News and Notes

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

S. K. Stevens Award

Presentation of the first S. K. Stevens Award, May 6, 1978, at Federation Meeting in Harrisburg. James Stevenson, Historical Foundation of Pennsylvania, presenting the award to Charles Crawford of McKean County Historical Society, the winner.


700 Pennsylvania Properties Listed on National Register

Approximately 700 Pennsylvania properties have been entered on the National Register of Historic Places as of Spring, 1978. Should anyone want the entries on the National Register for a particular county, please call (717) 787-3362.

The current total of registered properties represents an increase of approximately 200 entires from the Spring of 1977, according to William J. Wewer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

Thirty-two historic districts, located in 17 different counties, are included in the 700 Pennsylvania properties total.

The leading ten counties with properties entered on the National Register are: Philadelphia, 125; Chester, 76; Allegheny, 49; Montgomery, 41; Bucks, 34; Centre, 25; Lancaster and Washington, both 21 each; Berks, 19; and Franklin, 16.

Only seven of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are without representation on the National Register. The number is expected to be reduced to four counties soon because three counties each have a property in the process of nomination to the National Register.

Every county is expected to have at least one property listed on the National Register before year’s end. This is one of the goals of Pennsylvania Office of Historic Preservation, a PHMC function.


Historic Site Reopens

The Flagship Niagara, closed to the public during a site construction project that improved visitors’ facilities, re­opened for public visitation on May 6, 1978.

In the $16,170 project for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the site’s existing frame maintenance building, 20 x 14 feet in size, was renovated into a reception center for visitors to the historic ship.

Work on the structure included: roof repairs, renovation of the plumbing and electrical systems and chimney, installation of display cabinets, general and miscellaneous construction, and both interior and exterior painting. Schick Matts Corporation of Erie is the contractor.

A reconstruction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s second flagship in the Battle of Lake Erie, the ship is maintained by the Commonwealth as a symbol of the bravery and enterprise which saved the Old Northwest from British conquest in the War of 1812. The brig is the only ship maintained by the Commission.

During the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813, Commodore Perry and several others escaped from the shattered first flagship and continued the fight from the Niagara. Later Perry reported: “We have met the enemy and they are ours: Two Ships, two Brigs one Schooner & one Sloop.”

The Flagship Niagara, dry docked at the foot of State Street in Erie, is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday.


Black History Conference

On April 20-21, 1978, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission sponsored a conference on black history at Lincoln University, in Oxford. During the two day sessions participants heard presentations on topics such as black genealogy, black labor, and urban black in­stitutions. Noted speakers included Charles Blockson, author of Pennsylvania Black History who spoke on tracing family origins of blacks, and Debra Newman of the Nation­al Archives, who surveyed records available for pursuing ancestral origins in America.

Several speakers analyzed the life of blacks in urban neighborhoods and the workplace and examined the lines they carved for themselves in the midst of a racially hostile society. Especially thought provoking was the des­cription of “Philadelphia’s Thirteenth Ward” by H. Viscount Nelson of Dartmouth College. Treatments of the discrimin­ation blacks faced in Pennsylvania’s work environments were documented at length. Dennis Dickerson of Williams College described the systematic denial of equal rights to black steel workers in western Pennsylvania during World War II. David McBride of the PHMC offered evidence of similar exclusionary practices toward blacks in Philadel­phia medical establishments.

Because of the response to the conference, the PHMC plans to sponsor one in the Pittsburgh area in the Spring of 1979.


Contributions to PHMC

Section 1.170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Regula­tions defines the term charitable contribution to mean con­tributions or gifts to or for the use of a State, a Territory, a possession of the United States, or any political sub­division of any of the foregoing, or the United States or the District of Columbia, but only if the contribution or the gift is made for exclusively public purposes.

Since the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission is an agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsyl­vania, any contribution or gift made to that organization is deductible by a donor, providing the contribution is made for exclusively public purposes.



The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission announces the micropublication of the Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolution­ary Governments, 1775-1790, which reproduces Record Group 27 at the Division of Archives and Manuscripts (State Archives). Spon­sored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and edited by Roland M. Baumann, it consists of 54 reels of microfilm and an accompanying guide.

The Revolutionary War period records include some sixty thousand pages of minutes, accounts, correspondence and other records of interest to researchers of political, military, social and economic history and to those seeking information about the ad­ministrative history of Pennsylvania’s committee governments and Supreme Executive Council.

The 54-roll publication is divided into four sections: (1) the Manuscript Minutes (fair copy and rough copy) of the Committee of Safety, Council of SafetY, [Second] Council of Safety, and Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, referred to as the Revolutionary Record (9 rolls); (2) the Executive Correspondence of the above Councils. 1775-1790 (16 rolls); (3) records (in twelve series arranged alphabetically) relating to the executive activities of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments (21 rolls); and (41 those volumes of the first edition (1853-1860), corresponding years, of the published Minutes and Executive Correspondence of the Committee and/or Council Governments–known respectively by the binder’s titles, Colonial Records and Pennsylvania Archives, First Series (7 rolls).

The microfilms may be ordered directly from the Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Box 1026, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120. The price per reel is $15; the set of fifty-four rolls costs $810. The 200-page guide (paperback) is included in the price of the set, or it may be ordered separately for $7 (hardback) and $5 (paperback).