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.

Beloved Meeting House

Thank you for giving our beloved Forty Fort Meeting House such prominence in Pennsylvania Heritage [“Forty Fort Meeting House: The Architecture of a Union” by Vance Packard, Winter 2008]! The author’s text, the stunning photographs, and the sidebar featuring PHMC’s grant program was beautifully topped by remarks by Scott Doyle, PHMC grants manager. We’ve been praising both Vance Packard and PHMC mightily!

We’ll continue raising funds for additional repairs and someday hope to raise $50,000 for an endowment, although the $300,000 mentioned in the article would be a lot nicer.

I’ve been handing out copies of the Winter 2008 edition – proselytizing for more Pennsylvania Heritage Society members!

Betsy Bell Condron
Kingston, Pa.

Betsy Bell Condron served as chairwoman of the Forty Fort Meeting House Bicentennial Committee.


Those Mysterious Little Buildings

So that’s what those mysterious little buildings are all about [“‘Art with a Purpose’: Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Project, 1935–1943” by Curtis Miner, Spring 2008]! I saw quite a few WPA models many years ago at flea markets and swap meets, but no one really seemed to know why or where they were made. I heard a number of implausible explanations. Someone told me they were sold in souvenir shops at historic places. One old gent claimed that his were handmade by his grandfather for his Christmas train yard in the 1890s. A self-described “knowledgeable” antiques dealer said his model of the Daniel Boone Homestead was made exclusively for Boone family descendants.

Curtis Miner has solved a mystery that’s been puzzling me for quite some time!

Best wishes to PHMC on celebrating the seventy – fifth anniversary of the New Deal — and thanks for teaching me about our more recent history!

Daniel F. Hoffman Jr.
Philadelphia, Pa.


Byrd Not Bird

I read each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage with great interest. As a relative newcomer to the Commonwealth, it’s one of the ways I fill in the gaps. I read this edition with perhaps greater interest since I wrote my doctoral dissertation at the University of Virginia on one of Virginia’s New Deal governors.

If I am learning Pennsylvania history late in life, I learned a little something about Virginia history earlier. This enabled me to catch an error in “Marking Time” in the Winter 2008 edition. One of Virginia’s two senators at the time was Harry F. Byrd, not Henry Bird as the text states. It had to be good ol’ Harry because the sentiments expressed were correct, even if the name was not. Harry Byrd was the boss of the democratic “organization” in Virginia. Although serving in Washington, D.C., at the time, he was largely responsible for the Old Dominion being the last state to adopt the laws necessary to implement “Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance” — also known as Social Security — for its citizens. He regarded that as an “extravagance” for “simple . . . folk.”

Alvin Hall
Canadensis, Pa.


Pleased As I Am

Pleased as I am that you featured my book, J.W. Gitt and His Legendary Newspaper, The Gazette and Daily of York, Pa., in the Spring 2008 issue, I must point out two factual errors. The Progressive Party ran Henry, not Harry, A. Wallace as its presidential candidate in the national election of 1948, not 1943. That would have been impossible since Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected in 1940 and 1944.

Also, I was interested in the review of Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories, 1965–1973, because I live about fifteen miles from Zippo’s home of Bradford, which is in McKean County, not Bradford County, as the review states. We northern border counties need to protect ourselves and be known for something besides cold weather! Just be glad that I don’t know enough about the Revolutionary War era to find errors in the third review.

With all best wishes for continuing an otherwise fine publication.

Mary A. Hamilton
Eldred, Pa.