Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Bird’s-Eye Views

I very much enjoyed Linda A. Ries’ article, “Pennsylvania Places Through the Bird’s-eye Views of T. M. Fowler,” in the winter 1995 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage. We have some bird’s-eye views in our collection, and I have always enjoyed looking at them. Now, thanks to this research on Fowler, I can appreciate them even more.

Barbara D. Hall
Wilmington, Del.

Barbara D. Hall is archival specialist, pictorial collections, of the Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.


One Wee Complaint

The fall 1994 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage is a gem. I prefer articles of length and substance to short, glossed­-over pieces. The articles in this edition are exactly the sort of comprehensive (but not too long) features that I believe belong in a magazine such as Pennsylvania Heritage. The visuals are also outstanding; Jasper F. Cropsey’s The Valley of Wyoming “centerfold” in Irwin Richman’s excellent article (see “Susquehanna’s Painters“) is a knockout. I sit and look at it in amazement! One wee complaint, however. The linking of seventeenth-century architecture at Pennsbury Manor (see “Pennsbury Manor, The Philosopher’s Garden” by Patricia L. Hudson) through the use of the term “colonial” in a sort of back­handed (though probably unintended) slap at Colonial Williamsburg over the use of bricks seems unfortunate. I know nothing of seventeenth-century architec­tural practices, but it would appear from places such as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and his work at the University of Virginia that bricks are, indeed, authentic “colonial” items, albeit for the eighteenth century. Furthermore, pictures that I have seen of pre-restora­tion Williamsburg indicate that at least some of the buildings have been restored along the lines of their original appear­ance. The idea of putting up a “museum” and leaving the site for scholars may satisfy the historian; however, if we always take this approach, we will leave the interpreta­tion of the past for the public to the Disneys and the McDonald’ses of the world – an even less promising prospect. There must be some middle ground that would appease both the scholar, bent on authenticity, and the inquisitive citizen, seeking understanding.

Ernest Morrison
New Cumberland, Pa.

Ernest Morrison is the author of several books. His latest work, J. Horace McFarland: A Thorn for Beauty, the definitive biography of a tireless conservationist who promoted important environmental legislation, including the creation of the National Park Service, is being published by the PHMC this summer.


Painted Ladies

Thank you for the article about the “Painted Ladies” (see “Central Pennsylvania’s Very Own Painted Ladies,” describing distinctively painted and stenciled plank bottom country chairs, by Marie Purnell Musser in the winter 1993 edition). It is especially interesting to me because we lived with my great-grandmother so she would not have to leave the home she and my great-grandfather built. She had two “Painted Ladies” that I can still visualize in our kitchen, and the two boys in our family each used one. My youngest brother died in Korea in 1950 and my remaining brother has the chairs in his home in Lakeside, California. As I remember, they are very similar to the chairs pictured on page twenty-six, but I have no idea if they are signed. It is so good to know that these chairs are still in the family after so many years. I am seventy-seven years old, and cannot remember a time that we did not have these wonderful “Painted Ladies.” Again, thanks!

Doris Cohoon
Spokane, Wash.