Currents

Hat’s Off! The Philadelphia Museum of Art will celebrate the art and craft of twentieth century millinery in the first major survey of its kind ever to be mounted in the United States. “Ahead of Fashion: Hats of the Twentieth Century” will open on Saturday, August 21 [1993], and continue through Sunday, November 28 [1993]. The exhibition will showcase one hundred of the...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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Letters to the Editor

A Weiser World Philip E. Pendleton’s article “Finding a Light in the Forest: Conrad Weiser Homestead” in the summer 1996 issue brought back many happy boyhood memories. One of the rays of that light, I think, was kindled by my grandfather, the Reverend P. C. Croll. He suggested to the Historical Society of Berks County in 1921 that the new owner of the Conrad Weiser Homestead,...
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Bookshelf

County Courthouses of Pennsylva­nia: A Guide By Oliver P. Williams Stackpole Books, 2001 (244 pages, paper, $19.95) An admitted “full-fledged courthouse junkie,” the author traces his interest in county courthouses, courthouse squares, and their immediate surroundings to a curiosity piqued by plaques, monuments, and fountains bearing witness to some aspect of local history. His...
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War of Another Kind

By the summer of 1941, war had been raging in Europe for nearly two years. As a child of twelve, in an age of much slower communications, I was not keenly aware of what was going on. I cannot remember being fearful or even apprehensive that the events in Europe were going to affect my life in Adams County. For me, as for most farm children of the forties, summer was a busy, exciting time of...
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Violence and Vigilantes: The KKK in Pennsylvania

It was a warm, muggy day in early August 1921 in Philadelphia when F. W. Atkins of Jacksonville, Florida, and W. J. Bellamy of Cincinnati, Ohio, rented an office in the Bellevue Court Building to quietly recruit members for “a great and patriotic crusade to save the nation.” Their goal was to organize a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Posing as a prospective KKK initiate, a...
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All in the Family: The Riches in Woolrich

John Rich II received a “warm” welcome when he visited winter logging camps in the dense forests of northern Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Tough, hardened lumberjacks valued the one bit of comfort and protection from frostbite that Rich proffered from the back of his mule cart: a simple pair of woolen socks. From those humble beginnings, Rich engaged in a trade that...
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The Soulful and Sultry Miss Ethel Waters

Much of Ethel Waters’ success as a popular twentieth-century entertainer has been credited to the rather simple fact she, in her own words, never forgot who she was and where she came from. She achieved renown as blues singer, theater and film actress, and best selling author. She also emerged as a role model, if not icon, for several decades of African American women. And she accomplished...
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PHMC Highlights

PHMC leadership has recently been in the news. Executive Director Barbara Franco has been elected chair of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for a two-year term. AASLH, based in Nashville, Tennessee, traces its roots to 1904. It provides leadership and support for members who preserve and interpret state and local history to make the past more meaningful for all...
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The Union’s Forgotten First Defenders

Throughout the four years of the American Civil War, more than two million men served the Union, some for months, others for years. The vast majority were volunteers, young boys and aging men who willingly left home behind to fight for the preservation of the Union and the eradication of slavery.1 Historians have documented the stories of countless citizens-turned-soldiers, recalling the...
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