To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
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Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin Simon & Schuster, 432 pp., hardcover $30 In Valley Forge, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin explore the harsh realities of Gen. George Washington’s most trying winter in impressive and vivid detail. Utilizing the writings of an impressive who’s who of the American Revolution, the authors weave a narrative that accurately and dramatically recreates the...
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2017 Trails

Another year has passed on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Exhibits, special events, thousands of visiting schoolchildren, more than a few beer and wine festivals, and several battle reenactments are now recorded in the books. As a way of wrapping up the year, we look back at a few milestones along the way. But before we turn our attention to the World War I centennial and an overview of...
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The Brandywine by W. Barksdale Maynard

The Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait by W. Barksdale Maynard University of Pennsylvania Press, 256 pp, cloth $34.95 My life story is riverine. I was born near the Hudson, summered along the Neversink, went to college in view of the Potomac, attended graduate school at the confluence of the Schuylkill and the Delaware, and live uphill from the Susquehanna. I have a long-standing love affair with...
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Delaware County: Where Pennsylvania Began

Delaware County is part of the densely populated belt around Philadelphia, stretching from the city’s western boundary to the circular Delaware state line. Covering approx­imately 185 square miles, it is the third smallest Pennsylvania county yet the fourth largest in population. Its southern boundary is formed by the Delaware River, from which the county takes its name. The site of early...
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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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Historic Sites of the Revolution

Pennsylvania is unusually rich in historic sites associated with the American Struggle for nationhood two centuries ago. The Bicentennial observance under­scores the importance of this treasury of the state’s historic heritage. The deep involvement of Pennsylvania people and land in the Revolutionary War is reflected by these historic sites maintained by government as well as organizations...
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The French and Indian War and the Revolution

If in spite of all the Bicentennial reminders the Revolutionary War seems somewhat far away, the French and Indian War must seem so much more remote as to be irrelevant. The familiar Pennsylvania events of the Revolution – the battles of Brandywine and German­town, the Valley Forge encampment, the Declaration of Independence – took place in the settled parts of the State, the battles...
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The Black Absence

Should it come as a surprise that no history of black Pennsylvanians in the American Revolution has been written? That the best modern study of the Negro in the American Revolution devotes less than four pages to his role in Pennsylvania? That the challenge to American historians to recover this aspect of the black past remains unmet at the time of the Bicentennial? There are a number of reasons...
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A New Look at the Pennsylvania Continental Soldier

The Bicentennial’s focus on pageantry and commemoration has given us a clear image of what the Pennsyl­vania Continental soldier looked like – at least, at his best. But who was this keen-eyed, square-jawed stalwart, dressed in fringed hunting shirt and leggings, or sporting smart blue regimentals with red facings and gleaming white small-clothes? Where did he come from? What was his...
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