News and Notes

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

On the Cover

High on a bluff in southwestern Fayette County overlooking the Monongahela River stands the “old stone church,” built in 1810 on ground provided for public use by Albert Gallatin. The building was designed by Gallatin and James Nicholson to provide what could be called a community center for the town of New Geneva, which Gallatin founded and laid out in 1797 and named for his native Geneva, Switzer­land. The structure was for years used as a church by Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist congregations, but ii also served as a school­house, meeting hall and polling place. Attesting to the building’s age and historic significance, the rustic cemetery down the hill contains the weather-beaten tombstones which mark the graves of veterans from the Revolution to the Civil War.

Realizing the importance of the site, a neighborhood association hopes to restore the building, which has remained vacant for the past forty years, and to encourage the National Park Service to incorporate it into the Friendship Hill complex. the home of Albert Gallatin. which is no more than a mile away.


Fall Events at Pennsbury

The highly popular Market Fair, first held at Pennsbury Manor in the fall of 1982, has now officially become an annu­al event. Centuries ago such English and American country market fairs involved craftsmen, trades people and farmers who congregated to sell their products and produce in a color­ful, hustle-bustle atmosphere. Entertainers and rustic per­formers also attended the fairs, competing among themselves for the attention and the pennies of the country folk. The hearty entertainment of these fairs was often the only un­abashed amusement that the hard-working country people could look forward to.

The Market Fair at Pennsbury, this year to be held on Sat­urday and Sunday, October 22-23 [1983], incorporates all. these features in an atmosphere of historic authenticity and fun. Over thirty craftspersons will be selling and demonstrating their chosen crafts, including pewter smithing, stenciling, black­smithing, bandbox making, quilting and many, many more. Each has been selected for the quality and authenticity of his/her work, and each has been specially invited to attend.

Entertainment will also abound. There will be a Punch and Judy show and, in the courtyard behind the manor, a troupe of jugglers will teach all those who are interested how to jug­gle after their performance. Near the Brew House a group of roistering country musicians will be merrily playing the great pop tunes of 1750 and a minstrel will stroll the grounds play­ing the lute and singing the sweet romantic songs of 300 years ago. The seventeenth-century kitchen will be in full operation, while rustic hunters will show visitors how to put meat on the table with a flintlock fowling piece.

Less than two short weeks after the merriment of the Mar­ket Fair, Pennsbury will host yet another of its annual fall events. “Ans of the Delaware Valley” will be the subject of this year’s Americana Forum, which will be held November 4-5 [1983]. Participants will study influences on the developing char­acter of architecture, cabinetmaking and other elements of the Delaware Valley style. After papers are presented which eval­uate the Quaker, English, German and French influences, the Forum will culminate with a discussion of Philadelphia high style, in which all these elements are brought together to form a distinctive, sophisticated synthesis. The closing meeting will be held at Andalusia, where guests can examine Nicholas Bid­dle’s fine neoclassical home and study the beginnings of our first national style.

For further information about the Market Fair, which will run from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Saturday and 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Sunday, or the Americana Forum, please write to Pennsbury Manor, 400 Pennsbury Lane, Morrisville 19067, or call (215) 946-0400.


Mason-Dixon Marker Moved

This past April, at a bend of rural road, a piece of history was moved along the line that once divided North from South. Crown Stone No. 55, which was moved 35.77 feet west of its former position, is one of the original stones that has marked the location of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1766. The line, popularized during the Civil War as the divider between free and slave states, is officially the border between the Common­wealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland.

In dispute for years, the territory was finally surveyed by Englishmen Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. Interesting­ly, the crown stones bear the crest of the Penns on one side and of the Calverts on the other, for the line resolved the con­flicting claims of the two families. The stones, which are set every five miles along the Mason-Dixon Line, were quarried in England and brought to this country on ships that used them for ballast.

