Wrench in the Machine: The Shapp Gubernatorial Campaign’s Media Blitz of 1966

Pennsylvania and machine politics were synonymous for years, even into the 1960s when reformers and direct primaries thwarted old-style machine politics in other states. Political machines with their control over patronage and nominations had dominated Pennsylvania’s politics since the Civil War, but even the direct primary failed to usher in a new, more open system. That changed suddenly when...
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News and Notes

York Inter-State Fair The York Inter-State Fair was honored on September 10 [1978] with the official historical marker. Dr. Homer T. Rosenberger, member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, presented the marker to fair president, Glenn E. Bailey, on behalf of the Commission. Robert J. Sugarman acted as President Carter’s representative at the dedication.   Visitors...
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War and Tranquility: From Gettysburg to Glen with Robert Bruce Ricketts

The order was clear. Capt. Robert Bruce Ricketts and his two companies of artillery were to hold the Union’s left flank on East Cemetery Hill just beyond the outskirts of Gettysburg. “In case you are charged here,” Ricketts’ commanding officer Col. C.S. Wainwright told him, “you will not limber up under any circumstances, but fight your battery as long as you can.” The reality facing Ricketts on...
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Stability and Change: Culture During Three Periods

“Religion, … the best bond of human society, provided man did not err in the meaning of that excellent word.” – William Penn   Culture, broadly de­fined, is the way of life of a group of people; it includes all their behavioral patterns, beliefs and ar­tistic expressions. Culture is not static; it varies over time and place. Culture does not arise in a vacuum; it...
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Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
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Historical Sketch of Greene County

Greene County lies in the southwestern corner of the state. Its many hills, the distinguishing feature of the countryside, grow more pronounced as one travels from the eastern to the western areas. The old Washington Waynes­burg Railroad, traveling through the hills, was famous for its 178 sharp turns, each of which jolted the passengers. There were some who took the trip just for the roller...
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The Depression Strikes Indiana County

The Great Depression of 1929-32 without question was one of the watershed periods in American history. Joseph Alex Morris once wrote that “people later would speak of ‘before 1929’ or ‘after 1929’ as Noah’s children may have spoken of the days before and after ‘The Flood.'” The personal deprivation and social upheaval of those times sent shock...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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The Political Ascent of James Buchanan

As the nation enters the third century of the American presi­dency, only one Pennsylvanian has had the distinction of serving as its chief executive. In 1857, at the age of sixty-five, James Bu­chanan of Lancaster County became the fifteenth president of the United States. He was well prepared for the office, having spent more than thirty years in public service in various elected and appointed...
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Berks County: Diamond of the Schuylkill Valley

Since 1811, when Schuylkill County was created to include part of what had been northern Berks County, Berks has been distinguishable by its diamond shape. It approxi­mates a geometric diamond or lozenge – an equilateral paral­lelogram without right angles. Its history also seems diamond-like, as it has com­bined a very hard, cutting, and persistently pragmatic charac­teristic with a...
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