News and Notes

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

1873 Constitution

Dr. Roland M. Baumann, Chief, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, and Henry E. Bown, Associate Archivist in the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, hold the 1873 Constitution which was recently accessioned by the State Archives. On display at the Department of State since 1954, this was transferred February 9, 1978, to the State Archives, which already had in its custody the Constitutions of 1776, 1790 and 1838.


French Azilum Show Set

French Azilum, Inc. has announced that it will hold its annual Heritage, Antique Car, Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25 [1978] at French Azilum near Wysox, Pennsylvania. Previously the show was held in the fall of the year, but because of chancy weather conditions in the northern tier at that time of the year, it was decided to have the affair in June when it was certain that the weather would be more in its favor. The antique car aspect of the show is a new feature this year and will include not only the showing of antique cars, but will also include a flea market for buying and selling antique car parts and accessories. For further information, contact Mrs. Martha Hermann, Box 266, R.D. 2, Towanda 18848, (717) 265-3376.


Local Archival Workshops Held

With the aid of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies have sponsored a series of workshops on archival techniques. The workshops have been designed to assist individuals working in historical societies, libraries, college archives and other institutions which need this type of expertise in their programs. Sessions were held at Harrisburg on May 19 [1978] and Pittsburgh on June 9 [1978]. The next session for institutions in the northern and northeastern sections of the State will be held on September 15 [1978] at the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, 49 South Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. Sessions will deal with such problems as the processing of historical records, the care of non-textual records, storage space, security, and conservation and preservation. Registration information can be obtained by writing the Division of History, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg 17120.


Barkpeelers’ Events Planned

The Barkpeelers’ Convention will be held at the Penn­sylvania Lumber Museum, U.S. Route 6 between Couders­port and Galeton, July 3 and 4, 1978. This annual event is sponsored by the Lumber Museum and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates (PALMA). Demonstrations of ax throwing, cross-cut sawing, chopping, and hewing will be given on both days. A tobacco spitting contest, in which the contestants try to spit tobacco juice into a hot stove, will take place July 3 [1978]. A birling contest, recalling the skills of the men who floated logs down the rivers, will be held on July 4 [1978]. This latter event places two contestants on a floating log with each trying to make his opponent lose his balance and fall in the water without falling in himself. A highlight of the Barkpeelers’ Conven­tion will be the cutting of the log cake and distributing it to the visitors. The log cake consists of cake layers standing on edge, covered with chocolate frosting and decorated to look like a log. It is eight feet long and weighs nearly 200 pounds.

The Barkpeelers’ Convention is based on actual tradi­tion of lumbering days. The barkpeelers, whose job was stripping the bark from the cut logs to be used in tanning, finished their work in late June and were then paid. On being paid, they would celebrate the end of the season, often combining this with the Fourth of July celebration. All other “woodhicks,” or lumber workers, would join in the celebration.


Vermont Razes ‘Preserved’ Site

A recent decision involving land use and historic preservation in Vermont may have much larger implications for institutions concerned with preservation work. The Ver­mont Department of Forests and Parks acquired a permit in 1974 to develop a state park on land which included an 1845 Greek Revival-style tavern. The state Division of Historic Preservation had already certified that the building was historically significant, qualified for the Vermont Register of Historic Places, and that its historical integrity should be maintained.

In 1976, however, the Department of Forests and Parks demolished part of the building and replaced it with an imitation of its original colonial design. This action led to an investigation by the State Environmental Board, which concluded that the Forests and Parks agency had been negligent in its care of the historic site and ordered a com­plete and authentic restoration of the demolished section. Possible criminal prosecution of the agency has still not been ruled out. The legal implications of such a decision are important. Governmental agencies were clearly warned that their stewardship of historical resources is a responsi­bility which must be taken seriously.