News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

“Let our hands nor destroy that heritage- the mayhem of Historical Pennsylvania and pillage of its historical treasures must be curbed and stopped.” This was the keynote phrase of the late State Senator Israel Stiefel in a speech of May 2, 1956, supporting two bills for historic preservation in the State Senate. Senator Stiefel was one of the original legislative members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, serving from 1951 to 1964.


Historical Markers Recently Erected

A long-standing historical controversy has at last been resolved with the erection of an official Commission his­torical marker to designate the birthplace of Thomas Mc­Kean on Route 896, two miles southeast of New London Cross Roads in Chester County.

Many persons believed that the signer of the Declaration of Independence and, later, chief justice and governor of Pennsylvania, was born on a farm near Cochranville, but as a result of extensive research done by Rollin D. Morse, pres­ident of the New London Historical Society and an active member of the Chester County Historical Society, the New London site has been proved to be the authentic one.

Morse based his findings on a manuscript written by McKean himself at the age of 80. The manuscript had been stored in the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsyl­vania and definitely disproved that McKean was born in Cochranville. By a diligent and careful search of deeds and tax records, Morse was able to pinpoint the location of the New London site.

In Bethlehem, another marker recently erected was in tribute to Count Casimir Pulaski. The title of the marker is Pulaski’s Banner, and the inscription notes that when the great Polish hero guarded the Moravian Community in 1778, the Moravian women made a banner for him. The banner was carried by his cavalry until Pulaski was killed during the Siege of Savannah the following year.

Dedication of the marker was sponsored by Joseph A. Borkowski of Pittsburgh, chairman of the Polish Historical Commission.

The first marker that the Commission has ever erected on a circus theme was dedicated in Girard, Erie County, in conjunction with the annual Dan Rice Day celebration.

Although he has now been almost generally forgotten, Dan Rice was, perhaps, the most versatile clown and show­man that America has ever produced and was probably better known in his day than even P. T. Barnum. Rice’s promotional stunts and activities bordered on the bizarre and ribald, and he is sometimes considered as the prototype of the great W. C. Fields.

Rice had the winter quarters of his circus in Girard from 1852 to 1875 and donated to the borough the first Civil War memorial ever erected. The Commission’s historical marker stands at the Diamond in Girard, opposite the site of Rice’s home; the Civil War monument is midway between.

One of the most recent markers to be erected was for the Old Log Church on U.S. 30, just west of Schellsburg, Bed­ford County. This remarkably preserved primitive log struc­ture was begun in 1806 by members of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations and was built on land granted by John Schell for the purpose of erecting a union church.

The unique and attractive old log church stands in the center of a well-kept cemetery and presents a picturesque view to travelers on the adjacent Lincoln Highways.


New Commission Publications are Available

New publications of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission are now available for purchase from the Commission. They are Frederick M. Binder, Coal Age Empire: Pennsylvania Coal and Its Utilization to 1860, a study of the early technology of fuel use and the develop­ment of coal marketing, 184 pages, $5.50; John E. Bodnar, Ethnic History in Pennsylvania: A Selected Bibliography, 47 pages, $1.00; John B. B. Trussell, Jr., Epic on the Schuyl­kill: The Valley Forge Encampment, 1777-1778, 46 pages, $1.00; Guide to the Historical Markers of Pennsylvania, fourth edition, texts of more than 1,350 markers erected by the Commission, 163 pages, $1.25; Max Rosenberg, The Building of Perry’s Fleet on Lake Erie, third printing, 72 pages, $1.25; and four Historic Pennsylvania Leaflets, Simon Cameron, The Liberty Bell, The Battle of Germantown, and The Battle of Brandywine.

Newly available as a cooperative publication is Robert D. Arbuckle, Pennsylvania Speculator and Patriot: The Entre­preneurial John Nicholson, 1757-1800, published by the Pennsylvania State University Press, 384 pages, $14.50.

Three other new books from the Commission, which should be available in the spring, are Herbert C. Kraft, editor, A Delaware Indian Symposium, volume four of the Commission’s Anthropological Series, 160 pages, cloth $4.50, paper $3.00; John F. Coleman, The Disruption of the Pennsylvania Democracy: Pennsylvania Politics, 1848-1860, 190 pages, $5.50; and Joseph E. Walker, editor, Pleasure and Business in Western Pennsylvania: The Journal of Joshua Gilpin, 1809, 156 pages, $6.00. The paperbound Indians in Pennsylvania, by Paul A. W. Wallace, 198 pages, will be out in a new printing for $1.75.

Orders, with payment, should be addressed to the Com­mission, Division of History, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. Orders from Pennsylvania residents should include six per­cent sales tax. The 1975 publications price list will be sent on request.


Governor Donates Rock

Gov. Milton J. Shapp has turned over a lunar rock sample given him last year by three Skylab astronauts to the William Penn Memorial Museum where it is on display.

The one-gram rock sample, enclosed in plastic, was pre­sented by Navy Capts. Charles (Pete) Conrad; Joseph P. Kerwin, a native of Philadelphia, and Paul J. Weitz, an Erie native.


