Soldiers to Governors: World War II

More than 1 million Pennsylvanians served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Five of these servicemembers would later be elected as Pennsylvania’s governor. Carrying on the great American tradition of citizen-soldiers, these civilians or members of the National Guard left their homes and families to volunteer to fight for their country during a crucial period in history. The Pennsylvania...
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Paying It Forward: The Legacy of Genevieve Blatt

When she was a judge on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, Genevieve Blatt (1913-96) was known to instruct her law clerks that she didn’t want to see them typing. “She was very insistent that we had other people who could perform that task for us,” said Mary K. Kisthardt, a former law clerk for the judge who is now a professor of law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law....
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“Keeping with the Dignity of the Commonwealth”: 50 Years of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence

The stately Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence overlooking the Susquehanna River at 2035 North Front Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, reaches its half-century mark in 2018, a milestone that is being observed with a variety of events and programs throughout the year. The Georgian Revival mansion was completed in 1968, during the term of Gov. Raymond P. Shafer, its...
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Wrench in the Machine: The Shapp Gubernatorial Campaign’s Media Blitz of 1966

Pennsylvania and machine politics were synonymous for years, even into the 1960s when reformers and direct primaries thwarted old-style machine politics in other states. Political machines with their control over patronage and nominations had dominated Pennsylvania’s politics since the Civil War, but even the direct primary failed to usher in a new, more open system. That changed suddenly when...
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Pennsylvania Governors Residences Open to the Public

Pennypacker Mills Pennypacker Mills possesses a lengthy history dating to about 1720 when Hans Jost Hite built the fieldstone house and a gristmill near the Perkiomen Creek, Schwenksville, Montgomery County. Purchased in 1747 by Peter Pennypacker (1710-1770), the house was enlarged and a saw mill and a fulling mill were constructed. The property acquired its name for the three mills. Peter...
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A Home for History: S.K. Stevens and the Campaign for the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives

by Curtis Miner On December 23, 1959, Dr. S.K. Stevens (1904-74) sent out a final, end-of-the-year message to members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). It came in the form of a brief, typewritten memo, informing them that Governor David L. Lawrence (1889-1966) had that morning signed a spending bill for the construction of a museum and archives building. “I think this...
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Political Leadership: A Catalyst for Special Education

President Kennedy was admired for his efforts to help retarded citizens, and most people realize that these efforts were motivated, in part, by his personal awareness of mental retardation. But few people know of the dramatic story of personal motivation moving.govern­ment bureaucracy to assist the handicapped in Pennsyl­vania. It has been nearly half a century since Henry Lanius, a blind...
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The Romance of Pennsylvania Agriculture

When a small group of men met at Lancaster’s Leopard Hotel in August 1916 to organize the first Pennsylvania Farm Show, they did not have in mind mammoth displays of fifty thousand dollar tractors, mountains of steaming baked potatoes or presentations of grand champion livestock ribbons. They didn’t envision a state fair of the type that had become so popular in places like Iowa,...
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Ninety-Five Years of the Pennsylvania Society: A “Who’s Who” of Business and Politics

From industrialist Andrew Carnegie to television personality Mister Rogers, The Pennsylvania Society has both honored and drawn its energy from prominent personages of the Commonwealth’s civic, business, academic, entertain­ment, and government circles for nearly a century. Best known for its legendary annual December awards dinner that lasts for but a few hours each year, the organization...
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A Century of Conservation: The Story of Pennsylvania’s State Parks

Pennsylvania’s state park system is celebrating its centennial as one of the country’s largest and most popular recreational attractions. Each year, thirty-six million people visit one (or more) of the Keystone State’s one hundred and fourteen parks to picnic, hike, swim, boat, camp, ski, snowmobile, fish, hunt, or raft white water rapids. This sprawling collec­tion of open...
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