100 Games: The Penn State–Pitt Rivalry

It “leaves an everlasting impression on you because, in Pennsylvania, it’s the only game that counts,” wrote Tim Panaccio about the rivalry between the Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers in his 1982 book Beast of the East: Penn State vs. Pitt. In the same breath, he added, “Records don’t mean a thing, just who wins this game.” Panaccio’s...
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John William Heisman, Football Innovator

John William Heisman (1869–1936) was an athlete turned college sports coach who became one of football’s greatest innovators. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Heisman grew up near Titusville, Crawford County, in northwestern Pennsylvania. He played football at Titusville High School and then at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He received a law degree but, diverted by an eye injury,...
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Editor’s Letter

Football, fine art, and festivals. Throughout the years, Pennsylvanians have received national acclaim in all three fields. Each has become a vital part of our shared heritage, engaging residents and representing the commonwealth’s rich and diverse culture. In this edition, you’ll find three outstanding features on prominent examples of these activities in the Keystone State. Football has been...
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Chuck Noll by Michael MacCambridge

Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work by Michael MacCambridge University of Pittsburgh Press, 504 pp., cloth $27.95 There is a saying in the world of professional sports that a coach will not know for five to ten years whether a decision to accept a job was the right choice. That maxim, in essence, says everything about the risks of making a career out of professional coaching, and it is the theme...
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Editor’s Letter

America is experiencing a beer renaissance that began three decades ago, and Pennsylvania has been at its forefront from the start. New craft breweries have flooded the market with an amazing variety of styles, diversifying the taste buds of beer drinkers nationwide. The Brewers Association (BA) defines a craft brewer as independent, small (6 million barrels or less a year) and traditional...
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Keep the Boys in College! How World War I Produced a Penn State Football Legend

Pennsylvanians who remember Glenn Killinger (1898–1988) often envision the legendary coach of West Chester State Teachers’ College football and baseball teams during the decades that spanned 1933 to 1970. His name often comes up in conversations about Paul “Bear” Bryant as one of the two unbending football minds who led the North Carolina Pre-Flight Cloudbusters to one of the...
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The Eagle Has Landed… Back in Pennsylvania: An Interview with Dick Vermeil

When Dick Vermeil signed a five-year contract to coach the Philadelphia Eagles on February 8, 1976, he became at age 39 the youngest head coach in the National Football League. He also inherited a football team that had not posted a winning season in nine years. Just three seasons later, Vermeil led the Eagles to their first playoff appearance in 18 years. He drove his players harder than any...
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NFL Films

In 1962 the National Football League (NFL) was lagging in popularity behind both Major League Baseball and NCAA Football. That same year a Philadelphia overcoat salesman, Ed Sabol (1916-2015), won the bidding rights to film the NFL Championship Game. Sabol’s only previous filmmaking experience had been shooting his son’s football games, family vacations and a couple of documentaries as a hobby....
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Editor’s Letter

Throughout 2015 PHMC has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex in Harrisburg with initiatives to preserve the original Midcentury Modern features of the buildings, both outside and inside, from architectural elements to original furnishings (see Hands-On History). A concurrent effort to update and revitalize the museum’s galleries also has been underway,...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Recommends

The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience Samuel W. Black, editor of a collection of eight essays comprising The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience (Senator John Heinz History Center in partnership with Pennsylvania Civil War 150, 2013, paper, 239 pages, $29.95), contends, “In various ways African Americans have been fighting for freedom for several...
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