Bookshelf

Documenting Pennsylvania’s Past: The First Century of the Pennsylvania State Archives Edited by Willis L. Shirk Jr. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2003 (242 pages, paper, $32.95) A detailed and highly graphic centennial celebration in print, Documenting Pennsylvania’s Past: The First Century of the Pennsylvania State Archives offers readers a glimpse at the vast...
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Genealogy Records at Ephrata Cloister

The types of source documents that help family historians most often depend upon such factors as ethnicity, ge­ography, and time period. Even within an ethnic group, there can be great variety. Pennsylvania Germans constitute one such group. The large immigration to Pennsylvania of German­-speaking people in the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century was composed...
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“B” from ABC Book at Ephrata Cloister

The arts — particularly hand-drawn illustrations and music manuscripts — played an important part in the daily lives of the members of Ephrata Cloister, founded in 1732 by Conrad Beissel (1691–1768) in Lancaster County. The religious community created its own distinctive fraktur, ornate illuminations for manuscripts, wall charts, and bookplates. The highest form and best-known example of Ephrata...
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Lost and Found

Lost Sheep Rock Shelter in Juniata Township, Huntingdon County — one of the most significant archaeological sites in eastern North America — was discovered in 1957 by a boater on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Excavations at the shelter yielded evidence of nine thousand years of human habitation, more or less continuously from 7000 BC to about AD 1500. The shelter’s rock overhang...
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Illuminated Manuscript at Ephrata Cloister

Among the many treasures surviving from Ephrata Cloister, founded by Conrad Beissel (1681–1768) in 1732, are Germanic-style buildings, impressive books, and beautifully illuminated manuscripts, including one which combines two significant arts practiced in the eighteenth-century religious settlement in Lancaster County: music and the Pennsylvania German art of fraktur. Beissel developed a system...
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Sacred Places in Pennsylvania: Signs of Religious Freedom and Diversity

When William Penn established Pennsylvania, he did so in part to create a place where his own faith community, the Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers), could worship freely, just as the Puritans did in Massachusetts and the Baptists in Rhode Island. But Penn went further – he established freedom for other faiths and creeds, welcoming one and all, regardless of their beliefs and...
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William Penn’s Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity

Alexander Milne Calder’s bronze statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall surveys the founder’s beloved Holy Experiment fashioned out of the ideals of his Quaker faith. In a seventeenth-century world conditioned by violence, religious persecution, and arbitrary authority, Penn established an unusual colony dedicated to the principles of religious toleration, participatory...
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Discovering Religious Diversity Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

William Penn (1644-1718) knew well the sting of discrimination and the misery of persecution for his religious beliefs. He suffered the consequences of breaking with the Church of England, leading to estrangement from his father, Admiral Sir William Penn (1621-1670). When imprisoned for attending meetings of the Society of Friends – commonly called Quakers and Friends – the younger...
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