Pennsylvania Polymath: Samuel Stehman Haldeman

Samuel Stehman Haldeman was a pioneer in American science with an uncompromising empirical bent who made definitive contributions in geology, metallurgy, zoology and the scientific study of language. His groundbreaking lifework touched nearly seven decades of science and included identification of one of the oldest fossils in Pennsylvania, elucidation of a plan for an anthracite coal furnace for...
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Setting Boundaries: The Penn-Baltimore Agreement

By 1730 violence had broken out between Pennsylvania and Maryland colonists over conflicting border claims. On May 10, 1732, Charles Calvert (1699–1751), Fifth Lord Baltimore and proprietary governor of Maryland, established a provisional agreement with William Penn’s sons, John (1700–46), Thomas (1702–75) and Richard Sr. (1706–71), proprietors of Pennsylvania, to survey their mutual border. At...
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Pennsylvanians in Allied Country Units During World War I

World War I began in Europe in July 1914, shortly after Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, on June 28. Initially the United States remained neutral as the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria) fought against the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy). It was not until April 1917 that the...
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Young William Penn

There’s an old idiom that says “the child is father of the man,” but this is complicated by the stage between childhood and adulthood – adolescence. The usual image of William Penn is of a pious, peaceable Quaker who rejected anything loud, proud or worldly. But his upbringing took place in the extremism, violence and carnality of mid-17th-century England. By the end of...
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William Penn’s Side Chair

Pennsylvania founder and first proprietor William Penn lived in his colony for a total of only four years during two trips of two years each, 1682-84 and 1699-1701. Even before his first visit he had engaged his agent to purchase from the Lenapes land along the Delaware River that would become Pennsbury Manor, intended to be his permanent summer home in America. As fate would have it, however,...
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Pennsylvania Dutch by Mark L. Louden

Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language by Mark L. Louden Johns Hopkins University Press, 504 pp., cloth $59.95 The controversy over the origins, identity and persistence of one of America’s most misunderstood minority languages has been positively settled by Louden’s unparalleled presentation of Pennsylvania Dutch, for which even the proper name has been the subject of...
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Lenape Country by Jean R. Soderlund

Lenape Country Delaware Valley Society before William Penn by Jean R. Soderlund University of Pennsylvania Press, 272 pp., $39.95 In Lenape Country, Jean R. Soderlund, professor of history at Lehigh University and editor of William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania, 1983), masterfully recounts the story of the strong, proud and, at times, fierce people who once...
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The Gender of Assimilation: The Carlisle Indian Industrial School Experiment

In his celebrated 1702 book Magnalia Christi American (The Glorious Works of Christ in America), Puritan minister Cotton Mather described local Native Americans. “The men are most abominably slothful; making their poor Squaws, or Wives,to plant and dress, and barn, and beat their Corn, and build their Wigwams for them; which perhaps may be the reason for their extraordinary Ease in Childbirth,”...
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Columbia County is Diversity

From the time of the earliest settlements during the Revolu­tionary War era to the present day, Columbia County has been three sepa­rate neighborhoods-the southern re­gion (Catawissa and Centralia); the northern area (Benton and Millville) and the north bank of the Susquehanna River (Bloomsburg and Berwick). They are distinguishable by varied physical environments, ethnic origins and social...
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The Last Frontier: Venango County Indians, Oil, Ghost Towns

Venango County. Its name is derivation of a the Seneca Indian word earliest for explorers “French and Creek.” Its earliest explorers and settlers were the French, shortly followed by the English. At one time, the territory was claimed simultaneously by France, and the colonies of Virginia and Pennsyl­vania. But Venango County’s rich history bespeaks vigorous pioneering a spirit...
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