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.

Warm and Special Memories

Upon seeing the cover of the most recent edition of the Pennsylvania Heritage, Spring 2014, I immediately recognized the Harry Whittier Frees photograph. The sight of two cats donned in clothing and perched on a swing evoked warm and special memories. You see, my mother received the book Toodles and Her Friends in 1936 for her first birthday. She had several books from her childhood that I would clamor for and that would be brought out of the corner cupboard to be read only under supervision. They were not in the stack of books available for young hands at will. They were special to my mother and, in turn, very special to me. Toodles and Her Friends was my all-time favorite book as a young girl. Each spread contained a story on one side and a photograph of real animals, in the most endearing human poses, on the other. The pages turned slowly as I was captivated not only with the tale on one side but also by the tail on the other.

Thank you for choosing such a clever and captivating image for the cover of Pennsylvania Heritage to promote the feature article “Introducing Harry Whittier Frees: World-Famous Animal Photographer” by Mary L. Weigley.

Linda F. Avetta
Harrisburg, Pa.

Linda F. Avetta is the Digital Archives and Records Division Chief for the Pennsylvania State Archives. One of her many responsibilities includes the acquisition and preservation of digital photography and digital video, and the conversion of photographs and analog video to a digital format.


Proud of the College

On page 5 of the Spring 2014 issue there is a bad error [in Wish You Were Here!]. The picture is of the Greene County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument created by Simon A. Rinehart. The accompanying text says the monument stands in Monument Park on the campus of Waynesburg University.

In the first place, Monument Park is part of a park system running through what is called the North Side and belongs to the town of Waynesburg, not the “university.” Simon Rinehart was a cousin of mine. The monument was arranged by U.S. Representative Thomas S. Crago, my grandfather. The “university” is, in fact, Waynesburg College. It has been Waynesburg College since it was established in 1849 and at the time was granted the authority to issue high school diplomas and bachelor and masters of arts diplomas. Most people who know the college still call it “the College.” The use of “university” has only been in use since the current president was installed. That the “university” claims the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is on its campus is just one more instance of the current president’s efforts to take over the town.

Waynesburg is the county seat of Greene County. The town was always proud of the “college.” It does not need a “university.”

Margaret W. Baker
Freedom, Pa.

Pennsylvania Heritage accepts full responsibility for mistakenly locating the monument and the park on the campus of Waynesburg University and regrets the error. In addition to Monument Park, the borough of Waynesburg also administers West, Ritchie, College and East parks. Chartered by the Commonwealth one year after its founding, in 1850, the institution, located on 70 acres, earned the distinction in 2013 of being “one of the 25 most beautiful Christian Universities in America.”


Bothered by the Photo

Overall I was pleased by the Fall 2013 issue, but am bothered by the photo of the flag on the back cover [Sharing the Common Wealth]. The fact that it was shown reversed from the accepted respectful display, with the star-filled blue canton in the upper left corner, was explained in the accompanying text by the statement, “Meyer made a one-sided flag . . . to honor her son. . . .” From that statement, I assume that the flag was photographed in a way to show that one side. Be that as it may, your representation of the flag, whether one-sided or not, should still adhere to the accepted manner and give the flag the respect it deserves. The photograph could have been, and should have been, taken of the flag hung vertically, which would have resulted in the canton being positioned in the upper left corner as it should be.

Larry D. Smith
East Freedom, Pa.

Karl C. “Chuck” Smith, administrator of the Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg, Centre County, one of 25 museums and historic sites along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History, provided the following response: “Because of the fragility and age it is not possible to display this flag without it being directly supported and therefore makes the option of hanging it not possible. There were no standards or etiquette in 1863 when the flag was created. The laws defining the Flag of the United States can be found in United States Code (USC) Title 4 and USC Title 36. USC Title 4, Sections 1 and 2, define the flag as having 48 stars and was later amended to include two additional stars as states were added. The laws do not pertain to flags of less than 48 stars.”