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.

William Penn’s Legacy

As a lifelong resident of the City of Brotherly Love, I enjoyed the essay by John Fea [“William Penn’s Pennsylvania: A Legacy of Religious Freedom,” Winter 2011], which intelligently addresses what he describes as the tension between Penn’s original vision for the colony and the attempts to adhere to those ideals in the everyday life of the province. The author was much more eloquent, however.

The analysis of the percentage of nationalities and ethnic groups in Pennsylvania in the late eighteenth century was nothing less than surprising; for example, I had no idea whatsoever that in 1790 only 35 percent of the population was English. I thought the figure would have been greater – at least 50 percent. It also impressed me that the Scots-Irish population at the time was as high as 11 percent. That’s tremendous research.

Paula B. Stuckey
Philadelphia, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is observing “William Penn’s Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity” as its annual theme for 2011.


The Grandfathers

This is a thank you letter. My letter appearing in the Winter 2011 issue earned unprecedented response. In that letter I recited the historic role of Darby, Bucks County, as an early hotbed of antislavery efforts in Pennsylvania. I asked readers of Pennsylvania Heritage to contact me so that I could best share my research and findings. One historian re-contacted me with a prediction: “Darby’s role will urge a revolution in researching Pennsylvania’s antislavery history.”

I predict that Quaker abolitionist Thomas Garrett (1789–1871) and his family will be a rich pulling thread. Other threads will tug forward other individuals from Darby Friends Meeting who assisted in the fight against slavery. Let us remember: nineteenth-century freedom fighters in the Midwest revered Darby’s abolitionists as “the Grandfathers.” At the very least, it’s time for modern historians to celebrate these advocates.

Thank you, Pennsylvania Heritage, for making the first step possible.

Thomas R. Smith
Darby, Pa.

Readers who wish to learn more about Darby’s role in the abolition movement are welcome to e-mail the writer at tomroysmith@aol.com.


A Lot of Work!

Wow! Your Winter 2011 issue was among the best ever. Congrats!

I really admire the article on Civil War General George B. McClellan [“The Rise and Fall of ‘Young Napoleon’“]. You are so fortunate to be able to attract writers as outstanding as Dr. [William C.] Kashatus. Every story he writes for you is riveting, and I hope we loyal readers see many more. His insight and perspective are extraordinary, and he presents history in a highly entertaining and enjoyable manner.

I also enjoyed the articles on the lumber photographer [“Wood on Glass: The Lumber Industry Photographs of William T. Clarke” by Ronald E. Ostman, Linda A. Ries, and Harry Littell] and Pennsylvania’s famous forester [“‘This is a Beautiful, Bountiful Earth’: Joseph Trimble Rothrock and the Preservation of Penn’s Woods” by Rebecca Diane Swanger].

I think it’s brilliant that you are able to connect so many columns to your annual theme in every issue. That must take a heck of a lot of work!

Phil Conway
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Printer’s Devil

Thanks for publishing my letter under the heading Fascinating Stories in the Fall 2010 issue. The printer’s devil, however, must have been at work. The date of August 1858 became August 1859, and Queen Victoria became Queen Elizabeth.

I also noted that on page 47 the review of Jack Brubaker’s book entitled Remembering Lancaster County: Stories from Pennsylvania Dutch Country, states that Lancaster was settled in 1830. It was, of course, 1730.

I guess it means that one must always read with a sharp eye.

Donald Walters
Willow Street, Pa.

The editor sincerely regrets these errors and thanks our faithful reader for the corrections. For those not familiar with the history of publishing, a printer’s devil, those in the early printing trade believed, was a mischievous spirit that haunted print shops and misspelled words, inverted type, and deleted entire lines of text.