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.

A Joyous Occasion

The article “Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat” [by Barry P. Michrina, Spring 1997] covered the subject well, but with one exception-the now nonexistent town of Peale. My husband, William C. Lovell, was born there in 1899, as were his three younger sisters. Author Kyle Crichton was also born in Peale, and in his book Total Recoil, published by Doubleday and Company in 1960, he devotes several pages to his life there. Peale was an advanced version of company towns. In about 1930, I attended a reunion of former residents of Peale at the site of the town, not far from Grass Flat. It was a joyous occasion for the many who attended.

Vivian Cartwright Lovell
Indiana, Pa.

As a former resident of Cambria, Indiana, and Clearfield Counties, we very much enjoyed and commend you for both Barry P. Michrina’s “Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat,” and the summary of Carmen DiCiccio’s Coal and Coke in Pennsylvania in “Bookshelf” in the Summer 1997 edition. Though an archivist and historian by pro­fession, coal mining has been a major fac­tor in my life. My paternal grandfather, and his father before him, worked for the Peales in their Emeigh [Cambria County] mine while my maternal grandfather was the coal-mining son of Anglo-Scottish immigrants who had toiled in the mines of Britain for generations before settling in Clearfield County. In addition, my place of employment, the Department of Archives and Manuscripts of The Catholic University of America, houses an important collection of labor papers, among them the papers of the great United Mine Workers (UMW) leader John Mitchell. I invite your readers to access our web page at http://www.cua.edu.

William John Shepherd
Washington, D.C.

William John Shepherd is assistant archivist for The Catholic University of America.


Blast From The Past

Perhaps Robert Habersham Coleman did support St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, as noted in “A Blast from the Past: Cornwall Iron Furnace,” by Sharon Hernes Silverman in the Spring 1998 edi­tion, but of far greater consequence was his involvement with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon, of which his mother was a founding member. He built the pre­sent building there with materials retrieved from his dismantled mansion at Cornwall after the death of his first wife, Lillie, and had her buried under the altar until Edith, his second wife, objected to receiving communion with the bones of the first wife in the crypt below. At that point, his first wife’s remains were moved to the family plot in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, where Robert and Edith also lie buried, along with many others of the family. Conspicuous in its absence from the list of books for suggested for further reading is Richard E. Noble’s The Touch of Time: Robert Habersham Coleman, 1856-1930 (Lebanon, Pa.: Lebanon County Historical Society, 1983).

Karl E. Moyer
Lancaster, Pa.


Cover to Cover

The latest issue of Pennsylvania Heritage is fantastic. How you mix your articles through time, with thought to subjects, and placed geographically is unbeliev­able. The interview [“Life on the Lehigh Canal: An Interview with Richard Arner” by Joan Gilbert in the Spring 1998 edition] gave me an appreciation of our canal era, which I found extraordi­nary. I’ve never been to Lebanon County, but after reading Sharon Hemes Silverman’s article [see “A Blast from the Past: Cornwall Iron Furnace“], you can bet I plan to visit soon. Yours is an intelligent magazine, a pleasure from cover to cover. Thanks for the great read!

Lisa Ann Webster
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Benét in Bethlehem

Thanks for the fine (but for a minor mis­take) piece on the Stephen Vincent Benét Centennial [see “Currents,” Spring 1998]. I must point out, however, that although Bethlehem is (largely, but not entirely) in Northampton County, Fountain Hill is entirely in Lehigh County. A minor point, but as the president of the Fountain Hill Borough Council, I’m merely fulfilling a duty! And, by the way, my wife and I wondered where the lovely color photo­graph of the canal lock, heading the article on the Lehigh Canal, was taken. The inter­view was truly excellent! We enjoyed it greatly.

Robert F. Barnes
Bethlehem, Pa.

Guard Lock 8 is located in Easton’s Hugh Moore Historical Park. Also shown in the photograph is a lock tender’s house, the last built by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (in 1921) and the last tow path lockkeeper’s house erected in the United States. The restored house is used to inter­pret the daily life of a lock tender at about the turn of the century.