The Lady in Charge

In its heyday, Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre seated approximately 2,000 patrons for each performance who came to see the renowned thespians of the 19th century. Popular performers – Fanny Davenport, Joseph Jefferson and Charlotte Cushman – played “The Arch” at 819 Arch Street. Even actor John Wilkes Booth took his turn there as Macbeth two years before he...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Recommends

The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience Samuel W. Black, editor of a collection of eight essays comprising The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience (Senator John Heinz History Center in partnership with Pennsylvania Civil War 150, 2013, paper, 239 pages, $29.95), contends, “In various ways African Americans have been fighting for freedom for several...
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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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Letters to the Editor

Filled the Bill I appreciated the article entitled “Against All Odds: Chevalier Jackson, Physician and Painter” in the summer 1992 edition. Following a double mastoid ear operation at the age of seven, I moved with my family to Philadelphia in 1924, and my mother and I commuted at least weekly for ear treatments from Dr. Arthur J. Wagers, a friend and colleague of Dr. Jackson. It was...
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The Missionary and the Clockmaker: A Saga of Two Brothers-In-Law

Scion of a decayed Anglo-Irish Ascend­ancy family of Ireland’s County Monaghan, the young Rev. Thomas Barton journeyed in spring 1755 through the largely unbroken forests of Pennsylvania to the settlement known at the time as Contwager or Conewago. He made his way – “over Susquehanna,” as the contem­porary traveler commonly described it-to lands lying along the Bermudian...
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Bookshelf

Forging A New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression, 1929-1941 by Curtis Miner Johnstown Area Heritage Association, 1993 (81 pages, paper, $7.95) Published to accompany a major museum installation by the same title (see “Currents,” spring 1994), Forging A New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression, 1929-1941, is a richly written and copiously illustrated exhibition catalogue...
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Letters to the Editor

A Giant Among Men Congratulations to William C. Kashatus on his extraordinary article, “A New Birth of Freedom,” which appeared in the Fall 1999 issue. Americans, who have witnessed the downfall of so many latter-day heroes in recent years, can take heart in knowing that Abraham Lincoln was truly a giant among men. The article has enhanced my already considerable admiration for this...
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“Thank God there are only three McCormicks”

The McCormick boys arrived at St. Michael’s Home for Boys in July 1939. Art was seventeen, I was fourteen, and Mike was seven – a trio of orphans who would now live with two hundred and fifty hard-knock boys at this Catholic orphanage in Hoban Heights, near Pittston in Luzerne County. Those were hard times, and many boys at St. Mike’s came from rough backgrounds. They came from...
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Portrait of Valentine Blanchard

Upon graduating from Lancaster’s Franklin and Marshall College in 1900, Worth B. Stottlemyer settled in Arling­ton, Virginia, where he prospered in the insurance and real estate businesses. An insatiable collector, he amassed a cache of antiques and works of art, intending to open an antiques shop in Frederick, Maryland, upon retiring. While building his enormous collection, Stottle­myer...
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Sowing a Wealth Uncommon

When Pennsylvania’s thirty-seven-year-old founder William Penn (1644-1718) drew plans for Philadelphia, he specified a central park of ten acres and four symmetrically placed squares of eight acres each “for the comfort and recreation of all forever.” In his September 30, 1681, instructions to his commissioners, he also mandated private space. “Let every House be placed,...
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