J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon, Pa.

“Son arrived this eve 730.” I. John Schipper, born in 1878 in Pekin, Illinois, wrote to a Mrs. F.L. Velde, also of Pekin, on July 5 in the early 1920s – the year is unreadable in the postmark. “Edith is doing fine,” he continued. “In this hospital Room marked X. Tell all my friends please.” Schipper, a resident of Six Mile Run, Huntingdon County, at the time, was manager of mines for the...
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The Banana Split

Most Americans have enjoyed an ice cream sundae known specifically as the banana split sometime during their lives. A genuine banana split includes one scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream topped with chocolate sauce, maraschino cherries, chopped nuts and whipped cream resting between two banana halves sliced lengthwise. There are some variations in the toppings, however, as...
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Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
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Free-Thinking, 19th-Century Style

Francis Ellingwood Abbot (1836–1903) was nothing if not determined. In 1872, as editor of The Index, the nation’s leading free-thought magazine, he began to muster the full force of his small army of subscribers against what was being called “the God-in-the-Constitution amendment.” A philosopher and theologian, he sought to reconstruct theology in accordance with scientific methodology. From the...
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Mailbox

The work of photographer José B. Alemany of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, is cur­rently the subject of research. Alemany not only photographed landscapes and industrial scenes, but created modern and sen­sual images distinctive for the use of light and dramatic shadow, as well as for the fluidity of forms. He showed at the Gulf Gal­leries and the Kingsley House...
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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

Fancy That! “Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining, 1790-1930,” an exhibition tracing the history of design sources for draping and curtaining American and European interiors during the span of nearly one hundred and fifty years, will open at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia on Monday, December 6 [1993]. On view will be a selection of rare books, prints, and trade catalogues drawn...
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Carved Naval Officer by Samuel H. Sailor

Hand carved trade signs advertising stores and professions, such as those of tobacconists, apothecaries, dentists, cobblers, and purveyors of men’s furnishings and ladies’ fancy apparel, were a familiar sight in major American cities during the eight­eenth and nineteenth centuries. Carved of wood and brightly painted, these trade signs – one of the earliest forms of...
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Currents

Hello, History! The former Chautauqua Lake Ice Company warehouse in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District will come to life on Sunday, April 28 [1996], when it officially opens to the public as the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. Renovated by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, which has been protecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the...
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Bookshelf

Stoneware of Southwestern Pennsylvania by Phil Schaltenbrand University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996 (216 pages, paper, $22.95) A greatly expanded version of the author’s Old Pots (1978), Stoneware of Southwestern Pennsylvania describes the salt-glazed stoneware industry that once flourished in the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Valleys and contains much new information about the remarkable...
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