Romani in Pennsylvania

This fascinating early 20th-century postcard of a scene from Williamsport, Lycoming County, provides a view of life in Pennsylvania that is seldom represented in formal historic records or in preservation efforts. Cultures that exist outside the mainstream and especially those not linked to specific places pose a special challenge to historians. The word “Gypsy,” which appears on...
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Colonel Fred: The Handsomest Man in the Pennsylvania National Guard

A surprising number of the residents of Warren, Pa., remember Fred E. Windsor (1859-1936), though his name as well as his exploits have been long – if not deservedly – forgotten beyond the corporate limits. In the memory of Warrenites, he is the man on the borrowed white horse who led the Memorial Day parades in their youth, a relic and a reminder of the exhibitionistic optimism of...
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Preparing Teachers for Homestead Parochial School, 1888-1921

Teacher education was not a carefully systematized and regularized process in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centur­ies. Before the mandate for college de­grees, teacher examinations and certifi­cation, teachers in American classrooms would generally teach as they had been taught. This was particularly true in Ro­man Catholic parochial schools before diocesan administration of the...
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Pittsburgh’s Park of a Century

Currently ranked first as the Most Livable City by the Rand-McNally annual survey, Pittsburgh is reveling in media exposure comparable to the boosterism of the town of Zenith which writer Sinclair Lewis satirized in his novel, Babbit. Accompanying the zealous, self-proclaimed promotion, however, has been a healthy dose of self­-examination, with the city’s less enviable qualities suddenly...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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Black Steelworkers in Western Pennsylvania

Blacks constituted a sizable core of workers in the iron and steel industry of western Penn­sylvania between 1900 and 1950. Most had migrated to the Pittsburgh vicinity from the agricultural South during the two World Wars in hopes of improving their economic plight by obtaining jobs in area mills and foundries. However, racial discrimination prevented the majority of them from advancing beyond...
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The Proud Romanians of Pennsylvania

Search through the smoky steel towns nestled in the hills of central and western Pennsylvania and you will find the scattered descendants of once-numerous communities of Romanian immigrants. While Romanians settled throughout the state wherever mining and ‘industrial work was present, the largest concentrations remaining to­day are in Erie, Mercer. Lawrence, Beaver, Allegheny, Cambria and...
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Letters to the Editor

Homestead Revisited Thank you for the contribution by Brent D. Glass in the winter 1992 issue, “‘The Public is Enti­tled to Know’: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick.” Many Pittsburgh resi­dents with three generations of local family knew that his reputation was built on the backs of coal miners and steel workers whose wretched lives he ignored. An...
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Lost and Found

Lost Following World War II, the United States Steel Corporation’s massive Homestead Works in Allegheny County employed nearly fifteen thousand work­ers. The sprawling works, site of the infamous Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, closed in July 1986 and demolition began soon after. But all is not lost. While much of the plant is gone, there are plans to pre­serve the Pinkerton Landing, site...
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Pittsburgh’s Black Opera Impressario: Mary Cardwell Dawson

More than three decades after her death, Pittsburgh’s pioneer black opera company founder Mary Cardwell Dawson (1894-1962) has finally been honored for her many contributions to the Commonwealth’s musical heritage. On Sunday, September 25, 1994, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission unveiled and dedicated a state historical marker at the site of the Cardwell School of...
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