“The Not So Good Old Days”: Disease and the Struggle for Public Health in Pennsylvania

In 1930 A. J. Bohl was proud to work in the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). After 25 years there, he wrote an article in Pennsylvania’s Health in which he recalled growing up in the 1880s, when disease and illness ravaged the state. “There wasn’t much attention paid to the communicable diseases. Everybody, as a matter of course, had measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps, and...
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Beaver’s Diary, Document and Lifesaver

The Pennsylvania State Archives has in its collection numerous diaries recording the personal experiences of prominent people in the state’s history. One of those diaries not only documented its owner’s life but also possibly saved it. James Addams Beaver (1837–1914), born in Millerstown, Perry County, was an attorney in Bellefonte, Centre County, who would serve as the 20th governor of...
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“Keeping with the Dignity of the Commonwealth”: 50 Years of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence

The stately Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence overlooking the Susquehanna River at 2035 North Front Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, reaches its half-century mark in 2018, a milestone that is being observed with a variety of events and programs throughout the year. The Georgian Revival mansion was completed in 1968, during the term of Gov. Raymond P. Shafer, its...
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Perry County: A Sportsman’s Paradise

Despite its proximity to Pennsylvania’s bustling and heavily urbanized capital city, Perry County remains a sportsman’s placid paradise with its thickly forested moun­tains and lushly verdant val­leys. Much like its neighboring counties – Franklin, Cumber­land, Juniata and Dauphin­ – Perry County claims a topogra­phy that is neither unique nor unusual: its mountains give...
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Pomp, Pageantry and a Parade: Celebrating the Constitution’s Centennial

With the thunder of a one hundred gun naval salute at precisely ten o’clock on the morning of Thursday, September 15, 1887, the nation’s centennial celebra­tion of the adoption of the United States Con­stitution opened with great fanfare in Philadelphia. The booming cannon blast from a naval squadron on the Delaware River launched three jubilant days of parades, military marches,...
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Centre County

Centre County, as its name implies, geographically is Pennsylvania’s central county. The first known residents to inhabit its lands were the Munsee and Shawnee Indians from the Delaware River. Before 1725 these Indians began to move westward, first to the Susquehanna, later to the Ohio. The Iroquois, who claimed the Susquehanna country, assigned one of their chiefs – a man best known...
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The Day They Raised a Monument in Dixie

The artillery salvo thun­dered across the land­scape. The pandemo­nium reverberated through the ravines before fading eerily in the distance. The outburst was quickly followed by another, then another. It was reminiscent of an earlier day, many years before, when soldiers uni­formed in blue and gray skir­mished upon these heights and engaged in mortal combat amidst roaring guns and flar­ing...
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Ninety-Five Years of the Pennsylvania Society: A “Who’s Who” of Business and Politics

From industrialist Andrew Carnegie to television personality Mister Rogers, The Pennsylvania Society has both honored and drawn its energy from prominent personages of the Commonwealth’s civic, business, academic, entertain­ment, and government circles for nearly a century. Best known for its legendary annual December awards dinner that lasts for but a few hours each year, the organization...
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Lost and Found

Lost In 1845, less than five years after entering politics, William Bigler (1814-1880) built a handsome Italianate-style residence in Clearfield. Before settling in the Clearfield County seat, he apprenticed with his brother John at The Centre De­mocrat, published in Bellefonte, Centre County. In Clearfield, he amassed a fortune in the lumber business. He served in the state senate from 1841 to...
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An Interview with Richard C. Saylor: The Impact of the Civil War Legacy in Pennsylvania

Richard C. “Rich” Saylor, an archivist with the Pennsylvania State Archives, has been deep within the treasures that are the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) collections for nearly twenty years. He has become a highly respected expert on Pennsylvania Civil War history, research, and artifacts on behalf of the Commission. With a master’s degree in American Studies from Penn...
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