John Nicholson and Land as a Lure in the Infant Nation, 1790-1800

John Nicholson was an early Pennsylvania land speculator, financier and entrepreneur. He was born in 1757, emigrated from Wales at an early age and died in 1800. While serving as comptroller-general of the state (1782-1794), he was a major factor in helping Pennsylvania achieve financial solvency after the revolutionary war. In this capac­ity, Nicholson created political alliances with those who...
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Bradford County: Sanctuary in the Meadows

It seemed as implausible as it was urgent: that French aristo­crats, the select inner circle closest to King Louis XVI, and perhaps even Marie Antionette herself, would flee the conti­nent and take refuge in the immense and isolated wilderness of what is now Bradford County. Implausible or not, a band of brave French exiles – the crown’s endangered courtiers and office­holders,...
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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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Executive Director’s Message

The two hundredth anniver­sary of Joseph Priestley’s arrival in Pennsylvania presents a time to reflect on the life and work of an individual who was truly a unique citizen of our state, nation, and the world. During his lifetime, Priestley was the representative man of the Age of Enlightenment in England and America. His discovery of oxygen in 1774 established his reputation worldwide as...
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Currents

Great Greek Following six years of extensive gallery and storage area renovations, The Univer­sity Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadel­phia, has recently reopened its exhibition space devoted to ancient Greek civilization. This new exhibit, entitled “The Ancient Greek World,” offers visitors a broad overview of the history and culture of ancient Greece and its colonial...
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Joseph Priestley, Catalyst of the Enlightenment

When Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) is remembered today, it’s usually for his 1774 discovery, in England, of oxygen. Few know he was a noted theologian, political progressive, and prolific author whose scientific contributions include the development of the carbonation process, the identification of carbon monoxide, and early experiments in electricity. He counted Benjamin Franklin, Thomas...
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18th Century Clock at Joseph Priestley House

An exuberantly styled marble mantle clock, decorated with ormolu and capped by a figural grouping of nesting birds, once belonged to scientist, theologian, and natural philosopher Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). According to the donor, the clock, made by Guy d’Amour, Paris, was given to Priestley by the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) in appreciation of his support of the French Revolution....
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Out and About

Presidential China Selections from an extraordinary gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Collection of American Presidential China, are on view in an ongoing exhibit at the museum. The collection of more than four hundred and fifty pieces designed for, and used by, presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan provides a material record of the history of the...
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Joseph Priestley’s Microscope

The achievements of Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) have been committed to memory by generations of American schoolchildren, who for years listened as teachers credited him as the discoverer of oxygen, which he called “dephlogisticated air,” and the inventor of carbonated water. Much of the attention given to Priestley highlighted his scientific work, but his contributions to education, natural...
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Cremation’s Fiery Beginnings

Franz Lee Rickaby (1889–1925), a bone-thin man of thirty-five, was a much-loved professor of English and drama at Pomona College in Claremont, California, when he died of rheumatic fever. An adventurous wanderer, he left a respected historical legacy with folklorists when Harvard University posthumously published his collection of songs of the Midwest lumberjack, Ballads and Songs of the...
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