Harriet Lane Johnston: The Legacy of a White House Hostess

On the cool, overcast day of May 9, 2017, a dozen nurses from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center arrived by bus at Green Mount Cemetery, a leafy 19th-century oasis in center city Baltimore. They carried a generous bouquet of flowers to decorate the grave of Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of James Buchanan (1791–1868), Pennsylvania’s only U.S. president. “Without Harriet Lane, we don’t know what...
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Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War with Mexico

The war with Mexico, declared on May 13, 1846, was not generally popular throughout the United States. Many in the northern states perceived it as an effort to expand the territory suitable for slavery, there­by increasing the economic and political influence of the South. Many Pennsylvanians, however, did not share what has since been characterized as the typical northern attitude. Either from...
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The Political Ascent of James Buchanan

As the nation enters the third century of the American presi­dency, only one Pennsylvanian has had the distinction of serving as its chief executive. In 1857, at the age of sixty-five, James Bu­chanan of Lancaster County became the fifteenth president of the United States. He was well prepared for the office, having spent more than thirty years in public service in various elected and appointed...
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Currents

Both Sides Now A decade in the making, Harrisburg’s newly opened National Civil War Museum boasts nearly thirty thousand square feet of exhibition space. Situated high atop a knoll in a city park, with a commanding view of the capital city below, the museum – described by the re­gion’s press as “a world-class museum for a world-class collection” – is the first...
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Ridgway Historic District

In 1833, Ridgway was platted as an unincorporated village and named for wealthy Philadelphia Quaker Jacob Ridgway (1768-1843), who owned more than one hundred thousand acres in north­central Pennsylvania. The village, originally located in Jefferson County, became the Elk County seat upon the county’s creation in 1843. Ridgway, incor­porated as a borough in 1881, emerged as an important...
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Bedford Springs Hotel

This surely is a wonderful place to rest,” wrote an unidentified Laura to a Mrs. C. Brown Jr., of Charleroi, Washington County, on a postcard of the Bedford Springs Hotel postmarked June 28, 1928. “Wish Doc could stay forever,” she continued. “He feels a lot better.” Located one mile south of Bedford, Bedford County seat, Bedford Springs attracted attention as early...
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A Flag Bears Witness – Don’t Give Up The Ship

A mere five words stitched on a flag in 1813 in a tiny frontier village produced one of the most enduring symbols in United States history. Two hundred years later those few words – Don’t Give Up The Ship – have become a stirring, unofficial motto of the U.S. Navy; a rallying cry; and a flag flown from masts of sailboats, yachts, tall ships, and more. The details of the War of...
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John White Geary’s White Star Identity Badge

John White Geary (1819–1873) was a courageous individual who gallantly served his country, fighting in both the Mexican War of 1846–1848 and the American Civil War, and dutifully led his Commonwealth as governor for two consecutive terms, from 1867 to 1873. Born near Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, he attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Washington County, from which he graduated in...
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