An honorable mention award was made to Haverford Township Historical Society for its “Colonial Living Ex­perience.” This project introduced all fifth grade students in the district to colonial life by allowing them to spend time in an eighteenth-century cabin, the society’s Lawrence Cabin Museum. The Ephrata Cloister Chapter, Pennsylvania Fed­eration of Junior Historians, won an Award of Merit for preparation of a Walking Tour Booklet of Historic Ephrata.

The Federation elected the following officers: president, William D. Gilbert of Sigel, director of the Jefferson County Historical and Genealogical Society, former president of the Clarion County Historical Society and a leader in statewide Junior Historian programs; first vice-president, Mrs. LeRoy Sanders of Reading, the Historical Society of Berks County; second vice-president, Robert Grant Crist of Camp Hill, the Cumberland County Historical Society; third vice-president, Carl Burkett of Meadville, the Crawford County Historical Society; fourth vice-president, John W.W. Loose of Lancaster, the Lancaster County Historical Society; executive secretary, William J. Wewer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; assistant executive secretary, John E. Bodnar, assistant to the director, Bureau of Archives and History, PHMC; and treasurer, Ralph L. Hazeltine, Wyoming Historical and Geological Society.

Two persons were elected to the Executive Committee: Albert Goldsmith of Pittsburgh, the Western Pennsylvania Research and Historical Society, and James Mooney of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

The meeting consisted of morning workshops on cele­brating the Bicentennial in Pennsylvania, historic preserva­tion and problems of collecting modern historical records.

Philip S. Klein, PHMC commissioner and professor emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University, spoke on “Pennsylvania Heritage” at luncheon, held at the Nittany Lion Inn. Klein’s talk covered the richness of tradition of Pennsylvania – from its mineral wealth to its part in building the nation’s first skyscraper.

Outgoing president Ernest C. Miller of Warren presided at the afternoon business session. Included were reports of the executive secretary, the treasurer and the Resolutions Committee. In his executive secretary’s report, Wewer noted that there were seven new organizations that joined the Federation during the past year: Fulton County Historical Society, West Erie County Historical Society, Westmore­land-Fayette Historical Society, Greater Latrobe Historical Society, Pike County Historical Society, Goschenhoppen Historians and New Berlin Heritage Association. Membership in the Federation now totals 153. Wewer also cited the re­cent program of regional workshops held at the Warren County Historical Society, the Presbyterian Historical So­ciety, Philadelphia, and the Lackawanna Historical Society, Scranton.

A summary of the report of the Resolutions Committee follows:

Members should present signed resolutions for considera­tion of the Resolutions Committee no later than the morning of registration for the annual Federation meet­ing.

The Federation applauded the success of its constituent societies for such publications as (1) M. H. Heincke’s History of Ephrata produced by the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley; Ridgway, Lily of the Valley, 1824-1974; a Bicentennial history compiled and edited by Alice L. Wessman and Harriet Faust of the Elk County Historical Society; a pamphlet, The Presbyterian Church of Shavers Creek Manor by the Huntingdon County His­torical Society; and The Journal of Beaver County His­tory and Bicentennial Activities, a new publication by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation and the Beaver County Bicentennial Com­mission.

The Federation cited Pennsylvania Heritage for its cover­age of statewide historical matters.

The Federation recommended the “proper marking of the site where William Penn first set foot on Pennsylvania soil.”

The Federation expressed its gratitude to Donald H. Kent for his thirty years of service to the organization.

(A special resolution requesting Kent to continue to provide guidance in the deliberations and affairs of the Federation was also adopted.)

The Federation opposed the alteration of Valley Forge, specifically its utilization as a national cemetery.

The Federation expressed the hope that public and private historical institutions of the state “will plan and carry out in 1981 an appropriate historical observance of the Tercentenary of William Penn’s Foundation of Pennsylvania in 1681.”


Friends of Peace Church

Officers and directors are scheduled for election at the annual meeting of The Friends of Peace Church at 4:00 p.m., September 28 [1975].

The organization consists of volunteers and provides support for the historic site administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Membership totals 643 persons.

A public concert to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial was presented from Old Peace Church, Trindle and St. John’s Roads, Camp Hill on August 10 [1975]. The Fine Arts Division of the Camp Hill Civic Club sponsored the concert.

The general membership approved that the Friends of Peace Church be incorporated; papers of incorporation have been processed and will be signed and filed.

The site was the scene of part of the Hampden Township (Cumberland County) Bicentennial observance. A thirteen­-star or Betsy Ross flag was raised at the church. The pro­gram also included organ music played on the recently restored early nineteenth-century Conrad Doll organ.


St. Marys and Benzinger Township

The Historical Society of St. Marys and Benzinger Township is located in the Municipal Building, St. Marys. The society has five rooms containing 2,500 photographs as well as an archives division.

Chartered in 1960, the society’s current membership is 260. The organization has published three books and a number of brochures.

Rooms are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and at other times by appointment. Tours are available to school groups and organizations.


Berks County Project

The Historical Society of Berks County, as a major contribution to Bicentennial activities, will soon issue a reprint of History of Berks County in Pennsylvania, by Morton L. Montgomery, published in 1886 in Philadelphia by Everts, Peck and Richards.

The new edition will include an index, being compiled by William W. Hummel, professor of history at Albright College. Mrs. Esther K. Moyer of the historical society is assisting Dr. Hummel.


Historical Highlights

The Upper Makefield Historical Society has held its charter membership meeting and its organizational meeting. The charter meeting was held in the David Library of the American Revolution on Buckstone Farm, Washington Cross­ing, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sol Fienstone. The organizational meeting occurred at the Makefield Meetinghouse, Mount Eyre Road. Mr. Fienstone is a member of the commission of Washington Crossing State Park.

The Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free library Association. has concluded its annual fund drive, raising $18,000.

Somerset Radio Station WVSC invited the Somerset Historical and Genealogical Society to sponsor a series of weekly broadcasts beginning in July. The society’s Board of Directors agreed and will cooperate with the Somerset County Bicentennial Commission in presenting the programs.

The Greene County Historical Society Museum and Library is open from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The library is also open 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mondays. The museum is located directly opposite the Curry Memorial Home, three miles east of Waynesburg. Special programs are conducted most Sundays.

The New Hope Historical Society plans a colonial costume ball for next October [1976]. Members and friends of the society are urged to assemble their costumes for use in the Bicentennial celebration. Mrs. Robert Rosenwald is program chairman this year.