Western Pa. Guide Underway

George Swetnam and Helene Smith are preparing A Traveler’s Guide to Historic Western Pennsylvania. The guide will cover twenty-seven counties and will include background on 800 historic sites and instructions on how to reach them.

Publication of this edition is scheduled for 1976 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The first edition, written by Louis Mulkearn and Edwin V. Pugh, has been out of print for seven years.

Swetnam needs no introduction to amateur or pro­fessional Pennsylvania historians. He has written over 5,000,000 words of western Pennsylvania history for the Pittsburgh Press and innumerable articles and studies. In addition, he has written twelve historical books and is a former editor of The Keystone Folklore Quarterly.

Mrs. Smith has written Hanna’s Town, a historical children’s book, and is an artist, musician and archeologist as well as chairman of the Westmoreland County Historical Society. Mrs. Smith has the distinction of discovering the exact location of Hanna’s Town.


State Youth Involved in History

In 1942, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies and the Pennsylvania Social Studies Council created the Pennsylvania Federation of Junior Historians as an organiza­tion to coordinate the activities of high school history clubs. The Commission established an office in Harrisburg, and the consortium appointed an executive secretary. The state office, administered by PHMC and with a staff historian serving as executive secretary for the Federation, still directs the organization, coordinates club activities and serves as a clearing house for information and guidance from its Harrisburg headquarters in the William Penn Memorial Museum.

Currently, and with a quite different mission in the com­munities, the local chapters are involved in local history and community research projects, oral history programs, “live-in” experiences, historic preservation, environmental projects, community theatre, archeological excavations, photography, and a special state-wide program on video­tapes and public access television.

As a means for facilitating an annual exchange of infor­mation and encouraging historical projects. the Federation co-sponsored with the State Department of Education a cultural history festival. This was held in conjunction with the celebration of William Penn’s 330th birthday Oct. 24, 1974, in the William Penn Memorial Museum.

Paralleling the Junior Historians’ move into new areas of historical interest is the organization’s attempt to redefine its direction. Presently students and advisers. working to­gether, have drawn up five goals the organization believes to be important: 1) to instill a spirit of responsibility in each student member by encouraging,each to develop his or her own abilities and interests; 2) to help teachers use the re­sources that the region and state provide in order to expand instruction beyond the classroom; 3) by initiating interest­ing projects to change the basic educational philosophy of schools so that out-of-class projects are seen as legitimate and exciting innovations to the curriculum; 4) to encourage the exchange of information students need in order to make an informed and humane choice of careers in the interre­lated fields of history, archeology, historic preservation, police and social work, photography, American studies and architecture; and 5) to encourage the student to participate actively in historical agency work at the local and state level.

Determined to involve high school students in unique opportunities which utilize professionals in their fields of study, this past summer Ira F. Smith, III, PHMC field archeologist, and Carl Oblinger, PHMC staff historian who serves as executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Federation of Junior Historians, collaborated to create an educational and work experience for sixteen high school students at an Indian village site in Lancaster County. Smith permitted the students to participate in all phases of field archeology, i.e., in such tasks as surveying; note-taking; photography; the arduous task of flat shoveling, pit excavation and flotation, and showing visitors the excavation site.

Smith and Oblinger selected an equal number of male and female senior high school students, drawn from Lancaster, Camp Hill, Pottsville, Warren, Ambler, Burgettstown, Stoneboro, Milford and even a guest intern from the Yorkers, the student historians of New York.

Perhaps one measure of the success of the program is the extra effort the participants put into it after it was com­pleted. Jack Baldwin of Penn Manor High School, Millers­ville, one of the outstanding summer student interns, has created an excellent narrative and has selected 50 slides on the summer project for showing interested clubs and schools. These slides will be available after March 20 [1975] through the Education Section of the William Penn Museum.

Historical societies and other historic agencies can aid the Junior Historians in a number of ways. They can, for example, ask the students to show slides and video-tapes of projects (including the summer archeology program) to local groups. Your society or agency might even want to sponsor a local chapter of Junior Historians.


Travel Schedule For “Pennsylvania ’74”

The “Pennsylvania ’74” juried crafts exhibit will be on tour throughout the Commonwealth until next fall. The traveling exhibit contains over 80 works selected by the original jury from over 200. “Pennsylvania ’74” was supported by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was organized by the State through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.

The travel schedule follows:

March 1-21, 1975: Sordoni Art Gallery, 150 South River Street, Wilkes-Barre.
April and May 1975: Erie Custom House, Erie.
June 1975: Huber Art Gallery, Shippensburg State College, Shippensburg.
July and August 1975: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South Eighteenth Street, Philadelphia.
September 1975: Lycoming County Museum, 358 West Fourth Street, Williamsport.
October 1975: Thiel College, Greenville.
November 1975: Fayette National Bank, Uniontown.


Osborn’s Drawings Shown

The Samuel Powell House in Philadelphia, where George and Martha Washington spent their twentieth wedding anniversary, is one of the subjects of lithograph pencil drawings by the late Milton S. Osborn which are currently on display at the William Penn Memorial Museum.

Among Osborn’s interests, in addition to architecture, were watercolors, pencil, pen and ink drawings, mural painting and illustrating. He was professor of architecture and fine arts at Pennsylvania State University. The drawings are from the museum’s collection.