Survival of an American Boom Town

No stirring debates reverberate through the chambers of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall; white-hot molten steel no longer pours out of the fiery cauldrons in the sprawling mills of Pittsburgh and Bethlehem; and little coal ripped from the earth by giant steam shovels in Carbon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Lackawanna Counties in the Keystone State’s anthracite region. As surprising as...
read more

Remembering a Twentieth-Century Public Servant

They gathered at their Lake Ariel cottage in rural Wayne County on a warm summer weekend in 1985. For Bob and Ellen Casey, the house on the Jake was their favorite retreat, filled with many happy memories. Casey treasured being with family, as he later would reflect, “The overarching memory of the time when our children were young was the sheer fun we all had together.” While cooking...
read more

An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal”

Despite substantive efforts by Governor Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) during his second non-consecutive term, from 1931 to 1935, unemployment, underemployment, and poverty continued to plague the Commonwealth. The Great Depression had crippled the nation and Pennsylvania – America’s workshop – was hard hit as unemployment soared to nearly 40 percent in several industrial...
read more

Christy Mathewson: Baseball’s Gentleman and Tragic Hero

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, twenty thousand baseball fans packed New York City’s Polo Grounds to watch the hometown New York Giants host the reigning World Series champion and archrival, the Chicago Cubs. The contest would determine first place in the race for the coveted National League pennant. Right-handed pitcher Christy “Matty” Mathewson (1880–1925), a thirty-seven-game winner, took...
read more

Built by the New Deal

With the nation mired in the grim depths of the Great Depression, industrial Pennsylvania was far from being immune to the financial instability with the closing of 5,000 manufacturing firms and the loss of 270,000 factory jobs by 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched his New Deal, a series of innovative programs targeted to giving work to the unemployed, stabilizing a downward...
read more

PHMC Highlights

Pennsylvania State Archivist David A. Haury, Ph.D., director of PHMC’s Bureau of Archives and History, assisted President Barack Obama’s transition team as it relates to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Haury, president of the Council of State Archivists, Frank Boles, president of the Society of American Archivists, and Tracey Berezansky, president of the National...
read more

Lost and Found

Lost At one time a subsidiary owned by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company, the Hudson Coal Company employed ten thousand men at its fourteen mines and six breakers – structures of several stories in which anthracite was broken, sized, screened, and cleaned before being shipped to market – in northeastern Pennsylvania. Three-quarters of these employees worked underground. The...
read more

Exploring the Pennsylvania Energy Trail of History

Pennsylvania’s vast natural resources helped fuel the growth and development of both state and nation, spawning innumerable advances in transportation, industry, technology, and science. These resources propelled an economy that supported generations of men and women. The Pennsylvania Trails of History, a network of historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and...
read more

PHMC Highlights

In May, visitors witnessed a reenactment of World War II field life in the 1944–1945 European theater of operations as American, Allied, and German soldiers set up a bivouac on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County. Reenactors who portrayed Allied small squad tactical operations against Nazi opposition included Tom Gray, Caitlin Williamson, and Doug Hartman;...
read more

Anthracite Sculptures by Charles Edgar Patience at Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum

Charles Edgar Patience (1906-1972), an African American sculptor who lived and worked in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, took the carving of anthracite to an unprecedented level. While many miners in northeastern Pennsylvania sculpted small souvenirs in coal as a hobby, Patience raised the form to high art, exhibiting works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Smithsonian...
read more