Forester Gifford Pinchot Becomes Governor, 100 Years Ago

Gifford Pinchot (1865–1946) was elected twice to the highest executive office in Pennsylvania. He served two nonconsecutive terms as governor, 1923–27 and 1931– 35. This photograph was taken at his first inauguration on January 16, 1923, by the Philadelphia Public Ledger, a daily newspaper published from 1836 to 1942. The image shows Pinchot taking his oath of office on a temporary raised dais...
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From the Executive Director

When I talk with others about the new Pennsylvania State Archives building that is being constructed in Harrisburg, the most frequent follow-up question I get is, “So what is happening with the old archives building?” I must admit that for many the 1964 building is a love it or hate it resource. The sleek State Archives tower, with its companion drum-shaped State Museum of Pennsylvania, is a...
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Projecting History: Lantern Slides at the Pennsylvania State Archives

  Before digital projectors and PowerPoint, before the carousel slide or 35mm film strips, and before the overhead, there was the lantern slide. A simple method of projecting images onto a large space, lantern slides were a technological marvel that revolutionized home entertainment, education and photography in Pennsylvania and beyond. Lantern slides, often called “magic lantern slides,”...
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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: 300 Years of the Highest Court in the Commonwealth

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was established on May 22, 1722, in Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester counties, 67 years before the United States Supreme Court came into existence. It is the oldest appellate court in the nation. Its status became official as part of the Judiciary Act of 1722, separating it from the control of the royal governor. The act made significant progress in establishing...
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The Legacy of George Way

On February 2 this year, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. We’ll know soon whether or not he was correct. But regardless of the weather, this is the time of year that we mark the anniversary of Pennsylvania’s founding. In March 1681 King Charles II of England granted land on the east coast of North America to William Penn as repayment for funds...
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Pennsylvania’s Buckshot War of 1838

  Protesting election results in the United States is nothing new. Neither is storming a capitol building when results are contested. In 1838, only 55 years after the Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War, armed opponents confronted each other at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. Accusations had flown for days previously about which candidates should be seated in...
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Protection from Trotter Head

The document pictured here bears the following inscription: “Trotter Head, I forbid thee my house and premises. I forbid thee my horse and cow-stable, I forbid thee my bedstead, that thou mayest not breathe upon me; breathe into some other house, until thou hast ascended every hill, until thou hast counted every fencepost, and until thou hast crossed every water. And thus dear day may come again...
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A Portrait of Black Philadelphia in the 1930s

In 1938 William Strong and a companion named Egan spent months crisscrossing Philadelphia. Their mission was to photograph the city’s Black community, its culture, and its history. In February, they snapped students socializing in the Berean Manual Training and Industrial School’s cafeteria and energetic children playing instruments at the Wharton Centre settlement house. That April, they...
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William Logan Comments on William Pitt and the Stamp Act of 1765

The Stamp Act was passed by British Parliament on March 22, 1765. It was levied to help pay for debt caused by the stationing of British troops in America during the French and Indian War, the North American conflict in the global Seven Years’ War (1756–63) between France and Great Britain. The act was to take effect on November 1, 1765. It was a direct tax imposed by the British on the American...
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The Longest Walk in Pennsylvania

  In the summer of 1978, cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike slowed as they carefully drove past a procession of American Indians walking along the superhighway. The group, closely packed into the road’s shoulder, carried colorful banners and a sacred pipe. Some beat drums and chanted prayers for peace as they marched ahead. As these marchers continued across Pennsylvania, they were joined by...
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