Milepost No. 55, located in York County, was practically buried in the early sixties when road improvements raised the level of the surrounding ground. Distraught that the impres­sive marker was covered by a fifty-five gallon drum and chat it created a hazard to automobile and foot traffic, the Division of Land Records at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission joined with the Maryland Geological Survey and the National Geodetic Survey to study the problem of moving the stone.

It was no small feat to move the two-and-one-half-ton marker, since milepost 55 and nearly 300 other Mason-Dixon markers still serve as points of reference in determining prop­erty lines, highways, elevation points and waterways. After preliminary surveying, celestial observations of the North Star and computer calculations, the sunken marker was relo­cated along the famous boundary line.

As the crown stone settles into its new home, away from the highway, it will once again be useful as a surveyor’s coordi­nate point and a reminder of our historic past.


Letters Column to Begin

Pennsylvania Heritage is planning some changes beginning with the spring 1984 issue, due out in March of next year. One addition to the quarterly, in which we encourage readers to actively participate, will be a “letters to the Editor” column. In order to effectively introduce this new department, we invite all Heritage readers to write to us with their suggestions, comments and criticisms, whether they are directed toward specific articles or to the magazine in general.

To be given consideration, letters should be typed (double spaced), kept as brief as possible, signed and dated. All corre­spondence should be addressed to Pennsylvania Heritage, Letters to the Editor, PHMC, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. For mail to be considered for the spring issue, it must be re­ceived prior to October 15 [1983]; all letters arriving after that date will be reviewed for later editions. Because of limited space, the editor reserves the right to edit all material which is se­lected for publication. However, every effort will be made to ensure that the intent of the letter is not altered.

A detailed description of the changes planned for Heritage will appear in the upcoming winter issue. Between now and then, however, it is hoped that readers will join the evolution of the magazine by taking pan in the new “Letters to the Edi­tor” column.


The Centralia Contradiction

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council bas approved fund­ing for a Humanities in Contemporary Life Project entitled “The Centralia Contradiction: The Pleasure and Pain of Small-Town Life – A Humanist’s View.” Conceptualized by Dr. Tony Mussari of King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, the proj­ect will enable thirty-six humanists in eleven different commu­nities across the Commonwealth to explore several aspects of small-town life, its historical development, its characteriza­tion in literature and film, and its strengths and weaknesses in a nuclear society.

Using Centralia Fire, a twenty-eight minute documentary film produced by Dr. Mussari for national broadcast on Pub­lic Broadcasting System stations, the panel discussions will en­able the participants to discuss the contents of the film in rela­tionship to the history of small-town life, the myth and reality of small-town values, and philosophical and ethical questions raised by the environmental crisis in Centralia. The docu­mentary film will also be aired on the following PBS stations at 10:30 P.M., Tuesday, September 13: WPSK, WQIN, WITF, WQEX, WQED (11:00 P.M.) and WVIA.

Co-sponsored by King’s College and the Anthracite Mu­seum Complex of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the discussions will take place in the following locations: King’s College Li­brary, Wilkes-Barre (September 1983); Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (October 1983); Canal Museum, Easton (November 1983); William Penn Memorial Museum, Harrisburg (December 1983); Luzerne County Community College Conference Center, Nanticoke (January 1984); Northampton Area Community College Conference Center, Bethlehem (February 1984); The Glosser Library, Johnstown (March 1984); Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Ashland (April 1984); and Western Pennsylvania Historical Society, Pittsburgh (May 1984).

For further information and specific dates on the discus­sions, contact MLA Productions, Inc., 150 S. Grant St., Wilkes-Barre 18702.


Brandywine River Museum Building Addition

Plans are being made ac the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford for a $3 million addition designed to provide more storage and display area for the museum’s rapidly grow­ing collection of American an and illustration. The three-level structure will house a new museum shop, a 120-seat restau­rant, a large gallery, a greatly expanded research library and staff offices.

The new wing has been carefully designed to compliment the original structure, a converted Civil War grist mill which opened as an art museum in June 1971. The addition will con­sist of brick, glass and natural wood siding; be eighty-two feet longer than the existing structure; and contain an imposing glass tower, similar in size and design to the present one along the Brandywine River.

