Pennsylvania Polymath: Samuel Stehman Haldeman

Samuel Stehman Haldeman was a pioneer in American science with an uncompromising empirical bent who made definitive contributions in geology, metallurgy, zoology and the scientific study of language. His groundbreaking lifework touched nearly seven decades of science and included identification of one of the oldest fossils in Pennsylvania, elucidation of a plan for an anthracite coal furnace for...
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Remembering Lattimer by Paul A. Shackel

Remembering Lattimer Labor, Migration, and Race in Pennsylvania Anthracite Country by Paul A. Shackel University of Illinois Press, 176 pp., paper $28 Amid significant industrial growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States actively pursued workers outside the country. From the 1850s to the 1920s people from across the world flooded American industrial areas, redefining...
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Looking Back at 2018

This past year marked the centennials of the end of World War I and the start of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Of special significance to Pennsylvania was the 300th anniversary of the death of founder William Penn. What follows is a brief glimpse of 2018 on the Pennsylvania Trails of History, a few highlights among many.   William Penn’s Legacy To commemorate the 300th anniversary of...
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World War II Trails

For the past few years we have been commemorating anniversaries of two major geopolitical and military conflicts, World War I and World War II. The Pennsylvania Trails of History sites have been focusing attention on the commonwealth’s role in these global events as part of PHMC’s Pennsylvania at War initiative. As the centennial of the end of World War I approaches, the 75th anniversary of...
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Hotel Lykens

For many years, anthracite coal mining was the main source of livelihood for the residents of Lykens, a borough in northern Dauphin County. By the early 1920s, the industry was in decline, causing the community’s population and economy to waver. Meanwhile across the country, as automobile ownership was increasing, community leaders noticed that hotels and other services associated with travel...
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Artful Trails

In honor of the 50th Art of the State exhibition, open through September 10, 2017, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, we’re exploring art at other historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History. As visual storytellers, our sites employ a multidisciplinary approach to documenting and sharing Pennsylvania heritage. Artworks frequently play a role in the study...
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Anthracite Mining and the Slavic Immigration

Those unfamiliar with Pennsylvania’s ethnic geography might be surprised to see a 1918 postcard penned in Russian like this one sent from Hazleton, Luzerne County, which translates as, “Tomorrow we are moving to a different place. Here is the address…. Greetings and kisses.” Following earlier immigration waves of primarily Northern and Western Europeans, the United States experienced an...
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Jim Popso’s Lokie

  James “Jim” Popso (1922-98) documented the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region of the 20th century in folk art assemblages he made from scrap wood, found objects, glue, household supplies and bargain paints. For more than 20 years until his death, he handcrafted scenes of collieries, breakers, mining machinery and patch towns, most of them supplemented with his models of real...
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Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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Tioga County: A Last Frontier

Fallbrook, Hoytville, Landrus and Leetonia are names that evoke memories of the past for some Tiogans, while for others, build­ings or a place on a map serve as re­minders of what has been. These names are evidence of the establish­ment, growth and demise of economic centers – coal mines, lumber mills and tanneries – important in Tioga County’s past. Today, these enterprises...
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