The Sacred and the Secular: Immigrant Values in Pennsylvania History

Since its founding, the history of Pennsylvania has sprung from the successive waves of immigrants who have settled within its boundaries. Colonial Pennsylvania was peopled by English, Scotch-Irish, German, Swe­dish, and Welsh arrivals. Germans continued to come after 1800 but were joined by thousands from Ireland and Wales. With industrial expansion after 1870, Hungarians, Lithu­anians, Poles...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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“A Veritable Stone Wall of Death”

“Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed.” The Lord’s angels commanding Lot to leave the city of Sodom. Genesis 19:17   It was a beautiful, sunny day-a welcome respite from a September of rain and hard frosts that had swollen the Sinnemahoning Creek and its tributary Freeman Run to unusually high levels....
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Steel on the Susquehanna

Endless miles of steel track emerge from the gaping jaws of the roaring rail mill. Oper­ators in the cab above the line manipulate levers, as if pains­takingly choreographed, while red-hot rails shoot off the line, destined for the railroads of the world. What makes this scene unusual, is that it is occurs today. Far from the rusting hulks of the giant steel works of Pittsburgh, the Beth­lehem...
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Currents

Hat’s Off! The Philadelphia Museum of Art will celebrate the art and craft of twentieth century millinery in the first major survey of its kind ever to be mounted in the United States. “Ahead of Fashion: Hats of the Twentieth Century” will open on Saturday, August 21 [1993], and continue through Sunday, November 28 [1993]. The exhibition will showcase one hundred of the...
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Currents

Grand Manner Born in Nescopeck, Luzerne County, Peter Frederick Rothermel (1812-1895) was once one of the most celebrated his­tory painters in the United States (see “Painting for Peer, Patron, and the Public” by Kent Ahrens in the spring 1992 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage). Neglected for decades, he is at last being celebrated in a major exhibition, “Painting in the Grand...
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Bookshelf

The Genius Belt: The Story of the Arts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania edited by George S. Bush James A. Michener Art Museum in association with The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996 (174 pages, cloth, $40.00; paper, $29.95) Bucks County had known artists as neighbors for years, but in this handsome and richly illustrated book, novelist and native son James A. Michener writes that two...
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Massacre at Lattimer, An American Rite of Passage: An Interview with Michael Novak

Why do so many kids from Pennsylvania make great quarterbacks?” Michael Novak, writer, teacher, theologian, and social philosopher leaned forward as he posed the question and then offered an answer. “Because they’re hard realists. You’re down by fourteen points with seven minutes to play. So, what’s new? That’s the way life has always been in this part of the...
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Violence and Vigilantes: The KKK in Pennsylvania

It was a warm, muggy day in early August 1921 in Philadelphia when F. W. Atkins of Jacksonville, Florida, and W. J. Bellamy of Cincinnati, Ohio, rented an office in the Bellevue Court Building to quietly recruit members for “a great and patriotic crusade to save the nation.” Their goal was to organize a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Posing as a prospective KKK initiate, a...
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Mr. Peanut’s Hometown: Wilkes-Barre and the Founding of Planters Peanuts

Few may realize it, but for nearly a half-century, the Luzerne County seat of Wilkes-Barre, in northeastern Pennsylvania, was the peanut capital of the world. Founded in 1906, the Planters Peanut Company operated its national headquarters at 632 South Main Street in an impressive two-story Federal-style building. A handsome balustrade encircled the roof of the elegant concrete edifice and was...
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