Waging War Their Own Way: Women and the Civil War in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s recently conserved Civil War Muster Rolls, housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives, document the commonwealth’s contributions to the Union. Nearly 345,000 Pennsylvanians served in the U.S. Army during the war, or approximately 60 percent of the adult male population.1 A century and a half ago clerks carefully transcribed the names, ages, regiments, and brief...
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The 54th Mass. Infantry Regiment, US Colored Troops

Although its name might lead many to believe that the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT), was made up of African American soldiers from New England, the unit included a number of Pennsylvanians. In fact, forty-five of the recruits lived in Franklin County, and an additional thirteen joined the 55th Massachusetts, organized for the overflow from the 54th....
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Pioneering the Civil Rights Movement

Many individuals tend to overlook the political work championed by Black abolitionists during the second half of the nineteenth century. Instead, they celebrate slavery’s demise and then suddenly move on to the civil rights movement of the twentieth century, possibly unaware of what took place on the nation’s streets and in legislative offices and courtrooms from the 1860s through the 1890s. The...
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Bookshelf

Harmony in Wood: Furniture of the Harmony Society by Philip D. Zimmerman published by the Friends of Old Economy Village, 2010; 214 pages, cloth, $60.00 Creators of an immensely successful nineteenth-century utopian society, the Harmonists, led by George Rapp (1757–1847), emigrated from Germany and first settled Harmony in Butler County in 1804, moved west to Indiana ten years later where they...
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William Penn’s Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity

Alexander Milne Calder’s bronze statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall surveys the founder’s beloved Holy Experiment fashioned out of the ideals of his Quaker faith. In a seventeenth-century world conditioned by violence, religious persecution, and arbitrary authority, Penn established an unusual colony dedicated to the principles of religious toleration, participatory...
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Seneca Religious Ceremony Transcript

From the period of early contact of Native Americans with European settlers through the first half of the nineteenth century, little effort was made by most Americans of European descent to understand the religious beliefs and practices of the Native peoples. This began to change in 1855 when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem “Song of Hiawatha” captured the American imagination with a...
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Benjamin Franklin and His Religious Beliefs

Ezra Stiles (1727-1795), the Calvinist president of Yale College, was curious about Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and his faith. In 1790, he asked the nation’s senior statesman if he would commit his religious beliefs to paper. Franklin agreed. He was nearing the end of his life – he died six weeks later – and possibly believed this was as good a time as any to summarize the...
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Pennsylvania’s First State Geologist: Henry Darwin Rogers

Geology made Pennsylvania what it is today. The mining of anthracite and bituminous coal, the drilling for petroleum, and the production of iron and steel in the Commonwealth long drove the economy of the United States. Elucidating the history of the geological study of Pennsylvania is an integral part of comprehending its history. Henry Darwin Rogers (1808–1866), the first State Geologist of...
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