Our Documentary Heritage showcases holdings drawn from the vast collections of the Pennsylvania State Archives.

A recipe for lemon pie is one of a number of traditional Pennsylvania German recipes contained in Manuscript Group 514, Rupp Family Papers, recently acquired by the Pennsylvania State Archives. The new accession documents five generations of the Rupp family of Cumberland County descended from Johanes Jonas Rupp, born in 1729 in the Duchy of Baden and who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751. First settling near present-day Annville in Lebanon County (then part of Lancaster County), in 1772 he purchased the Providence Tract in Cumberland County from George Thawley for four hundred pounds. At the time the property included a log cabin and a log barn on fifteen acres of cleared land surrounded by a brush fence and saplings.

In 1773 Jonas Rupp erected a new log house on the parcel and cleared an additional one hundred acres of land over a ten year period. He initially joined both the German Reformed Church at Trindle Springs in 1774 and the local Lutheran congregation in 1775. In 1787, across the road from the log house, he erected a stone mansion — which still stands on Trindle Road in Camp Hill — that served a variety of denominations reflecting his latitudinarian religious proclivities. After 1798 Rupp became an elder in the German Reformed Peace Church. Dedicated in 1799, Peace Church is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and managed by the Friends of Historic Peace Church. For information on special events, including concerts featuring the 1807 Conrad Doll organ, visit the Peace Church website.

The Rupp Family Papers include ten cubic feet of photographs, receipts, recipes, correspondence, day books, ship- ping logs, pamphlets, account books, postcards, school book records, stock certificates, estate records, legal papers, land drafts, tax records, and newspaper clippings. Included are time-honored family recipes for angel food cake, carrot pudding, corn bread, fruit tarts, grape nut bread, lemon pie, lemon tarts, pearl cake, snow pudding, and a sweet pudding prepared using a New Orleans molasses for which there is also a separate recipe.

The lemon pie recipe is featured in this installment of Our Documentary Heritage to reiterate PHMC’s annual theme for 2012, “The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table.”


Willis L. Shirk jr. is an archivist with the Pennsylvania State Archives.