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 Room with a History

Yesterday’s mail brought the latest edition of Pennsylvania Heritage, and I enjoyed the article on Mira Lloyd Dock [“‘With a Woman’s Instinct’: Mira Lloyd Dock, The Mother of Forestry in Pennsylvania,” by Bill McShane, Winter 2010]. One note of interest that may intrigue your readers is that the photograph of the class of 1910 and staff of the State Forest Academy at Mont Alto was taken in the State Capitol. As soon as I saw the image I recognized the room and its furniture, which was custom designed in 1906.

The Department of Forestry occupied several rooms on the third floor of the northeast corner of the Capitol. The room in the photograph was number 349, the reception room of the Commissioner of Forestry. Robert S. Conklin, who was the commissioner at the time, succeeded the Commonwealth’s first forestry commissioner, Joseph Trimble Rothrock. Conklin served in that position from 1904 until 1920, when he was succeeded by Gifford Pinchot.

Ruthann Hubbert-Kemper
Harrisburg, Pa.

Ruthann Hubbert-Kemper has served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee since the state legislature established the committee in 1982. She recently gave a presentation at the Pennsylvania State Bookstore on artist Violet Oakley (1874–1961), whose murals adorn the State Capitol.


From Cover to Cover

Pennsylvania Heritage is read from cover to cover in my house. I was delighted and proud to read Our Documentary Heritage in the Summer 2009 edition. The author, Willis L. Shirk Jr., devoted a sizeable portion of the feature to the bearings developed for the Holtwood Hydroelectric Power Plant. Dr. Albert Kingsbury, founder of Kingsbury Inc., developed the bearings that still power the facility.

Kingsbury’s headquarters are still located in Philadelphia, and we’ll celebrate the company’s one hundredth anniversary in 2010. Since its incorporation, the company has continued to grow and is still owned by the Kingsbury family.

Thank you for placing importance on Dr. Kingsbury’s invention. You also now know that his company continues to prosper!

Jayne B. Poole
Philadelphia, Pa.

Jayne B. Poole is corporate secretary of Kingsbury Inc.


Planning My Weekend Trips

As a Philadelphian, I really enjoyed Jim McClelland’s article [“A Trio of Philadelphia Maritime Artists“] in the Winter 2010 edition. I particularly enjoyed the large reproductions of the paintings, as well as information where one can see examples of marine art in Pennsylvania’s museums and galleries. Thank you! I’m planning my weekend trips now.

Mary Jo Collins
Philadelphia, Pa.


Conviction and Courage

The article on Andrew G. Curtin [“Pennsylvania’s War Governor,” by William C. Kashatus, Winter 2010] was outstanding! As always, the author turned out a brilliantly written story.

When I think of Governor Curtin, I try to identify leaders today who possess his conviction and courage. How sad that few people know about him and his loyalty to Lincoln and the Union. I wonder how the Civil War would have turned out if he had not played such an important role.

Thank you for bringing the story of this selfless politician to light. We could all benefit by emulating him. He has my vote for one of the best government officials to ever serve Pennsylvania.

Joe Kuzma
Pittsburgh, Pa.