More Than Decoration: Barn Stars Sustain the Spirit of Folk Tradition

The rungs of the extension ladder echoed across the hollow as the barn star painters prepared to ascend the facade of the barn to begin their third and final day of work. Carefully selecting their brushes and colors, the painters took their places 20 feet above the barnyard where they worked their magic. With rapid and calculated movements, they began applying the paint to the rough contours of...
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Editor’s Letter

History is revisited and revised not only because newly found or overlooked evidence is uncovered through the years but also because distance in time and transformations in society often call for a fresh outlook to provide context and meaning for readers today. The features in this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage are written by experts who have been involved in extensive research in their...
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Chicken and Waffles: The Pennsylvania Story

In his 1861 local-color novel The Young Parson, German Reformed minister Peter Seibert Davis (1828–92) described chicken and waffles as the “stereotypical” Sunday supper among the Pennsylvania Dutch. How this dish moved from a regional identity food into mainstream American cookery is indeed a complicated story, especially since chicken and waffles reached its height of popularity during the...
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The Easter Egg: A Flourishing Tradition in Pennsylvania

The hen cackled in the early morning light as the door of the chicken coup opened and the boy walked in with his basket. He had risen before dawn to help with the farmwork as usual. But on this most suspicious of days, Karfreidaag, or Good Friday, gathering the eggs was no mere ordinary task. As on all other mornings, the boy deftly reached under the clucking hens, soothing the birds with a few...
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Editor’s Letter

As part of our mission “to introduce readers to Pennsylvania’s rich culture and historic legacy,” we at Pennsylvania Heritage seek to connect the commonwealth’s past with what Pennsylvania is today or what it is anticipated to become in the future. In this effort, we strive to publish stories on a variety of subjects, some of which have been overlooked or underrepresented in history, that relate...
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Kutztown Folk Festival: America’s Oldest Folklife Celebration

The Kutztown Folk Festival, originally called the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival, is a milestone among American community celebrations. Observing 70 years in 2019, it is the first and longest-running folklife festival in the history of the United States. Although many other popular celebrations preceded the Kutztown festival, it has had a national impact as the first festival founded and...
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Editor’s Letter

Football, fine art, and festivals. Throughout the years, Pennsylvanians have received national acclaim in all three fields. Each has become a vital part of our shared heritage, engaging residents and representing the commonwealth’s rich and diverse culture. In this edition, you’ll find three outstanding features on prominent examples of these activities in the Keystone State. Football has been...
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Trailheads

History never truly sleeps on the Pennsylvania Trails of History, but winter is generally a slower season with reduced schedules and fewer programs and events. Charter Day, the celebration of Pennsylvania’s founding (the second Sunday in March), is the traditional start to our spring season. As the weather warms, activity increases at the sites and museums. The landscape loses its dull winter...
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Powwowing in Pennsylvania by Patrick J. Donmoyer

Powwowing in Pennsylvania Braucherei and the Ritual of Everyday Life by Patrick J. Donmoyer Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center/Masthof Press, 343 pp., cloth $45, paper $35 In Powwowing in Pennsylvania, author Donmoyer gives a fresh and comprehensive account of traditional ritual healing practices (largely) among the Pennsylvania Dutch. The book ties together years of solid research,...
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Celebrities Discover Who They Are at the Pennsylvania State Archives

Archivist Aaron McWilliams smiles and shifts his gaze toward the floor when asked about his brush with TV stardom. Every so often, a patron visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, where he works, will ask him what it was like to appear alongside veteran Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi on a 2011 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? a reality series in which...
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