Historical Societies: News and Highlights

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

Historical Society Notes

The Pennsylvania Labor History Society at its fall 1978 meeting marked the centennial of the hanging of the Molly Maguires, the largest mass executions in the nation’s history. The meeting included papers on the Mollies and their impact upon both labor history and modern U.S. social and political history. Also included in the unique program were a tour of the Ashland Mines, a session at the Pottsville Court House and a reception at the Hibernian Inn. The society has also produced a bibliography of Penn­sylvania labor history which can be obtained from the society at 1720 11th St., Bethlehem 18017.

The Lower Merion Historical Society has made available a “Map of Historic Main Line.” Copies are $5 and can be ordered from the society at P. O. Box 51, Ardmore 19003.

The Erie County Historical Society has initiated a survey of architecturally unique structures in the county over one hundred years of age. The survey was prompted by the possible con­struction of a steel mill in the western sector of the county which could des­troy the character and identity of certain neighborhoods. The society is also planning to finalize an agreement with Edinboro State College which would provide field experience for history students at the society.

The Chester County Historical Society has received a grant from the Theodore D. and Elizabeth A. Hadley Memorial Fund which will enable it to move forward with its plans for cele­brating the county’s tricentennial. Specifically, the school visits programs, consisting of multi-media presenta­tions and exhibits of artifacts, will be expanded. The project is an outgrowth of the society’s acclaimed “Project 1776” which emerged from the bi­centennial.

The American Association for State and Local History reports that tax de­ductions are the number one incentive for Americans to make donations to history museums. National and family pride follow as the number two and three reasons, although sometimes it takes all three.

All historical organizations should be aware of a new federal agency called the Institute of Museum Ser­vices. Unlike other agencies which award grants, the board members of the institute have decided to allocate 75 percent of their grant money to help offset museum operating costs. The other 25 percent will help support activities such as special education programs, exhibit conservation and community services. The institute can also assist museums in acquiring sur­plus property. Inquiries should be addressed to the Institute of Museum Services, Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C. 20202.

The first Historic Bethlehem Folk Festival, sponsored by Historic Bethle­hem Inc. on August 18-20, gave the nearly 3,000 visitors who saw the re­constructed eighteenth-century area an unusual opportunity to learn about the early Moravian community of Bethle­hem. The highlight of the festival was demonstrations of handicrafts prac­ticed by the colonial Moravians. Over twenty craftspeople in traditional Moravian dress worked at trades such as tinsmithing; chair caning and fish­net making. As always, good publicity helped bring the crowds to the com­munity. For example, HBI’s wood­worker, David Sharp, was featured in his workshop the day prior to the festival with Liz Matt of “Evening Magazine,” on KYW-TV 3 Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania German Society will soon publish Volume 13 in its current series, a study of the Lutheran and Reformed clergy of colonial Penn­sylvania, written by Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter of Gettysburg College.

The American Association for State and Local History has prepared seven slide/tape presentations on architec­tural conservation. The presentations deal with:

  • “Reading a Building: Colonial”
  • “Reading a Building: Adobe”
  • “Overall Planning for Historic House Restoration”
  • “Victorian House Colors: Exterior”
  • “Wallpaper and the Historic House”
  • “Curatorial Care: The Environment”
  • “Curatorial Care: Furniture”


Urban Archives Plans Conference

The Urban Archives Center of Temple University in conjunction with the Center for Philadelphia Studies, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia City Archives and the Philadelphia Federal Archives and Records Center will be sponsoring a conference on April 20-21, 1979 en­titled: “Toward the Tercentenary: A Conference on Philadelphia History.” Speakers include Anthony Garvan, University of Pennsylvania; Gary B. Nash, UCLA; Peter Parker, the Histor­ical Society of Pennsylvania; Theodore Hershberg, Center for Philadelphia Studies; Howard Gillette, George Wash­ington University; Edwin Wolf, the Library Company of Philadelphia; William Yancey and Eugene Erickson, Temple University; John Bauman, California State College; Frederic Miller, Urban Archives Center; and Sam Bass Warner, Jr., Boston Univer­sity.

For further information please con­tact Dr. Frederic Miller, Urban Archives Center, Temple University Library, Philadelphia 19122.


Federation Meetings Set

The Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies will hold its annual meeting at the Keller Conference Center, Pennsylvania State University on Saturday, May 5, 1979. The meet­ing will include the annual luncheon, awards presentation and business meet­ing. Details regarding the meeting will be mailed in April.

Regional workshops of the state federation will be held in June [1979] at the Delaware County Historical Society and September at the Clarion County Historical Society. Specific details should be sent to societies in several weeks.


AASLH Awards Announced

The American Association for State and Local History has announced the selection of its annual award recipients. Those honored have done exemplary work and these awards, which were created to help establish and encour­age higher standards of excellence within the historical agency field, are granted in recognition of their out­standing achievements. This year, one individual and four historical organi­zations from Pennsylvania have been singled out to receive distinction.

An Award of Merit goes to Mr. Donald Hayes for his contributions toward preserving the historical heri­tage of Union County, primarily in the town of Hartleton where he has per­sisted in his efforts over a period of twenty-five years. Particular attention should be drawn to his work in restor­ing the 137 year-old Hartleton Church which at one point was slated for demolition. The Award of Merit is not judged relative to local limiting circum­stances and serves as “public acknowl­edgment by the American Association for State and Local History that this accomplishment of this program, in comparison with all similar accom­plishments and programs in North America, deserves the adjective ex­cellent.”

Another award, the Certificate of Commendation, is presented for out­standing and significant achievements judged within a local area. This dis­tinction was granted to four organi­zations in the Commonwealth including: the Elk County Historical Society for publication of Ridgway, Our Town – Let’s Color; the Penn­sylvania German Society for publica­tion of The Pennsylvania German Fraktur of the Free Library of Phila­delphia; the Upper Allen Heritage Committee for its efforts to interpret the early architecture of Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County; and the Westmoreland County Historical Society for its imaginative program for local history publications.

Pennsylvania is fortunate to have an abundance of dedicated individuals and organizations working in the field of state and local history. It is gratify. ing to see the hard work and out­standing achievements of Pennsyl­vanians recognized nationally.


German Script Seminar Available

The Moravian Archives is sponsoring a seminar on the reading of German script used in Germany and German areas of America. The sessions will be held June 18-29 [1979] at the Moravian Archives, 41 West Locust Street, Bethlehem 18018 and will be conducted by members of the archives staff. Prerequisite to enrollment is a reading knowledge of German.

The German Script Seminar has been held annually since 1971 with an average attendance of ten students. Most of the participants have been teachers or students of German literature, German or American history, church history, musicology, etc., and have represented many colleges, universities and other institutions across the U. S. and Canada. As in the past, those enrolled will have the opportunity to visit historic and cultural places near Bethle­hem in the heart of the region of Pennsylvania originally settled by Germans.

Tuition for the course is $150 plus $25 for materials, room and board not included. For further in formation write Vernon H. Nelson, Archivist, at the Moravian Archives or call (215) 866-3255.