David L. Lawrence, the Deft Hand Behind Pittsburgh’s – and Pennsylvania’s – Politics

David Leo Lawrence (1889-1966), governor of Pennsylvania from 1959 to 1963, and mayor of Pittsburgh from 1946 to 1959, during the city’s first heralded renaissance, was a professional politician to the very core. Ranked as one of America’s great chief executives among big cities, Lawrence immersed himself in politics, beginning at the age of fourteen when he became a city Democratic...
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Born a Leader for Pennsylvania

The essence of life is unconditional, non-judgmental love,” explains George Michael Leader when asked to sum-up his philosophy. He writes poetry, models and advocates wellness, leads community humanitarian projects, reads extensively, and oversees a family corpora­tion he founded that includes nursing facili­ties and retirement communities. In his ninth decade he is, as he has always been,...
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And They’re Off! Pennsylvania’s Horse Racing Tradition

Thoroughbred racing doesn’t normally look to Pennsylvania for its next champion, but a small colt may have changed all that. In November 2003, Smarty Jones, foaled in Chester County two years earlier, ran his first competitive race at Philadelphia Park, one of the state’s four licensed horse race tracks. Six months later, on Saturday, May 1, 2004, the plucky little horse became the...
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Pennsylvania’s Slavic Hero: Judge Blair F. Gunther

Thousands of Slavic refugees and their descendants who have carved out a better life in the United States may owe their lives to western Pennsylvania’s Judge Blair F. Gunther (1903-1966). After Poland faced horrific Nazi brutality during World War II and the murder of thousands of the country’s army officers by the Soviet secret police, Gunther fought to expose the atrocities and...
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From the Editor

What’s new for 2008? How about the New Deal? Or, more precisely, PHMC’s annual theme commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal in Pennsylvania. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a seemingly endless roster of economic relief agencies created in the 1930s to alleviate massive unemployment and widespread poverty in the wake of the Great Depression,...
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Executive Director’s Letter

In March 2008, Pennsylvania will once again mark the anniversary of the granting of the 1681 Charter to William Penn by England’s King Charles II for the land that became the colony and eventually the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will conduct Heritage Week activities from Friday through Sunday, March 7–16, to celebrate the Keystone...
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The Ring of the Nibelung Hand-Colored Plate

Many Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects initiated under FDR’s New Deal resulted in a long term legacy (see “An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s ‘Little New Deal'” by Kenneth C. Wolensky in this issue). This is particularly true with regard to the WPA materials contained in Record Group 13, Records of the...
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An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal”

Despite substantive efforts by Governor Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) during his second non-consecutive term, from 1931 to 1935, unemployment, underemployment, and poverty continued to plague the Commonwealth. The Great Depression had crippled the nation and Pennsylvania – America’s workshop – was hard hit as unemployment soared to nearly 40 percent in several industrial...
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Lost and Found

Lost Hailed as “America’s First Super-highway” when it opened in 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was one of the country’s largest projects facilitated by the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambitious program created to spur economic recovery during the Great Depression. In 1937, Governor George H. Earle III, architect of Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal,” created the Pennsylvania...
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Letters

What A Guy! The article on Governor Earle [“An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s ‘Little New Deal'” by Kenneth C. Wolensky, Winter 2008] was incredible. With this article I learned so much about this period in Pennsylvania’s history and how the New Deal – the big one in Washington, D.C., and the not-so-little one in...
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