“The Not So Good Old Days”: Disease and the Struggle for Public Health in Pennsylvania

In 1930 A. J. Bohl was proud to work in the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). After 25 years there, he wrote an article in Pennsylvania’s Health in which he recalled growing up in the 1880s, when disease and illness ravaged the state. “There wasn’t much attention paid to the communicable diseases. Everybody, as a matter of course, had measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps, and...
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Untouched by the Conflict, edited by Jonathan W. White and Daniel Glenn

Untouched by the Conflict: The Civil War Letters of  Singleton Ashenfelter, Dickinson College edited by Jonathan W. White and Daniel Glenn Kent State University Press, 142 pp., hardcover $29 The title of this unique collection of Civil War letters draws from an influential work of modern scholarship. The editors observe in their introduction that it was social historian J. Matthew Gallman who...
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Pennsylvania Governors Residences Open to the Public

Pennypacker Mills Pennypacker Mills possesses a lengthy history dating to about 1720 when Hans Jost Hite built the fieldstone house and a gristmill near the Perkiomen Creek, Schwenksville, Montgomery County. Purchased in 1747 by Peter Pennypacker (1710-1770), the house was enlarged and a saw mill and a fulling mill were constructed. The property acquired its name for the three mills. Peter...
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Uncle Jerry and the Great Allentown Fair

Described as an “enterprising Pennsylvania Dutchman” by Governor Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, the Honorable Jeremiah Roth (1833–1907) was best known as the father of the Great Allentown Fair. Though he was not a founding member of the fair, “Uncle Jerry,” as most people affectionately called him, worked tirelessly during the 23 years he was at its helm to ensure its success and promote its...
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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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From the Editor

The beginning of a new year entices us to look back upon the previous year and contemplate our progress, taking into account both successes and failures. But 2014 is even more significant for Pennsylvania Heritage and its loyal readers. With this edition we mark the magazine’s 40th anniversary. That’s 157 editions filled with, as we like to say, “everything Pennsylvania.”...
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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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Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
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Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: Statehouses and Capitols

Through the three centuries of Pennsylvania’s history, the build­ings that always have been both the functional and symbolic heart of the Commonwealth have been the seats of government. These statehouses and capitols bespeak much about the governmental structure and social ideals of the respective ages which created them. Indeed, the very change of nomenclature from statehouse to capitol...
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Ship’s Silver Shines in State Museum

The custom whereby a state presented a silver service to the U.S. Navy battleship bearing its name is commemorated by a major exhibit, “The U.S.S. Pennsylvania and Her Silver,” which opened at the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harrisburg on September 26, 1981 and will remain in place through July 11, 1982 (see “Silver Service Set for William Penn Memorial Museum...
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