Executive Director’s Letter

On Wednesday, March 19, Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan M. Corbett unveiled a portrait of Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671–1726) to hang in the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol with the Commonwealth’s early leaders and governors. This corrects an omission dating to the original furnishing of the Capitol in 1906. It also reflects the increasing scholarship about the proprietor’s...
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White Glove Service at The State Museum: It’s Not What You Might Think

Sometimes hands-on history projects require gloves. White cotton gloves, to be precise. In June 2012 three curators at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, donned gloves and began the first of an orderly series of planned inventories of the museum’s collections known as the Collections Advancement Project (CAP). By the end of summer three more curators joined the team and the...
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Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter

When Violet Oak­ley accepted the commission – and challenge – of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decorate the State Capitol then under con­struction in Harrisburg, she announced that the subject of her mural series would be “The Romance of the Found­ing of the State.” In 1902, the ardent lady mural painter, then twenty-eight years old and the only one of her kind,...
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Frederick J. Osterling and a Tale of Two Buildings

There was much to build in a growing industrial city like turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh, and many of the important architectural com­missions went to Frederick J. Osterling, a versatile designer, a respected businessman and a prominent – if occasionally controversial – architect. But when Osterling received that commission of which all archi­tects dream, it resulted in the sudden...
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Centre County

Centre County, as its name implies, geographically is Pennsylvania’s central county. The first known residents to inhabit its lands were the Munsee and Shawnee Indians from the Delaware River. Before 1725 these Indians began to move westward, first to the Susquehanna, later to the Ohio. The Iroquois, who claimed the Susquehanna country, assigned one of their chiefs – a man best known...
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The Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania

With some conspicuous exceptions, Pennsylvania was W largely on the outskirts of the scenes of Revolutionary War military operations. True, in December, 1776, Gen. George Washington brought the remnants of his retreating army from New Jersey into Pennsylvania, using the area in the vicinity of McKonkey’s Ferry as the jumping-off point for the Christmas-night crossing of the Delaware and...
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Currents

Chester County Centennial The Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, has marked its one hundredth anniversary by mounting an exhibition entitled “Presenting Your Past: A Centennial Celebration.” The exhibit highlights the extraordinary collections acquired by the historical society during its first century. Objects on view include significant pieces selected from the...
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A Capital Idea! A Brief and Bumpy History of Pennsylvania’s Capitols

A mere one hundred or so miles separate Philadelphia’s Chestnut and Harrisburg’s Third streets. But the path­ – metaphorically, at least­ – between the Keystone State’s first and final capitol build­ings seems far longer and rockier than geography suggests. From the Commonwealth’s earliest days, when the government met in Philadelphia’s elegant State...
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Bookshelf

Thomas Eakins edited by John Wilmerding Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994 (212 pages, cloth, $49.95) “Frank,” “brutal,” “raw,” “uncompro­mising,” “diabolically realistic,” and “manly” were terms once used to describe the work of Philadelphian Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), one of the greatest American painters of the...
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Executive Director’s Message

“Pennsylvania Memories Last a Lifetime.” A new tourism marketing campaign offers many opportunities and a new approach to call attention to the Keystone State’s rich and varied histori­cal and cultural assets. Pennsylvania’s amazing array of memorable places gives travelers a deeper appreciation of our national heritage while providing an enjoyable family experience. An...
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