On the Trail of Frank Furness

An historic sites survey is rightfully likened to a trea­sure hunt. A game of discovery, it relies on clues obtained from old maps, diaries, photographs, newspapers and countless other sources to lead to the awaiting bounty. Rather than finding a pot of gold, the historic sites survey, through its identification and documentation of old buildings, is rewarded by the discovery of pattern and...
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Crawford County: Welcoming the 21st Century

We passed over some good land since we eft Venango, and through several extensive and very rich meadows, one of which, I believe, was nearly four miles in length, and consid­erably wide in some places. Twenty-one year old George Washington, who would in time become a major landholder and land specula­tor, described Crawford County in 1753 as he carried a dispatch demanding the com­mander of the...
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Archeology Project Culminates

When you walk through the Hall of Anthropology in the William Penn Memorial Museum, you will almost be able to feel that you are an integral part of one or more of the many life ways portrayed there. For some persons that feeling will be even more intensified – for they actually participated in finding materials that will be there on display. The Anthropology Hall, scheduled to open...
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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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The Pennsylvania Archives and Research Opportunities in the Era of the American Revolution

Over the years the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has amassed a rich treasure of source materials for re­search and writing on Pennsylvania history.* The archival, manuscript, and microfilm holdings of the Pennsylvania State Archives are certainly significant as they relate to doing research on the era of the American Revolution, 1763 to 1790. It is unfortunate that these research re­sources...
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A Black Underground: Resistance to Slavery, 1833-1860

The Underground Railroad is an important historical link with which most Pennsylvanians are familiar. Ever since William Still, the Black histo­rian, published his famous record of fugitive aid in 1872, however, many have questioned whether in reality the Underground Railroad existed. Some say that fugitive aid in Pennsylvania was rendered individually and spontaneously. Others say that an...
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A Patriot Returns to Philadelphia: Restoration of a Thaddeus Kosciuzko Dwelling

He was the first of that group of foreign officers to offer his services in the cause of American liberty, and his labors earned him the reputation as the best military engineer that George Washington had. He was one of the first men of consequence in the colonies to shout for the freedom and education of black slaves, and in a will that was later broken, he left money to free and educate black...
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The Political Ascent of James Buchanan

As the nation enters the third century of the American presi­dency, only one Pennsylvanian has had the distinction of serving as its chief executive. In 1857, at the age of sixty-five, James Bu­chanan of Lancaster County became the fifteenth president of the United States. He was well prepared for the office, having spent more than thirty years in public service in various elected and appointed...
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“The Public Is Entitled to Know”: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick

On Saturday, July 23, 1892, Russian immi­grant and New York anarchist Alexander Berkman burst into the office of Henry Clay Frick in down­town Pittsburgh, stabbed him three times, and shot him in the ear and neck. Frick fought back and, with his secretary’s assistance, eventually subdued his assailant. Although he had sustained several serious wounds to his legs and chest, Frick insisted...
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Howard L. Barnes, Dean of Philadelphia’s Amateur Historians

Howard L. Barnes claims that Frankford is the oldest settlement in Philadelphia. Historians in neighboring Germantown dispute him, contending theirs to be the oldest community in the Quaker city area. How­ ever, no one has proven him wrong – nor can one, especially when he produces the original land deed of his beloved home­town, which dates to 1660. That would make Frankford not only the...
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