“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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Terror and Extortion on the Pennsylvania Railroad

Threats of terrorism and challenges to security are nothing new for railroads; these phenomena have been around for nearly 200 years of railroading in the United States. Safety and security, therefore, have been of the utmost importance for railroad lines from the 19th century to the present, and railroad police have had authority equivalent to state police in many locations. Yet, the amount of...
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Ruthless Tide by Al Roker

Ruthless Tide The Heroes and Villains of the Johnstown Flood, America’s Astonishing Gilded Age Disaster by Al Roker William Morrow, 303 pp, cloth $28.99 The Johnstown Flood of 1889 retains  its fascination. The flood was caused by the breaking of a dam owned by the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club, a group of Pittsburgh industrialists and financiers. In a horrifying display of the...
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The Dream of Security: Johnstown and Flood Control

They don’t take rain for granted in Johnstown anymore. Walking down Market Street or cruising Route 56, pedestrians may pause and drivers may slow as the first drops land. Anxious glances skyward reveal the unspoken thought: will it happen again? They are re­calling the terrible night in July 1977 when the rain fell and fell and the dream of a flood-free Johnstown shattered for­ever. That...
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“Little Doc”: Architect Of Modern Nursing

Lavinia Lloyd Dock (1858-1956) labored long and hard as educator, settlement worker, historian, author, editor, columnist, pacifist and radical suffragist. Beyond this, she strove to internationalize the public health movement while continually elevating the status of women. But her contributions to the field of nursing­ – which helped transform what was then a despised trade into a...
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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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A One Night Stand to Remember – Or to Forget

Laurette Taylor, an actress who knew well of what she spoke, wrote, “There is no existence so devoid of meaning as ‘the one night stands,’ none so fatal to progress as any kind of forced and hurried travel­ing.” Yet of just such ingredi­ents was the theatrical experience compounded dur­ing the last quarter of the nine­teenth century. For these were the years of “the...
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Setting the Standard for Others

With a rich heritage rooted in colonial military formations – such as the forces furnished in 1740 for a disastrous English expe­dition against Cartagena, Spain’s principal seaport in South America, and Benjamin Franklin’s ten thousand mem­ber military Association, estab­lished in 1747 – the 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is the...
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Against All Odds: Chevalier Jackson, Physician and Painter

After he had observed his seventieth birth­day, Dr. Chevalier Jackson described downtown Pittsburgh of 1865, his birthplace, as dark, gloomy, and dirty. His recollec­tions of 1888, the year he es­tablished a medical practice in an old tailor shop on Sixth Avenue, were particularly vivid. All winter long we lived as in a dark, cold, damp cellar. The sun was visible, on an average, four days in a...
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Bookshelf

Guide to Photo­graphs at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Linda A. Ries Pennsylvania Histori­cal and Museum Commission, 1993 (229 pages, paper, $6.95) Although the Pennsylvania State Archives safeguards mostly documentary materi­als – such as the private and personal papers of individuals, governmental records, maps, military records, industrial reports, and similar archival items...
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