The Legacy of George Way

On February 2 this year, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. We’ll know soon whether or not he was correct. But regardless of the weather, this is the time of year that we mark the anniversary of Pennsylvania’s founding. In March 1681 King Charles II of England granted land on the east coast of North America to William Penn as repayment for funds...
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From the Executive Director

Last weekend at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, I met a member of the Delaware Tribe (the Lenape). He grew up in Oklahoma, where his tribe is located today, and this was his first visit to Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Harrisburg, he had visited the Delaware Water Gap. I was captivated as he talked about seeing the Delaware River for the first time. The river looms large in Lenape history,...
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War in the Peaceable Kingdom by Brady J. Crytzer

War in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Kittanning Raid of 1756 by Brady J. Crytzer Westholme Publishing, 256 pp., cloth $28 The title of this book describes its content and contribution better than does the subtitle. The Delaware town of Kittanning on the Allegheny River was an important place – the residence of the war chiefs Shingas and Tewea (Captain Jacobs) and the source of multiple...
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William Penn’s Side Chair

Pennsylvania founder and first proprietor William Penn lived in his colony for a total of only four years during two trips of two years each, 1682-84 and 1699-1701. Even before his first visit he had engaged his agent to purchase from the Lenapes land along the Delaware River that would become Pennsbury Manor, intended to be his permanent summer home in America. As fate would have it, however,...
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Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth

  Pennsylvania Icons is a landmark exhibition at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that tells the story of the commonwealth and its people, places, industries, creations and events with more than 400 artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collection. The State Museum contains the largest and most comprehensive Pennsylvania history collection in the world, with a diverse array of objects...
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Lenape Country by Jean R. Soderlund

Lenape Country Delaware Valley Society before William Penn by Jean R. Soderlund University of Pennsylvania Press, 272 pp., $39.95 In Lenape Country, Jean R. Soderlund, professor of history at Lehigh University and editor of William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania, 1983), masterfully recounts the story of the strong, proud and, at times, fierce people who once...
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Indian Hannah

Hannah Freeman is a name rarely found in history books, although her story and legend live on in southern Chester County. Known more popularly as “Indian Hannah,” Freeman is remembered in local lore as the last Lenape living in Chester County at the time of her death in 1802. She was born about 1730 on the Webb farm in Kennett Township not far from the Delaware border. Today the farm is part of...
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Executive Director’s Letter

To this day I can distinctly remember the palpable excitement I felt as a child going up to the attic with my grandmother to explore all the wonderful old treasures secreted there. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and The State Museum of Pennsylvania have recently initiated a project to rediscover and examine the Commonwealth’s hidden gems that have long been stored away....
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The Ethnic Factor: Backbone of the Commonwealth

“… that those of our own, or other nations, that are inclined to transport themselves or families beyond the seas, may find another country …” – William Penn   The story of Pennsylvania can­not be adequately told without great emphasis upon its ethnic di­versity. More than simply an incidental feature, from the first contacts between Europeans and Indians to...
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Delaware County: Where Pennsylvania Began

Delaware County is part of the densely populated belt around Philadelphia, stretching from the city’s western boundary to the circular Delaware state line. Covering approx­imately 185 square miles, it is the third smallest Pennsylvania county yet the fourth largest in population. Its southern boundary is formed by the Delaware River, from which the county takes its name. The site of early...
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