Celebrities Discover Who They Are at the Pennsylvania State Archives

Archivist Aaron McWilliams smiles and shifts his gaze toward the floor when asked about his brush with TV stardom. Every so often, a patron visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, where he works, will ask him what it was like to appear alongside veteran Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi on a 2011 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? a reality series in which...
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Editor’s Letter

“Persons and places conceive each other.” While preparing this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage, I was reminded of this quote from the preface of an American studies textbook I read as a graduate student, American Ground: Vistas, Visions and Revisions, edited by Robert H. Fossum and John K. Roth. It continues: “No people would have become American without a place of their own. Nor would any...
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“Remember Paoli!”

Two centuries ago, in September 1817, local War of 1812 veterans gathered in a Chester County field with Revolutionary War veterans and citizens to place a marble monument on the grave of soldiers killed in the Battle of Paoli, or “Paoli Massacre,” four decades earlier. Today, it remains the second oldest Revolutionary War monument in the nation, and the campaign to “Remember Paoli!” continues...
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Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
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Wayne County: A History Deep and Clear

The Land of Lakes, it might best be called. Its sweeping verdant valleys and velvety golden meadows harbor dozens of picturesque settlements – and more than a hundred natural and artificial lakes. Its resorts teem with summer colonists – primarily expatriate New Yorkers escap­ing the stifling heat of Manhat­tan in August – and recall a less frenzied era when there seemed to be...
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Franklin County

Our forefathers never could have envisioned the Franklin County we live in today. The hardships and struggles to merely survive while trying to establish new homes in a new land on a new frontier created memories that will live as long as man cares to remember. Modern major highways, a wide diversification of indus- try, fertile farm lands and persons who still care help make Franklin County,...
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The Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania

With some conspicuous exceptions, Pennsylvania was W largely on the outskirts of the scenes of Revolutionary War military operations. True, in December, 1776, Gen. George Washington brought the remnants of his retreating army from New Jersey into Pennsylvania, using the area in the vicinity of McKonkey’s Ferry as the jumping-off point for the Christmas-night crossing of the Delaware and...
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The Revolution Affects Pennsylvania Communities

Every county and community in the Commonwealth was in some way involved or connected with the American Revolution and Pennsylvania’s attainment of statehood. Certain places associated with famous events in the struggle for independence come to mind immedi­ately: Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York for civil affairs, and Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh, Valley Forge, and Washington’s...
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Postcards Can Be Valuable

William E. Stewart of Arnold, Pennsylvania, may have one of the largest collection of postcards in America. And, in addition, he has a wealth of information on what the cards depict. The postcard originated in Austria in the 1860’s with a young professor. Dr. Emmanuel Herman. The first official postal card appeared on October 1, 1869. Soon Germany and Great Britain introduced similar...
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Chester County Welcomes Thee

The history of Chester County constitutes a significant part of the history of Pennsylvania, both province and commonwealth, and of the history of the United States of America. At the beginning of our nation’s Bicentennial and on the threshold of our state’s and our county’s tricentennial celebrations, Chester County looks proudly upon its past accomplishments and with...
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