The general atmosphere of the existing museum will remain unchanged, but the new wing will allow more of the museum’s collection of American an and illustration to be shown at one time. It also will provide better accommodations for visitors and solve one of the museum’s most pressing needs: secure and adequate space for artwork and for the curatorial and ad­ministrative staff. The new wing has been carefully designed for maximum energy conservation, precise temperature and humidity control, fire and security protection, and the recep­tion of handicapped visitors.

The first floor will contain an information area, a cloak­room, and a completely redesigned museum shop with double the existing space. There will also be a new kitchen and restau­rant with a covered outdoor brick patio located beneath the restaurant on the river-bank level.

The second floor of the new wing will house administrative offices, a research library and rest rooms. The library will hold five times more materials than can now be stored, and al­low for the growth of reference book, manuscript and artists’ memorabilia collections. The third level will be reserved for a new gallery, offices for curatorial staff, and secure storage and work areas. The new gallery of more than 2,000 square feet will have a dynamic lighting system and provide flexibil­ity in planning a wide variety of exhibitions.

It is hoped that the contrast between the older galleries and the more contemporary spaces will heighten the enjoyment and stimulate the imagination of visitors, as well as make the museum more pleasurable and convenient. The new wing should be completed in the fall of 1984.


Adding Fuel to the Fire

“Adding fuel to the Fire,” the current exhibit, at the An­thracite Museum, Scranton, focuses on energy and its role in the development of the anthracite region and the nation. The exhibit traces the transition from a dependence on wood as the principal fuel, to a period when coal was dominant, to the present when oil, gas and electricity are the major fuels for home and industry.

Energy – in the form of wood, coal, oil or gas – has been a central theme in the history of northeastern Pennsylvania. The need for and the use of inexpensive sources of energy led to the construction of transportation networks, the formation of new industries, and the development of towns and cities. The shift from wood to coal, and then from coal to oil and gas, has effected industrial growth and decline. It has been the basis for the evolving social and cultural patterns in the an­thracite region.

“Adding fuel to the Fire” is arranged in six sections; the first three center on the historic periods of energy use.

“The Age of Wood” emphasizes the use of wind, water and muscles for power. Windmills, waterwheels, animal treadles and tools illustrate Pennsylvania’s Wooden Age.

“The Age of Iron” was a period of iron construction and furnishings, and steam power; coal was the fuel. Steam en­gines powered American industry, while steamships and steam locomotives transported people and material. It was an age of speed and an era of growth in the anthracite region.

“The Age of Convenience” is marked by the availability of electrical appliances, the automobile and the thermostat. Americans had a technological freedom unknown before. At the same time, inexpensive oil, gas and electricity marked the decline of the anthracite industry and, with it, a regional econ­omy dependent on its sale and use.

The impact of this transition is noted in two sections on home life and the work place.

“More and More: Power and the Home” shows how ener­gy revolutionized the technology of housework and altered patterns of cooking, cleaning and washing. The substitution of gas or electricity for wood or coal made housework easier but changed ways of thinking about personal and home hy­giene. “Power and the Home” shows the changes from can­dles to electric lights, wood fireplaces to electric stoves, brooms to vacuum cleaners, and iceboxes to modern refriger­ators.

“More and More: Power and Work” illustrates how dif­ferent fuels had an influence on industry. The availability of steam and electric power had a significant impact on mining, textiles and the iron industry. Their success rose and fell with the switch to new fuels, new technologies and new sources of raw material.

The concluding section, “More Means Less: The Future,” shows how the anthracite region is a barometer of energy use. High energy costs and declining sources of liquid fuels have renewed interest in anthracite and in coal gasification. Experi­ments with wind and solar power also exemplify the area’s continuing role in developing a variety of energy sources.

