Editor’s Letter

Welcome to the first issue of the 45th volume of Pennsylvania Heritage. Since the publication of the premiere edition of December 1974, more than 750 features on Pennsylvania history, culture and natural history by leading authors in their fields, as well as hundreds of columns and news items, have been printed in our quarterly magazine. In this anniversary edition we continue our tradition of...
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From the Executive Director

As the state’s history agency, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission holds historic objects and documents in trust for the people of Pennsylvania. The breadth of these collections is staggering. Within the Pennsylvania State Archives, we preserve some of the oldest documents in the state, such as William Penn’s 1681 Charter, the 1682 Great Law of Pennsylvania, and 33 deeds starting...
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“Restless Progress in America”: Drawing the Mason-Dixon Line

“When I found I had crossed that line,” recalled Harriet Tubman, “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything . . . I felt like I was in Heaven.” Such was the power of the Mason-Dixon Line. Within 75 years of its completion to resolve an eight-decade-long dispute between two colonial proprietors, a boundary line drawn in the 1760s by two English...
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Representing Pennsylvania’s “Precious Heritage”: Art of the State 50

Art of the State is an annual juried exhibition that has been showcasing the work of Pennsylvania’s artists at The State Museum of Pennsylvania since 1968. The body of art that has been exhibited reflects half a century of creative endeavor in the Keystone State. Through the years, exhibitors have shared their ideas and engaged viewers in the categories of painting, photography, craft,...
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The Oshnock Archaeology Collection

Archaeologists at The State Museum of Pennsylvania plan to spend this summer entering thousands of Native American artifacts collected from western Pennsylvania into a database that will organize the objects according to specific sites and locations. It’s a lot of work, but not nearly as much as curators typically tackle when inventorying similar collections, thanks to the brothers...
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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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From the Executive Director

As a trained historian who has devoted his life to the preservation and teaching of American history, I am embarrassed to admit how little I knew about my own family’s history—only a few bits and pieces passed down from my parents. I was told that our family settled in the old Northwest Territory before Ohio became a state in 1803 and that some of my ancestors came from Pennsylvania. I...
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Digging Deep: 50 Years of Preservation Archaeology in Pennsylvania

On a lovely morning in early autumn, I arrive at an old farm along the Susquehanna River to find Dr. Frank Vento in his natural element. That is to say, he is squatting down at the bottom of a backhoe trench some 8 feet deep, carefully examining the many layers of flood-deposited sediment left behind by the great river. Frank, recently retired from the faculty at Clarion University, is a...
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Shawnee-Minisink Archaeological Site

The Shawnee-Minisink site in Monroe County contains some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in eastern North America, carbon-14 dated to around 11,000 BCE. While other sites from the Paleoindian period have been found, very few have been undisturbed. Buried beneath nearly 8 feet of sediment, the archaeological deposits of Shawnee-Minisink remained protected for ages. Archaeologists...
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Historic Districts in Pennsylvania: An Evolving Sense of Place

Jim Thorpe, originally named Mauch Chunk, is a small and picturesque borough of well-preserved 19th-century buildings perched on the side of a mountain along the Lehigh River in Carbon County. It once served as an important railroad and coal shipping center. As these industries waned in the 20th century, the town sought new economic purpose by marketing its scenic appeal as the “Switzerland of...
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