Charles Lenker’s M1917 Doughboy Helmet

Charles W. Lenker (1896–1973) of Palmyra, Lebanon County, entered the Army from Lebanon on April 2, 1918, and wore this M1917 steel combat helmet during his service in World War I (also see inside front cover). It is preserved today not only as a relic of the war but also as a fine example of early helmet folk art with its painted record of a soldier’s military service. The steel combat helmet...
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Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil?

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly cackle. Clad in a rumpled fur overcoat, the figure carried an old gunnysack in one hand and a bundle of...
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Mount Gretna’s Spirit Lives On

Mount Gretna in Lebanon County is an enduring gem of a historic village that offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience an unembellished, Victorian-era lifestyle that shuffles on in similar fashion today. Cloistered within a 16-mile slice of forested rocky hills surrounded by a patchwork expanse of farmland between Lancaster and Hershey, Mount Gretna came to life in 1892 as a village (now...
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World War I Ambulances

The face of warfare had changed by the time America entered World War I. For better or worse, the conflict was characterized by advances in technology, including air combat, chemical weaponry, and more effective firearms such as machine guns and automatic rifles. Automobiles also began supplementing horse-drawn wagons for a number of uses on the battlefront, including ambulatory medical care. In...
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Powwowing: Ritual Healing in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

It was just after dark when the powwow doctor arrived at the elderly woman’s home in Lebanon County. The woman had been suffering from swelling in her legs that made walking difficult. Regular medical treatment had proven to be unsuccessful, so after enduring several months of painful discomfort, she called a powwower on the advice of a friend. Tonight would be the third successive...
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Training at Indiantown Gap

  At age 19, Waldo Preston Breeden Jr. sent a postcard to his father in Pittsburgh describing his seemingly pleasant experiences at Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, in July 1938. He “found apples and berries on the range,” “shot the 37 mm. guns” (a common caliber of antitank gun at the time) and mentioned that he had a special ranking and higher pay because of his ability to drive. The...
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Industrial Heritage Trails

America’s first significant industries date back to the 18th century with the iron plantations in Pennsylvania and the development of the factory system in New England textile mills. Preservation of our industrial heritage, however, is a fairly recent phenomenon, beginning for the most part after World War II. Prior to the war, federal programs and even private initiatives were designated...
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Donald R. Brown and the Institute of American Deltiology

Donald R. Brown may well be the Dr. Albert C. Barnes of the postcard world. An ardent deltiologist, he promotes postcards as resources for the scholarly study of society, culture and heritage. In 70-odd years of collecting postcards, he’s amassed an unrivaled private collection, housed in his Institute of American Deltiology (IAD), an incorporated nonprofit foundation, museum and research center...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Lebanon County: Small in Size – Rich in Heritage

Lebanon County is located in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the center of the beautiful Lebanon Valley, which is formed by the Blue Ridge of the Kittatinny range of mountains to the north and the South Mountains, or Furnace Hills, to the south. Covering an area of 363 square miles, the county is inhabited by ap­proximately 100,000 people. Between the shale...
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