Reviving – and Revising – the Reputation of Ralph Elwood Brock

On May 31, 1966, D. S. Nace of the state Department of Forests and Waters, now the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), scrawled a note to Joe Hill of the Mont Alto Nursery, in Franklin County, and attached it to a stack of documents. “Might find something of interest in these. Don’t Destroy,” he cautioned. Those nine words ultimately proved to be an invaluable...
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Norvelt

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 drained Americans of their life savings and the resulting Great Depression hit rural southwestern Pennsylvania particularly hard. Industries collapsed and high unemployment struck the region’s bituminous coal workers. In 1934, the federal government and the AmericanFriends Service Committee, a Quaker social service organization founded in 1917 in Philadelphia,...
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WPA Diorama at State Museum of Pennsylvania

Under the auspices of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, specifically the Works Progress Administration (WPA), approximately one million objects for use as visual aids in the classroom had been produced by 1939 by Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Program (MEP). From 1935 to 1943, the MEP churned out costume plates, prints, lantern slides, architectural models, dioramas, puzzles, puppets,...
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From the Editor

What’s new for 2008? How about the New Deal? Or, more precisely, PHMC’s annual theme commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal in Pennsylvania. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a seemingly endless roster of economic relief agencies created in the 1930s to alleviate massive unemployment and widespread poverty in the wake of the Great Depression,...
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Executive Director’s Letter

In March 2008, Pennsylvania will once again mark the anniversary of the granting of the 1681 Charter to William Penn by England’s King Charles II for the land that became the colony and eventually the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will conduct Heritage Week activities from Friday through Sunday, March 7–16, to celebrate the Keystone...
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The Ring of the Nibelung Hand-Colored Plate

Many Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects initiated under FDR’s New Deal resulted in a long term legacy (see “An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s ‘Little New Deal'” by Kenneth C. Wolensky in this issue). This is particularly true with regard to the WPA materials contained in Record Group 13, Records of the...
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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...
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PHMC Highlights

To celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal, the PHMC created an attractive commemorative poster. Kathleen Alsvary of the Publications and Sales Division designed the poster and Bureau for Historic Preservation historian Kenneth C. Wolensky authored the historical context appearing on the reverse. Commemorating Pennsylvania’s role in the New Deal economic recovery programs during...
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Lost and Found

Lost Hailed as “America’s First Super-highway” when it opened in 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was one of the country’s largest projects facilitated by the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambitious program created to spur economic recovery during the Great Depression. In 1937, Governor George H. Earle III, architect of Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal,” created the Pennsylvania...
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New Deal Mural at Old Economy Village

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal in 1933 to alleviate massive unemployment, stimulate industrial recovery, and create economic growth in the wake of the Great Depression. His relief programs gave work to millions of unemployed Americans including not only construction workers and laborers, but also artists, musicians, and writers. A 1932 graduate of the Art Institute of...
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