The Easter Egg: A Flourishing Tradition in Pennsylvania

The hen cackled in the early morning light as the door of the chicken coup opened and the boy walked in with his basket. He had risen before dawn to help with the farmwork as usual. But on this most suspicious of days, Karfreidaag, or Good Friday, gathering the eggs was no mere ordinary task. As on all other mornings, the boy deftly reached under the clucking hens, soothing the birds with a few...
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York County: A Most Treasured Land

Planted squarely above the Maryland border, the gigantic horse’s hoof, which is the out­ line of York County, covers an area of 914 square miles, supporting a popula­tion of 300,000. Its eastern contour is delineated by the “long, crooked” Sus­quehanna, its pastern cleanly cut off by Cumberland County on the north, its outer edge defined by Adams Coun­ty on the west. This...
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The Jefferis Collection: A Pennsylvania Treasure

In February 1905, four men entered a small brick building on Miner Street in West Chester and began a month of careful labor. Using cotton and fine wood shavings, they individually wrapped 35,000 mineral speci­mens with their handwritten labels, carefully placed them into boxes, nailed the boxes shut and hauled box after box to the West Chester railroad station. Newspaper reporters kept the...
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The Vision of William Penn

“… that an example may be set up to the nations an holy experiment.” – William Penn   A few days after receiving his charter for Pennsylvania in the spring of 1681, William Penn sent off a letter to some Irish Quaker merchants, happily informing them of his good fortune, asking their assistance and explaining his motives for establish­ing a colony. Penn’s...
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Preparing Teachers for Homestead Parochial School, 1888-1921

Teacher education was not a carefully systematized and regularized process in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centur­ies. Before the mandate for college de­grees, teacher examinations and certifi­cation, teachers in American classrooms would generally teach as they had been taught. This was particularly true in Ro­man Catholic parochial schools before diocesan administration of the...
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Dauphin County: Chocolates, Coal, and a Capital

Dauphin County celebrates its two hundredth anniver­sary this year. The events and themes that are the history of the county reflect the experience of Pennsylvania and the United States. Dauphin County has never been a homogeneous commu­nity; indeed, it is difficult to consider it as a single commu­nity. From the beginning it has comprised individuals of diverse ethnic, national and religious...
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Pennsylvania’s Gift: The Decorated Tree

Tall, nearly touching the ceiling, its branches pungently spicing the room, the stately tree awaits its final array­ – twinkling lights, shiny ornaments, sparkling tinsel, as well as a few precious treasures from years gone by. The Christmas tree is Pennsyl­vania’s gift to the nation, and the story of its arrival, the struggle for its acceptance and the development of its decorations...
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Cambria County: Coming Full Circle

Located in the highlands of west­-central Pennsylvania and amidst forbidding mountains – the Allegheny escarpment and the Laurel Ridge standing sentinel on its eastern and western borders­ – the territory that would become Cambria County was not easily accessible to early Pennsylvanians. Migrants bound westward during the second half of the eighteenth century avoided its...
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A Colonial Christmas

The December holidays are ideal focuses for special exhibitions and activities at museums, historic sites, villages and history-oriented visitors attrac­tions throughout Pennsyl­vania. Eighteenth century Christmas observances are popularly re-created and inter­preted because many settle­ments on the East Coast were established prior to 1800. By interpreting this seasonal living history program,...
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The Molly Maguires: Fighting for Justice

Early on the morning of Wednesday. Septem­ber 1, 1875, a young English-born mine foreman started from his Schuylkill County residence to the Shenandoah coal colliery where he was employed. A gunshot pierced the air. Scrambling for cover behind a neighbor’s house, he was met by another assassin who drew his revolver and fired. Struck in the groin, the young man staggered blindly and fell to...
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