Letters to the Editor

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.

Lady Muralist

I enjoyed “Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter” by Patricia Likos in the fall 1988 issue, as it gave additional insight into the life of the artist. The au­thor’s inference that Oakley was underpaid for her work may not be based on fact; she quotes a newspaper account that stated, “Unfortunately Miss Oakley is not a contractor or her pictures might have been paid for more liberally by the foot or pound.” The fact is that, although she received twenty thousand dollars for her paintings in the Gover­nor’s Reception Room, she received a contract for fifty dollars per square foot to exe­cute the paintings in the cham­bers of the Senate and the Supreme Court. This is the same contract price paid also to the world-famous Edwin Austin Abbey for his paintings in the rotunda and the House of Representatives. Henry Mercer received only $1.03 per square foot for the decorative tiles he designed for the first floor of the capitol. Most writ­ers commend the architect and the Capitol Building Commis­sion for being liberal enough to paint extensive murals in such a monumental structure, and to pay her at the same rate as a male royal academician. The author displays a thor­ough understanding of Violet Oakley the artist, but she should be wary of venturing into the pitfalls of politics, which includes choosing art­ists for public buildings.

William A. Cornell
Wormleysburg, Pa.


Colum­bus Chapel

A jaded, sated and somewhat cranky New Yorker, I thought Manhattan had it all. Obvi­ously not so, for after reading the article on the Boal Mansion and the Christopher Colum­bus Chapel (see Christopher Lee’s “The Boals of Boalsburg: Two Hundred Years of a Penn­sylvania Heritage” in the fall 1989 issue), I discovered – and I hope not too late – that the “Big Apple” isn’t everything. What a marvelous house the Boal Mansion must be! Penn­sylvanians everywhere should be proud of this unique trea­sure. Thank you for another eye-opener!

Leslie D. Carl, Sr.
New York, N.Y.


Edward Martin

I greatly enjoyed reading Eliza­beth A. Early’s article (“In the Public’s Best Interest“) about my father in the summer 1989 edition. I thought it was a very fine piece, and I know he would have agreed with most everything. I wish the author continued success in her mu­seum career.

Edward S. Martin
Washington, Pa.


Under the Eagle

A note to tell you how much I enjoy Pennsylvania Heritage and the wonderful articles it presents. For twenty years I was the vice president of John Wanamaker’s, and your article (see “Original and Genuine, Unadulterated and Guaran­teed!” by Linda Kowall in the winter 1989 edition) on that great organization was superb. I congratulate you on the fine magazine you produce; it is certainly a joy to read and is a great credit to the Common­wealth of Pennsylvania.

Frederick Yost
Merion, Pa.


Picture Pretty

Just a note to say thank you for the magazine’s terrific job in portraying beautiful Sullivan County in the article entitled “Picture Post Card Pretty” in the summer 1989 issue. It was a pleasant surprise, for which I express my sincere apprecia­tion. Thank you!

Kathy A. Robbins
Laporte, Pa.

Kathy A. Robbins is county treasurer.