Linton Park, Pennsylvania Folk Artist

  Linton Park (1826-1906) is recognized today as a significant artist in the primitive or folk tradition; however, his work was unknown during his lifetime. At his death, in fact, he had less than $100 to his name. He never married or had children, and his relatives and neighbors considered him an eccentric hermit. Evidence indicates that he was a self-taught painter, only beginning in the...
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The Inventor from Ercildoun: William Chester Ruth

It is apt to remember inventor William Chester Ruth (1882–1971) as a pinion in both his community and his machine shop and as a bridge between cultures and eras. The son of a man who had been enslaved until his 13th year and a woman from a distinguished free Black family, “Chester” displayed both confirmation of talent inherited from his parents and his own innovative path to the future. Steeped...
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Editor’s Letter

As part of our mission “to introduce readers to Pennsylvania’s rich culture and historic legacy,” we at Pennsylvania Heritage seek to connect the commonwealth’s past with what Pennsylvania is today or what it is anticipated to become in the future. In this effort, we strive to publish stories on a variety of subjects, some of which have been overlooked or underrepresented in history, that relate...
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Stephanie Kwolek, Inventor of Kevlar

Born into a Polish American family in New Kensington, Westmoreland County, Stephanie Kwolek (1923–2014) received a bachelor’s degree in 1946 from the Margaret Morrison Carnegie College of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Although she intended to pursue a career in medicine, she took a job with DuPont as a chemist to earn money to attend medical school. She became so involved in her...
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Editor’s Letter

Historical research is often motivated by a personal connection to a subject. Two articles in this issue of Pennsylvania Heritage come from authors who have investigated individuals significant to their own lives and found links to broader themes in Pennsylvania history. David D. Hursh became intrigued by his maternal great-grandfather, Rudolph M. Hunter, after years of hearing family lore about...
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Philadelphia’s Forgotten Inventor: The Untold Story of Rudolph M. Hunter

The lot at 3710 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia is all but empty now – a low scraggly hedge in front, a scattering of shade trees, a long concrete walk on the right, skirting Penn Newman Catholic Center. It’s hard to imagine the fanciful Victorian mansion that once adorned the site – a “pretty residence of brick,” the Philadelphia Press unimaginatively put it in...
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