Beaver’s Diary, Document and Lifesaver

The Pennsylvania State Archives has in its collection numerous diaries recording the personal experiences of prominent people in the state’s history. One of those diaries not only documented its owner’s life but also possibly saved it. James Addams Beaver (1837–1914), born in Millerstown, Perry County, was an attorney in Bellefonte, Centre County, who would serve as the 20th governor of...
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Sallie the Dog and the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers

The 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment originally entered service near the beginning of  the American Civil War on April 26, 1861, as a three-month unit. Later that year, many of its soldiers reenlisted in the three-year regiment. The men of the 11th were eventually classified as veteran volunteers; they fought at Falling Waters, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericks-...
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How They Served: Recovering the Experiences of Five Pennsylvanians in the American Civil War

Pennsylvania supplied approximately 362,000 soldiers to the Union effort in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. This was more than any other Northern state except New York. The Keystone State suffered the loss of 33,183 sons to death while in war service, and virtually every aspect of Pennsylvania society was affected by the pervasive nature of the great conflict and its staggering cost in terms of...
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Letter to Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin

Casualties in the American Civil War were enormous on both sides of the four-year conflict. Reuben Kemmerer (also spelled Kemerer), of Company I, 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, suffered wounds to his right hand during the Second Battle of Deep Bottom in August 1864. He was one of approximately 2,900 Union soldiers wounded in the engagement which took place in Henrico County, Virginia,...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Huntingdon County: Molding Character and Countians

When Philadelphia land speculator William Smith laid out the town of Huntingdon in 1767, it is possible that even then he saw its potential as a county seat. On the one hand, the idea seems preposterous: the area surrounding his prospective town was a wilderness accessi­ble only by a scanty network of undeveloped Indian paths. This unsettled part of Pennsyl­vania had been included in a vast...
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At the Gettysburg Battlefield with Traveling Photographers

  As Union and Confederate troops converged on the Adams County community of Gettysburg in mid-summer 1863 to wage what has been described the pivotal battle of the American Civil War, little did they know how long it would take for the rest of the world to discover the outcome. Of the five hundred journalists who covered the war, forty-five reported on the Battle of Gettysburg waged from...
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Bookshelf

Wonders of Work and Labor: The Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art by Betsy Fahlman and Eric Schruers published by Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and Art Gallery, 2009; 176 pages, cloth, $50.00 Mention Penn State and a few names immediately come to mind: Pattee Library, Happy Valley, the Blue Band, Berkey Creamery and, naturally, Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. What the average...
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