Helen Behal’s Jewish Welfare Board Uniform

Although the Armistice of November 11, 1918, brought an effective end to combat in World War I, many U.S. soldiers remained stationed in Europe well into 1919. In some cases, this was to maintain order while the Allies moved toward a peace treaty, but mostly it was part of a winding down process known as demobilization, which involved preparing soldiers for their imminent return to normal life...
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1918’s Deadliest Killer: The Flu Pandemic Hits Pennsylvania

I had a little bird, Its name was Enza. I opened the window, And in-flu-enza. —Children’s rhyme, 1918 The year 1918 was arguably one of the darkest in modern times and the deadliest ever recorded in human history. Much of Europe was locked in a hideous, relentless military struggle that had dragged on for three years, killing millions of soldiers and bankrupting its governments. Famine stalked...
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Pennsylvanians at Meuse-Argonne: The 28th, 79th and 80th Divisions in the Last Major Offensive of the Great War

Pennsylvanians served with honor and distinction in World War I, with more than 297,000 men from the Keystone State engaged in the conflict as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), established in July 1917 to join the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy) in the fight against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria). The majority of...
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Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil?

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly cackle. Clad in a rumpled fur overcoat, the figure carried an old gunnysack in one hand and a bundle of...
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Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

The Philadelphia Navy Yard was established in 1801 on Federal Street in the Southwark District of Philadelphia, an area along the Delaware River roughly 2 miles southeast of City Hall (part of this area was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Southwark Historic District in 1972). In 1868 the Navy Yard, later renamed the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, was moved to League...
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Recruitment, Conservation and Liberty Bonds: Posters and the War to End All Wars

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds a large and significant collection of World War I posters – 460 in all – that were hung throughout the Keystone State and around the country during the Great War. Many of these posters were produced on a national scale, although some were created specifically in Pennsylvania. The posters provide a fascinating glimpse at the means by which valued...
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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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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
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L. V. Kupper: Dirt-Street Town Photographer

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, northwestern Pennsylvania was predominantly a region of dirt-street towns, each serving a neighboring farm popula­tion. As such, these communities were home to blacksmiths, harness makers. and their like – practical mechanics whose utilitarian skills were very much a pan of the agricultural landscape. And among these champions of the useful...
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