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...
read more

Shorts

“From Ft. Wagner to Verdun: African Americans in the U.S. Military, 1863-1918,” is on view at the Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia. The exhibition, continuing through August 30, 1998, showcases artifacts, objects, and documents chronicling the experience of African Americans in mili­tary service from the Civil War through World War I. The Civil War Library and Museum is...
read more

History and Community: Pennsylvania’s First Lady Makes The Connection, An Interview with Michele M. Ridge

When flood waters threatened the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg in January 1996, Michele M. Ridge quickly transformed herself from First Lady to First Curator of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Within hours, she assembled a team of National Guardsmen, weekend staff at the resi­dence, and specialists of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to move endangered works of art,...
read more

Bookshelf

Guide to the State Historical Markers of Pennsylvania By George R. Beyer Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2000 (456 pages, paper, $15.95) It is generally well known that the Commonwealth’s state historical marker program is among the most popular public history initiatives ever mounted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The program, also one of the...
read more

Keeping the Torch of Justice Burning Brightly: William P. Young

He faced criticism at his appointment, confronted adversity in his duties, and battled poor health in his later years, but he kept the torch of justice burning brightly for all to see, maintaining his dignity and poise at every turn. He was William Pennington Young (1895-1968), the Keystone State’s fifteenth secretary of labor and industry, from 1963 to 1967, during the administration of...
read more

Lost and Found

Lost With millions of eyes this past spring on Triple Crown contender Smarty Jones – the three-year-old colt bred in Pennsylvania-it was only natural for many to express interest in the Keystone State’s thoroughbred heritage and equine industry. At its peak a century ago, Shadeland, the Powell Brothers Purebred Stock Fan=rm in Spring Township, Crawford County, was noted worldwide as...
read more

Rural Electrification

While urban Pennsylvanians benefited from alternating current electricity as early as 1883, more than a half century later, in 1936, seventy-five percent of Pennsylvania’s farmsteads lacked electric service. There had been some enterprising attempts to establish “light plants” powered by windmills, steam engines, and batteries, but the equipment was bulky, costly to purchase and maintain, and...
read more

Making Peace on the Gettysburg Battlefield, Fifty Years Later

For six frenetic days in 1913, from Sunday, June 29, through Saturday, July 4, two armies – fifty-four thousand strong combined – invaded Gettysburg for a second time. They fought the first time a half century earlier, July 1-3, 1863, and were looking forward, admittedly many anxiously, to facing each other again. It wasn’t a fight they anticipated at the second meeting,...
read more

A Backward Glance at Thirty-Five Years Young

Over the past thirty-five years, Pennsylvania Heritage has brought to readers hundreds of stories about the famous and the not-so-famous, of historic preservation struggles won and lost, and interviews with individuals who either shaped history or interpret it. Our thirty-fifth anniversary, which we’re observing with this edition, gives us a moment to pause and reflect on where we’ve been, where...
read more

Letters

Energized! Your most recent issue [Spring 2009] has left me “energized”! The articles and the interviews are all top notch – stunningly written and beautifully laid out. This one is a keeper. Thank you for making history so relevant to what we are experiencing today. We need to understand history in order to make critical decisions that will affect not only us but our...
read more