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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ENIAC, the First All-Purpose Digital Computer

Seventy-five years ago, in February 1946, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer — ENIAC — was publicly demonstrated as the world’s first large-scale general-purpose digital computer. It was designed by John Mauchly (1907–80) and J. Presper Eckert (1919–95) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering in Philadelphia. Research began during World War II in...
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From the Executive Director

Although PHMC does not actively install historical monuments across the commonwealth, our Pennsylvania Historical Markers serve a similar purpose. Begun in 1914 and “updated” in 1946 with the advent of the blue-and-yellow, pole-mounted roadside plates, the markers represent an extraordinary public historiography (see “A Century of Marking History,” Fall 2014). They teach us not only about what...
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Tommy Loughran, Boxing’s “Philly Phantom”

The sport of boxing emerged in America in the 1800s, and by the early 20th century it had become one of the country’s most popular spectator sports. Philadelphia was a leading center of boxing at the time, and many of the best fighters hailed from the city. Thomas Patrick “Tommy” Loughran (1902–82) was born in Philadelphia to Irish Catholic immigrants during the heyday of boxing. He began in the...
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Barbara Gittings, Activist for LGBTQ Equality

Barbara Gittings was one of the leading activists for LGBTQ equality, from the early years of the gay rights movement in the late 1950s until her death in 2007. Born in Austria in 1932 and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, she grew up feeling disconnected from her peers in a time when homosexuality was taboo in American society. She attended college in Chicago where she was called a lesbian. When...
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Pine Grove Furnace POW Interrogation Camp

Located near Pine Grove Furnace within the state park of the same name in Cooke Township, Cumberland County, a 200-acre plot of land was the site of a unique sequence of historical events over the past 225 years. In the mid-18th century, iron ore was discovered along nearby Mountain Creek, which led to the development of Pine Grove Iron Works, a large-scale iron mining and pig iron production...
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High on a Mountain: Pennsylvania’s Legacy of Country Music

In 1607 Great Britain commenced the establishment of two colonial plantations. One of these was Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America. The other was much closer to home. The Ulster plantation was formed in the nine northern counties of Ireland. The goal of the colony was, in part, to extend British and Anglican hegemony over the Catholic and...
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Daisy E. Lampkin: Activist for Racial and Gender Equality

Daisy E. Lampkin (1883–1965) dedicated her life to advancing the rights of  women and African Americans in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. Born Daisy Elizabeth Adams in Washington, D.C., she spent her childhood in Reading, Berks County, before moving to Pittsburgh in 1909 and marrying restauranteur William Lampkin in 1912. She began her public career at the height of...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Winter 2019 Newsletter: Mammal Hall Reopens at The State Museum of Pennsylvania You Can Help Preserve Pennsylvania’s History PHF Accepts Gift of Property Join the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation  ...
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Anna Howard Shaw, Suffragist

Anna Howard Shaw was an early activist and leader of the women’s suffrage and temperance movements. From the 1880s until the time of her death in 1919, she campaigned across America at the grassroots level for these causes and was noted for her compelling lectures. Born in England in 1847, Shaw moved with her family to America in 1851. The family first settled in Massachusetts until 1859 and...
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