Bringing History Out of the Closet

Joe Burns looks over hundreds of documents laid out in piles on the large dining room table in his sister’s central Pennsylvania home. He is carefully examining, organizing, cataloging and recording them in a timeline highlighting some of the key historical developments in the early lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) civil rights movement in small cities throughout...
read more

Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
read more

Pennsylvania’s Musical Publishers: Fueling a Nation’s Fervor

A dynamic America was frenetically modernizing and vigorously expand­ing during the historic decades before and following the open­ing of the twentieth century. While the West, or open land, was essentially closed with the 1889 admission of four new states, and two more the fol­lowing year, the country gen­erated a diverse output of agricultural and basic indus­trial goods. National produc­tion...
read more

Pennsylvania Woman as Politician: Cornelia Bryce Pinchot (1881–1960)

On May 5, 1933, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a chauffeured limousine arrived at a textile factory. From inside the car emerged a tall, slender, red-haired woman whose bearing indicated social standing and purposeful self-confidence. De­spite a steady rain, the lady joined a picket line made up of girls from thirteen to eighteen years of age who had struck in protest of working conditions they...
read more

“Prepare Thyself … to Meet the Lord Thy God!”: Religion in Pennsylvania During the Revolution

Religion in the colony of Pennsylvania was distinctive. In contrast to most areas of the western world, this province practiced freedom of religion. It never had an established church. Friends who controlled the first legislative assembly, meeting in Upland, now Chester, in 1682, specified that no one was “at any time [to] be com­pelled to frequent or Maintain anie religious worship, place...
read more

The New Taste in Pennsylvania

Like the nation itself during the so-called “Federal” period, the arts in Pennsylvania reached a crescendo in their development that had an unexpected unity, a strong purpose, and a national style. Despite great varia­tions in the Germanic and English traditions, Pennsylvania emerged from the revolutionary period reasonably cohesive. City and country perspectives, naive and...
read more

Allentown’s Boom Decade

Allentown underwent rapid development in the 1850’s. Population grew at the rate of 116 percent from 3,779 in 1850 to 8,025 in 1860. This expansion in population was matched by territorial growth in 1852 as a sizable section of land to the east of the original borough – the land lying between the Jordan and Lehigh rivers – was annexed. The economic basis for this development...
read more

Lehigh County: The Land and Its People

Lehigh County encompasses the western half of the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Bounded on the east by the Lehigh River, the main geographical feature of the larger valley, and on the north by the Blue Mountain range, the land is a mosaic of lime­stone plain, sinks and rolling hills. While the southern region of the county lies astride the so-called South Moun­tain and the hills of the...
read more

A History of the York-Pullman Automobile

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, there were a number of manufacturers in eastern Pennsylvania producing both passenger cars and trucks. Much of the activity centered around Reading, where in addition to the famous Duryea, the Acme, Boss, Daniels, Dile, Meteor, Middlebury, Reber, Riviera, Snader and S.G.V., not to mention the “Read­ing Steamer,” were made – all...
read more

Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Liberty Bell – capped by an eagle from Peale’s Museum – was enshrined in Independence Hall.   Each year thousands of Americans, as well as foreigners, travel to Philadelphia to visit the dozens of historic sites, structures and complexes associated with the nation’s independence. For many, their first stop is a small glass pavil­ion...
read more