“Adding Fuel to the Fire” surveys Pennsylvania’s energy history with over 250 objects, ranging in size from full-scale steam engines to delicate patent models; 100 graphics and more than 200 photographs illustrate Pennsylvania’s energy history. For more, contact the Anthracite Museum, Scranton, R.D. 1, Bald Mountain Road, Scranton 18504, or call (717) 961-4804.


Legacy of an Industrial Past: Three Books

“Pennsylvania: The Legacy of an Industrial Past” is the ti­tle of a state sponsored history program recently completed by the PHMC. Based on research funded by a $14,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the project was designed to study the impact of industrialization on individu­als and institutions, as well as its effects on families, labor unions, the environment, ethnic and racial diversity, and nu­merous other social changes in three Pennsylvania communities: Monessen, Cornwall and Nanticoke.

The history of each of these towns was closely tied to indus­trial growth. Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, Mones­sen was, in its early stages, an industrial boom town, but since the Great Depression it has suffered steady decline, steel mill closings and an economic slowdown. Cornwall’s people, on the other hand, prospered under Bethlehem Steel’s regime and were taken by complete surprise when the iron ore pits were closed in 1972. In the anthracite coal mines of Nanticoke, the decline commenced in 1918 and fueled desperate strife and violence between rank and file, the United Mine Workers and the local coal company hierarchy.

The final phase of this program, which included extensive research by three Commission staff members and public meet­ings held in the communities involved in the studies, is the publication of three illustrated booklets, each running from 100 to 125 pages. The monographs will open with introduc­tions, which carefully reconstruct the historical background, and draw upon extensive excerpts from oral history interviews to illustrate the experiences of the people who lived and worked in the three industrial centers.

Monessen and Its People: A Brief History of an Industrial Boom Town and Steel Community, 1898-1980 by Matthew S. Magda and Cornwall: The People and the Culture of a Be­nign Industrial Community, 1880-1980 by Carl D. Oblinger will be released soon. Anthracite People: Families, Unions and Work, 1900-1940 by John E. Bodnar is available now by writing to the Publication Sales Program, PHMC, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. Each book is priced at $3.50. All orders should include an additional $1.00 to cover postage and han­dling, as well as 6% state sales tax.


Building a New World: Black Labor Photographs

An historically unequal competition between black and white workers has left the Afro-American at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, black workers have contributed significantly to America’s economic development. Building a New World: Black Labor Photographs, an exhibition to appear in Memorial Hall at the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harrisburg from October 8 to November 6 [1983], chronicles the his­tory of black labor in the U.S., and demonstrates the chang­ing attitudes toward black workers from Reconstruction to to­day.

Photographs of workers, both black and white, were popu­lar in the latter pan of the nineteenth century. Black workers, however, were rarely treated as individuals, but as picturesque types. By the turn of the century, a more humanistic attitude was evident in the work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, who photographed students building Hampton and Tuskegee Insti­tutes and in Lewis Hine’s photographs for the National Child Labor Committee.

In the late 1920s Doris Ulmann photographed southern blacks in a romantic, artistic style. Her nostalgic attitude to­ward her subjects was replaced during the Depression by an increased awareness of the plight of the black worker. This new respect and concern for black laborers is seen in the Farm Security Administration photographs of such artists as Rus­sell Lee and Marion Post Wolcott. Moreover. the favorable image of the 1930s was continued in photographs produced during World War II by the Office of War Information.

The exhibition documents both the discrimination faced by black workers and the black struggle for equity in the urban labor market. This theme is presented in photographs by Gordon Parks and Robert Frank, among others. Two photo­graphs from Morgan Smith’s series of “firsts” – the first black train conductor and the first black female trolley opera­tor – are also included, as is a fascinating photograph of A. Philip Randolph in a picket line. The exhibition closes with a selection of works by contemporary photographer Roland Freeman. His scenes of Baltimore and of rural Mississippi summarize the themes of rural and urban labor that run throughout the exhibition.

This exhibition comes to the William Penn as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Services (SITES).