To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
read more

Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin Simon & Schuster, 432 pp., hardcover $30 In Valley Forge, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin explore the harsh realities of Gen. George Washington’s most trying winter in impressive and vivid detail. Utilizing the writings of an impressive who’s who of the American Revolution, the authors weave a narrative that accurately and dramatically recreates the...
read more

Battlefield Pennsylvania by Brady J. Crytzer

Battlefield Pennsylvania A Guide to the Keystone State’s Most Sacred Ground by Brady J. Crytzer Westholme Publishing, 288 pp., cloth $28.00 Ironically, the soil of Pennsylvania, founded by pacifist and Quaker William Penn, was soaked with the blood of its inhabitants. Brady J. Crytzer’s Battlefield Pennsylvania documents the many battles waged in this state. Some near present-day...
read more

From the Anonymous Lady to the Peales and the Sullys: Philadelphia’s Professional Women Artists of the Early Republic

The Colonial and Revolutionary periods in Philadelphia saw little art production by women outside the home. Not only did the religious and social culture of Philadelphia demand that women make the home and children their primary focus, but also there were no formal schools for instruction in either the fine or applied arts. Apprenticeships with painters, printmakers or sculptors were usually...
read more

Washington Memorial Chapel

In December 1777, in the midst of the American Revolution, Gen. George Washington directed the Continental Army to set up a winter encampment in an area known as Valley Forge, less than 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the U.S. capital that had been captured by British troops in the Philadelphia Campaign. Approximately 12,000 troops endured the winter at Valley Forge, training and drilling...
read more

From the Executive Director

As a trained historian who has devoted his life to the preservation and teaching of American history, I am embarrassed to admit how little I knew about my own family’s history—only a few bits and pieces passed down from my parents. I was told that our family settled in the old Northwest Territory before Ohio became a state in 1803 and that some of my ancestors came from Pennsylvania. I...
read more

Craft Brewing: Another Revolution in Pennsylvania

The history of brewing beer in Pennsylvania has seen heights of success and pits of disaster. The commonwealth grew from colonial home-brewing roots to become a recognized industrial center, home to some of the most notable brewers in America before the disaster of Prohibition. After bouncing back with Repeal, Pennsylvania clung to its established favorites longer than any other state, savoring...
read more

Battle of Germantown

During the American Revolution, the fight for independence reached its most dire moment in 1777 when the British embarked on a campaign to capture the seat of American government in Philadelphia. After defeating the Continental forces of Gen. George Washington (1732–99) at the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777, Gen. William Howe (1729–1814) and his British army outmaneuvered Washington and...
read more

From the Executive Director

Over the past few months I have been spending time with visitors in the new Pennsylvania Icons exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania (see “Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth,” Winter 2016). There is a small but very powerful section of the exhibit entitled “Pennsylvania and the Nation.” It is a dramatic reminder of the close connection between...
read more

Rock Ford Plantation

Nestled in the rolling terrain of Lancaster’s Central Park, near the banks of the Conestoga River, sits historic Rock Ford Plantation, the stately Georgian-style manor of Revolutionary War general Edward Hand (1744-1802). Built in 1793 the nearly 200-acre farm offered respite from the bustle of nearby Lancaster for the Hand family. The property also included two barns, a tenant house, a...
read more