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.

So Relevant

I wish we had Pennsylvania Heritage when I was in school. I date to the years when history classes consisted of little more than rote memorization of places, people, and dates. Thanks to your magazine for making Pennsylvania’s history so relevant.

I enjoy all the articles in your magazine, but the story by Bill McShane [“‘With a Woman’s Instinct’: Mira Lloyd Dock, The Mother of Forestry in Pennsylvania,” Winter 2010] was one of the best articles I have ever read. It’s hard to believe that the writer is a recent college graduate. I really felt as if I came to know what made his subject tick. As always, the historic pictures were fantastic. Great title, too!

Pennsylvania Heritage sets the bar for other history magazines.

Tom Judge
Pittsburgh, Pa


Lankes Not Laukes

I enjoyed the Fall 2009 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage. It brought to my attention the appealing wood engravings of Pennsylvania’s barns done in the 1930s by Julius J. Lankes. I suspect that the print illustrated on page 19, On the Road to Lititz, Pa., in Earl E. Brown’s article entitled “When the Susquehanna River Was Pennsylvania’s Flour Highway” is by him and not “H. Laukes.”

Bill Rhoads
New Paltz, New York

Bill Rhoads is professor emeritus of art history at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Julius J. Lankes (1884-1960) graduated from the Buffalo Commercial and Electro-Mechanical Institute in 1902, after which he was employed as a draftsman specializing in patent drawings. He continued his studies at the Art Students League of Buffalo and Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. His woodcuts illustrate books by Robert Frost, August Derleth, and Ellen Glasgow, among others. He taught at Wells College in Aurora, New York, and in 1943 joined the reproduction section of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He was a member of the Society of Graphic Artists, the National Academy of Design, and the Prairie Printmakers. On the Road to Lititz, Pa., (1938) is in the collection of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.


The Energetic Story

For many years I have read and enjoyed Pennsylvania Heritage, not only for content, but for its visual expression as well. I now feel compelled to write regarding the Fall 2009 edition. It may be the best in recent memory. Sparing comment on every entry, three need to be singled out, beginning with the wind power article [“Harnessing the Power of the Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source” by Kenneth C. Wolensky] as the final piece concluding the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s 2009 theme, “Energy: Innovation and Impact.” Dr. Wolensky’s work is always top-notch, and I applaud your magazine for taking on this timely topic. This story recognizes an ongoing spirit of innovation that is part of the Commonwealth’s history.

Having recently completed the three academic core courses associated with the Preservation Trades program at Lancaster’s Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, I can attest to the superb quality of PHMC staff who served as instructors; these teachers are an incredibly valuable resource for the Commonwealth. I highly recommend anyone living in the region who might desire to explore Pennsylvania’s architectural heritage, or to gain an understanding of preservation issues, to contact the school for future class offerings. Barry A. Loveland’s “A New Way of Learning How to Preserve the Past” sheds light on a unique public-private partnership that creates opportunities to solve problems, while providing programs that preserve Pennsylvania’s fabulous built landscape. All involved are to be commended.

Lastly, and my main reason for writing, is the exceptional piece written by Earl E. Brown on the flour trade and the Susquehanna River. Having been both a volunteer and paid “front-line interpreter” at several regional historic sites and museums for many years, I am always looking for tools to aid serving the public. “When the Susquehanna River Was Pennsylvania’s Flour Highway” weaves economics, geography, and technology to bring a distant era to life. In doing so, the author tells of the power of Pennsylvania – and provides a sense of the importance of place. This is one of the finest examples of popular history writing that I have had the pleasure to read.

This entire edition of your magazine relays the energetic story that Pennsylvania has to offer the world!

Jim Cawley
Kleinfeltersville, Pa.



In Bonnie Wilkinson Mark’s installment of Investing in Our Past, “Chester Waterside Station,” in the Winter 2010 edition, the name of the rehabilitated building’s major tenant should have appeared as Synygy, Inc. The editor regrets the error.