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.

Saintly Connections

The feature story on Saint Katharine Drexel was brilliantly written by William C. Kashatus [“Philadelphia’s Sainted Katharine Drexel,” Summer 2007]. This article is of great interest to our Keating family and others here in northeastern Pennsylvania.

My aunt, Esther Keating, of Pittston, Luzerne County, was educated in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and became the full-time nurse to the Drexel family in Philadelphia. She was inspired to become a member of Katharine Drexel’s order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, around 1911. She served in many of the places mentioned in the article, including Xavier University in New Orleans, until her death in 1962. Sister Esther inspires us today as does her spiritual leader.

The sidebar connecting Pope Leo XIII, the pontiff who gave Katharine Drexel a private audience in 1887 and who established Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice, the highest honor accorded by the papacy to a layperson, and northeastern Pennsylvania was excellent. This honor was bestowed in 1928 on Annie Coroner Wills of Scranton by Pope Pius XI, who also conferred on her the title of Papal Countess. The Wills family summer house, Sunny Breeze, at Tobyhanna, Monroe County, now the museum of the Coolbaugh Township Historical Association, is open to the public.

Thank you for another great issue!

Dominic J. Keating
Dunmore, Pa.

My wife Nancy and I greatly enjoyed the Summer 2007 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage, especially the article about Saint Katharine Drexel. The Reverend Henry E. Strassner, ordained in 1947 and recently retired as pastor of Saint Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church in Tamaqua, said he brought daily communion to Mother M. Katharine Drexel when he was a young priest in Philadelphia.

George E. Lenyo, M.D.
Tamaqua, Pa.



I read the review of Troubled Experiment: Crime and Justice in Pennsylvania in “Bookshelf” in the Summer 2007 issue with great interest. Both in the citation and the body of the review you referred to G.S. Stone as one of the authors. G.S. Stone, in fact, should read G.S. Rowe. I forgive you, of course, but my wife and children think your staff’s editing and proofreading are pretty shoddy.

G.S. Rowe
Greeley, Colo.

G. S. Rowe is professor emeritus of history at the University of Northern Colorado. He coauthored Troubled Experiment with Jack D. Marietta, professor of history at the University of Arizona.


Blooming Grove

I have enjoyed Pennsylvania Heritage in general, but especially “Into the Woods” in the Summer 2007 edition. Since we here in Elk County are especially proud of our camps, I could relate to the ups and downs of the Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club. I appreciate anything that points out “not enough deer” because it is something the state, or parts of it, has dealt with before.

At a camp in St. Marys, Vice President John Nance Garner and Poland’s Ambassador to the United States Jan Ciechanowsky were together at the start of World War II. This is mentioned at the Garner Memorial Museum in Uvalde, Texas, devoted to the career of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first vice president. Whether or not it was a coincidence or if it was supposed to send a message was not clear to me, but it made it very clear it was an Elk County camp.

Keep up the good work.

M. Vernon Ordiway, M.D.
Ridgway, Pa.


Please Help Me

Please help me with the math.

In “Sharing the Common Wealth” on the back cover of the Fall 2007 issue, the text reads that 1946 was on the heels of the bicentennial of William Penn’s birth. If that’s the case, then he missed by a full century the lifetime of his first wife, Gulielma!

Just nit-pickin’ – I love your magazine.

Elna Stratton
Hamburg, Pa.

The Reverend Elna Stratton is absolutely correct. The Pennsylvania Historical Commission, predecessor of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, participated in the tercentenary of William Penn in 1944.



In “Reviving – and Revising – the Reputation of Ralph Elwood Brock” by Rachel L. Jones Williams in the Fall 2007 edition, two discrepancies crept in during editing. Historians have debated and disagreed about Brock’s year of birth, which affected the consistency of conclusions regarding his age. On page 22, the article states that the forester died on December 9, 1959, which the editorial staff believes to be correct. On page 14, his lifetime span is noted as 1883 to 1958. A basic calculation should have concluded Brock died at the age of seventy-six in 1959, not seventy-nine, as the text on page 22 also incorrectly asserts. The editor regrets the errors.