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.

Has It All!

The recent issue of Pennsylvania Heritage has it all! The story on Larry Fine [“Laughing with Philadelphia Stooge Larry Fine” by William C. Kashatus, Fall 2008], architecture of the New Deal [“Built by the New Deal” by Michael J. O’Malley III], and the gorgeous cover picture make your magazine one of the best I’ve ever read. I also enjoyed the postcard of the Civil War monument in Cameron County and your reviews of new books. Thanks for a great read.

Bill Thompson Jr.
Brookside, Pa.

I enjoy Pennsylvania Heritage very much. However, your Summer 2008 edition was truly outstanding. The art- work on the cover and related articles about the New Deal [“Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices” by David Lembeck, with photographs by Michael Mutmansky], the Barrymore family history feature [“The Barrymores of Philadelphia: America’s Royal Family of the Theatre” by Jim McClelland], and the story on Fallingwater [“The Architect, The Icon, and The Artist“] are the best I have ever read on these topics. Keep up the good work and congratulations to all involved and responsible. I can’t wait for the next issue which will have to go very far to exceed this edition.

Richard Doyle
Hampton, N.H.

Through May 17, 2009, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, is showing “A Common Canvas: Pennsylvania’s New Deal Murals,” an exhibit of public artworks commissioned during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal for post offices and selected public buildings.


Barrymore Burials

I am writing in reference to the Barrymore family article in the Summer 2008 edition [“The Barrymores of Philadelphia: America’s Royal Family of the Theatre” by Jim McClelland]. Many people don’t know about the Drew family or realize that these Barrymore ancestors, as well as several Barrymores, are buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery, located at Ridge and Lehigh Avenues in Philadelphia.

This cemetery has fallen on really hard times, and a few amateur historians and I have been trying to persuade the owner, an elderly retired attorney living in Washington, D.C., to give us access to the burial records so that we can catalogue them and create a data- base to preserve them. He allows us to visit the cemetery before Memorial Day and place flags on the graves of veterans. Burials include veterans from the American Revolution through the Korean War.

The Mt. Vernon Cemetery is not open to the public, but if Mr. McClelland or any of your readers would like to visit, I can make those arrangements. I am the librarian for the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library and serve on the board of the General Meade Society of Philadelphia. I am also a member of the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery and the Friends of Greenwood Cemetery.

Kathleen M. Smith
Philadelphia, Pa.

Readers interested in visiting Mt. Vernon Cemetery may contact Mrs. Smith by e-mail at silverow1275@verizon.net or by telephone at (215) 242-6402.


A Treasure Trove

The photographs, both period and contemporary, illustrating the New Deal article in the Fall 2008 edition are fantastic [“Built by the New Deal” by Michael J. O’Malley III]. I was impressed to discover that the vintage photographs are held by the Pennsylvania State Archives. What a treasure trove. Harrisburg, here I come!

Faye M. Phillips
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Timely Profile

Your profile on Mr. Finnegan [“Profile: James A. Finnegan (1906–1958),” Summer 2008] was timely, not only because this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of his death, but also because of the presidential campaigns and election in November. I had no idea this fellow Philadelphian wielded such political clout and I’m thankful for learning more about him.

James L. Carson II
Philadelphia, Pa.

James A. Finnegan – who lived by the motto “Good Government is Good Politics” – managed Adlai E. Stevenson’s two presidential campaigns, and served as president of the Philadelphia City Council and secretary of the Commonwealth. Two years after his death, in 1960, prominent Pennsylvanians established the nonpartisan James A. Finnegan Foundation to provide practical training in government to outstanding college undergraduates through paid summer internships.