Drawing from Jack Savitsky’s Sketchbook

The work of Jack Savitsky (1910-1991) is highly prized by aficionados of twentieth century folk art. A native of Schuylkill County, Savitsky drew the subject matter for his art from his own experience as a hard coal miner in north­eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region, as well as from the area’s miners and mining villages. Interestingly enough, his paintings and drawings depict a...
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Iron Weathervane (1699)

Wrought in 1699 by an unknown blacksmith work­ing in either Pennsylvania or England, an iron weath­ervane that once adorned a mill in present-day Delaware County is a prized acquisition of Philadelphia’s venerable Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The seventeenth century weathervane suggests the trades of craftsmen of vital importance to frontier settlements: millwrights, who built...
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Footed Silver Presentation Cup by Peter Bentzon

African American silversmith Peter Bentzon, born about 1783 in Saint Thomas, then part of the Danish West Indies, was active in Philadelphia between 1808 and about 1840. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1791, and was trained by an unidentified sil­versmith from 1799 to 1806. He was apprenticed about 1808 to Philadelphia silversmith Samuel Williamson, whose record books during this period also...
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Pottsville Fishing Party China

Instituted on August 21, 1853, the Pottsville Fishing Party held only one meeting each year-during the last week of August. Ironically, members of the Schuylkill County organization did not fish. According to the memoirs of member Richard Henry Koch, published in 1938, “we ate, drank fish-house punch, old rye and champagne, told stories, made speeches, played cards, chatted, and sang from...
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Country Road (1878) by George Hetzel

An accomplished and influential painter active in western Pennsylvania during the second half of the nineteenth century, George Hetzel (1826-1899) was fascinated by the vanishing-yet still rugged and beautiful-landscape of his adopted homeland. Today, he is credited with inspiring the creation of a school of painters and a style called the “Scalp Level Tradition,” after the region...
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John Frederick Hartranft Papers

Although little recognized today, John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889) did make his mark in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation as governor and as general. Born near Norristown, Montgomery County, he attended college, practiced law, and in 1861 entered the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. His dedication to the military was unswerving. He was commissioned colonel of the...
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Carved Naval Officer by Samuel H. Sailor

Hand carved trade signs advertising stores and professions, such as those of tobacconists, apothecaries, dentists, cobblers, and purveyors of men’s furnishings and ladies’ fancy apparel, were a familiar sight in major American cities during the eight­eenth and nineteenth centuries. Carved of wood and brightly painted, these trade signs – one of the earliest forms of...
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A Wooded Watershed (1926) by Daniel Garber

Its whereabouts unknown to art historians and enthusiasts for nearly seventy years, a spectacular mural by acclaimed American artist Daniel Garber (1880-1958), one of the most famous members of the New Hope School, was recently rediscovered and returned to Bucks County, where it had been painted in 1926. Garber’s masterpiece, A Wooded Watershed, was originally commissioned by the...
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Benno Janssen Collection of the Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives

Pittsburgh architect Benno Janssen (1874-1964) purveyed im­peccable taste and elegance with his many commissions during the early decades of this century. He is best remembered for such monumental landmarks as the Pittsburgh Athletic Association (1911), the William Penn Hotel (1914-1916 and 1927-1928), and the Mellon Institute (1931-1937), now part of Carnegie Mellon University. He partnered...
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Captain Smollet Defies the Mutineers (1911) by N. C. Wyeth

Newel Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) – known worldwide simply as N. C. Wyeth – was one of the best loved illustrators of this century. Patriarch of one of the nation’s most famous artistic dynasties, his name is synonymous with the Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania and America’s golden age of illustration. Wyeth studied under master illustrator Howard Pyle...
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