The Battles Bank: When Honesty Was Collateral and Chickens Paid the Interest

On the day the pri­vately owned R. S. Battles Bank in Girard, Erie County, closed, it had been in operation for eighty-seven years. For nearly a century its owners had steadfastly offered services to their depositors despite panics, recessions, depressions, robberies, even a presidential proclamation. Oddly enough, the doors of the vine covered brick building were ultimately closed in 1946 by...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Journalist: The Ida Tarbell Nobody Knew

In the summer of 1905, as Ida M. Tarbell’s muckraking History of the Standard Oil Company had completed its long serial run in McClure’s Magazine and been published as a book, Miss Tarbell received an envelope addressed to: Miss Ida M. Tarbell Rockefeller Station Hades Inside was a caustic letter from a reader who was furious with her attack on Standard Oil, but since such...
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The Proud Romanians of Pennsylvania

Search through the smoky steel towns nestled in the hills of central and western Pennsylvania and you will find the scattered descendants of once-numerous communities of Romanian immigrants. While Romanians settled throughout the state wherever mining and ‘industrial work was present, the largest concentrations remaining to­day are in Erie, Mercer. Lawrence, Beaver, Allegheny, Cambria and...
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Erie County: Where Geography Has Shaped History

Erie County forms the northwest corner of the state, bounded by Lake Erie on the northwest, the states of Ohio and New York on the west and east respectively and parts of Warren and Crawford counties on the east and south. Historically the county was divided into two sections. The sou them region of 259 ,000 acres fell within the original land grant to William Penn. The northern portion of...
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Executive Director’s Message

This year’s observance of Pennsylvania Archaeology Week, October 9-17, calls attention to the rich and diverse heritage of Native Americans. It also gives us an opportunity to recognize the unique research and invaluable preservation efforts undertaken by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The PHMC has earned a national reputation for its pioneering efforts in...
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The Home Kids Find a Place of Their Own

In 1912, Isador Sobel, born in New York in 1858, was an individual of considerable standing in Erie, where he had studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1888. Three years later he was elected to city council and during his second term served as president. President William McKinley appointed him Erie’s postmaster in 1898, as did President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 and 1906, and...
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Shorts

“Elegant Etiquette: Nineteenth-Century Figural Napkin Rings,” on view through Sunday, August 10 [1997], at the Brandywine River Museum, showcases a selection of whimsical table articles manufac­tured by American silverplate companies during the second half of the last century. From the 1860s through the end of the century, napkin rings took many forms and were adorned with fig­ures...
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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...
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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,...
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