1918’s Deadliest Killer: The Flu Pandemic Hits Pennsylvania

I had a little bird, Its name was Enza. I opened the window, And in-flu-enza. —Children’s rhyme, 1918 The year 1918 was arguably one of the darkest in modern times and the deadliest ever recorded in human history. Much of Europe was locked in a hideous, relentless military struggle that had dragged on for three years, killing millions of soldiers and bankrupting its governments. Famine stalked...
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Mystery of the Monongahela Culture: Archaeology at Foley Farm

In 1939, anthropologist Mary Butler identified and formally named the Monongahela Woodland Culture, a prehistoric Indian way of life centered in the Monongahela Valley of south­western Pennsylvania, west­ern Maryland and parts of northern West Virginia. Dr. Butler’s reasons for naming this prehistoric Indian culture were, in part, based on ar­chaeological investigations sponsored by the...
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Spain’s Diplomats in Philadelphia

When, on July 2, 1776, the Congress at Philadelphia voted for independence, Spain adopted toward the British Colonies an attitude that could be described today as “recognition of billigerency,” until the Spanish Crown declared war on Great Britain in June, 1779. Although at the beginning of the Revolution there were no formal relations between the two countries, Spain not only...
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The Soulful and Sultry Miss Ethel Waters

Much of Ethel Waters’ success as a popular twentieth-century entertainer has been credited to the rather simple fact she, in her own words, never forgot who she was and where she came from. She achieved renown as blues singer, theater and film actress, and best selling author. She also emerged as a role model, if not icon, for several decades of African American women. And she accomplished...
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1876 Centennial Craze Sweeps into Philadelphia!

This spring marks the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the International Exhibition of Art, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, better known as the Centennial International Exhibition, staged to mark the one hundredth anniversary of American independence. Opening Day, Wednesday, May 10, 1876, welcome more than one hundred thousand visitors, and by closing day,...
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George Gordon Meade (1815-1872)

General George Gordon Meade (1815–1872) may be best known as the commander of the victorious Army of the Potomac that defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Meade was born in Cadiz, Spain, the eighth of eleven children. His father, Richard Worsam Meade (1778–1828), a native of Chester County, was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant serving the...
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Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

Fallingwater, designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, is an American icon, acknowledged worldwide as an architectural masterpiece. Situated above a waterfall on Bear Run, a mountain stream the Kaufmanns loved, at Mill Run in Fayette County, Fallingwater helped define twentieth-century modernism. Upon its completion, the Kaufmann commission became...
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Cyclorama Building

A landmark among the approximately 1,328 monuments, memorials, and markers at Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) since its dedication on November 19, 1962, the ninety-ninth anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Cyclorama Building was designed by architects Richard Neutra (1892–1970) and Robert E. Alexander (1907–1992). Neutra moved to the United States in 1923...
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Harnessing the Power of the Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source

Much like the oil farms of the last century were for drillers and riggers, Pennsylvania’s wind farms are proving grounds for engineers and technicians as they harness wind power. The long-standing use of wind power that for centuries propelled sailing vessels has been transformed throughout the world to produce electricity. Farmers used wind power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth...
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A Trio of Philadelphia Maritime Painters

Oceans and seas have long challenged civilization’s adventurous spirit. Sailors and their ships have struggled against billowing winds and sweeping tides, as well as fires, piracy, collisions, and warfare. All of this has been celebrated in story and song — and in works of art. Artists of the day captured both the beauty and the rigors of those wonderful ships in their coveted canvases. Three of...
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