From Wilkes-Barre to the Wild West: George Catlin, Indian Painter

His early exposure to American Indians indelibly impressed northeastern Pennsylvania native George Catlin (1796–1872). His mother Mary “Polly” Sutton Catlin (1770–1844), married in 1789 to Putnam Catlin (1764–1842), formed his earliest impressions of Native Americans. With her mother Sarah Smith Sutton (1747–1834) she was captured and held captive at the age of seven by Iroquois. The day was...
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The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: An Ideal and a Symbol

By 1805, the year the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts was founded, Phila­delphia had achieved a large measure of political, social and economic stability. It had been the nation’s capital and contin­ued to thrive as a center of banking and commerce. The largest city in the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century, it was arguably the center of culture, with Boston its...
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Into the Valley of Death

Horses, rearing in death, pitched their riders into a fren­zied mass of red­-coated soldiers, while Indians sprinted from tree to tree, leaping out to scalp the wounded and the dead. Even the dauntless Daniel Boone, then a young wagoner, cut his horses loose and fled for his life. George Washington, a volunteer lieutenant colonel, recounted years later that, “had I not been witness to the...
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Painting for Peer, Patron and the Public

For three centuries, Pennsylvania has en­joyed a rich and di­verse cultural heritage. The elegance of its colonial and federal architecture and furniture in Philadelphia is unrivaled, prompting architect Benjamin Latrobe in 1811 to christen the city “the Athens of the Western World.” During the opening years of the nine­teenth century, Philadelphia attracted artists and artisans from...
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The Apotheosis of George Washington: America’s Cincinnatus and the Valley Forge Encampment

In the early evening hours of December 19, 1777, the Continental Army, commanded by Gen. George Washington, marched into Valley Forge to encamp for the winter while the British occupied Philadelphia. Within days, six inches of snow blanketed the ground and the nearby Schuylkill River was frozen solid. Undernourished and poorly clothed, and with no immediate prospects for provisioning, many of...
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Unconventional Patriot: An Interview with Ann Hawkes Hutton

Shadyside, the Bucks County home of Ann Hawkes Hutton, sets the perfect stage for an animated conversation with one of the country’s foremost promoters of patriotism and historic preservation. With its views of the picturesque Delaware River, its collection of fine furnishings, and its hundreds of books, photographs, and documents chronicling American history, Shadyside embodies what many...
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The Boat Ride that Changed America: Washington Crossing Historic Park

The characters a seem straight out of a big screen military blockbuster: the protagonist, a distinguished squire turned military commander, appearing outwardly controlled, yet besieged by internal doubts; his antagonist, a general whose redeeming qualities are negated by his arrogance and complacency; a comely widow; heroes, cads, and a supporting cast of thousands. The plot is also...
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