Lois Weber, Film Pioneer

The Pittsburgh region has been home to many remarkable women over the years, including journalist Nellie Bly, abolitionist Jane Grey Swisshelm, and environmentalist Rachel Carson. Less known among them is Lois Weber, the first American woman film director. During cinema’s silent era in the 1910s and 1920s, she held a unique position in Hollywood. She was not only one of a small handful of women...
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Editor’s Letter

The features in this edition focus on Pennsylvanians who strived for a more equitable, pluralistic America. The articles cover a period from the mid-19th century into the early 20th, a time when movements for civil rights were emerging and new barriers were being broken in several social and cultural realms. The story of Octavius V. Catto reflects a key moment in the history of the struggle for...
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Sure to Attract Much Attention: The Advertising Genius of Milton S. Hershey

Milton S. Hershey, the man behind the chocolate bar, was an innovative and resourceful manufacturer who used a variety of traditional as well as unconventional strategies to both advertise and attract attention to his products. He was born in Derry Township, Dauphin County, on September 13, 1857. After spending the first eight years of his life in Dauphin County, he lived 10 years in Lancaster...
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Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years

County histories, written in most cases during the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, serve as the starting point for most research in local history. Montgomery Coun­ty’s classic county history, by Theodore W. Bean, is no exception. History, however, did not stop as the final pages of that volume were written. Much has happened since. Just as the Centennial of our nation spurred...
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Pennsylvania Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1800-1950

The primary focus of this series of four articles is the architectural heritage of Pennsylvania through the past three centuries. However, in the context of history, architecture is neither an isolated creation nor an assured cultural resource for the future. As buildings ore the products of the interaction of many facets of a society, so. too, the preservation of architecture is the result of...
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Clearfield County: Land of Natural Resources

Clearfield County, believed named for the cleared fields found by early settlers in the area, belies its name; 83 percent of the county’s 1,143.5 square miles is still forested today. Its present timber, however, is second and third growth. Although its forest lands support some lumbering, the county’s economic life depends mostly upon coal and clay in­dustries and the manufacture of...
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The Erie Warner: From Movie Palace to Movie House to Civic Center

Once upon a time, brightly lit marquees of movie palaces of Pennsylvania’s streets dazzled the eyes of pleasure seekers. Today, the genre, described as possibly “the most dis­tinctly American contribution to archi­tectural history,” is all but extinct. And when a survivor is found, as on Erie’s State Street, the structure is a reminder of the gaudy and the phony, the...
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Iconographic Treasures at the Library Company of Philadelphia

In the summer of 1731, Benjamin Franklin later re­counted in his autobiography, “I set on foot my first Proj­ect of a public Nature, that for a Subscription Library.” He encouraged fifty subscribers to contribute forty shillings each for the purchase of books that were considered indispen­sable to colonial Americans, but were generally too expensive for any one individual alone to...
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Montgomery County: Cultural Microcosm of the Commonwealth

The third most populous county in Pennsylvania, with ap­proximately 480 square miles of rolling hills criss-crossed by rivers, streams and superhighways, Montgom­ery County is a microcosm of the Com­monwealth, a reflection of its cultural development. Pan of Philadelphia County until 1784, Montgomery Coun­ty served as a sanctuary for numerous ethnic and religious groups seeking the freedom...
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Siegmund Lubin: The Forgotten Filmmaker

In Philipsburg, the summer of 1914 ended with a crash that could be heard for miles and seen around the world. On the slopes of Centre County’s Collision Field, a stadium formed by nature, five thousand festive, flag-waving spectators gathered to watch the wrecking of two great Pittsburgh & Susquehanna Railroad locomotives. Bands entertained the Labor Day celebrants with musical...
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