Breaking Down Barriers

In the summer of 1957, William and Daisy Myers and their three children moved from their house near Philadelphia to the post-World War II development of Levittown, some twenty miles northeast of the city. Like millions of American families in the 1950s, they were seeking the highly touted amenities of suburban living (see “Picture Window Par­adise: Welcome to Levittown!” by Curtis...
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Keeping the Torch of Justice Burning Brightly: William P. Young

He faced criticism at his appointment, confronted adversity in his duties, and battled poor health in his later years, but he kept the torch of justice burning brightly for all to see, maintaining his dignity and poise at every turn. He was William Pennington Young (1895-1968), the Keystone State’s fifteenth secretary of labor and industry, from 1963 to 1967, during the administration of...
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Documenting Everyday Life in Pennsylvania During the Great Depression and World War II

The documentary photography project initiated by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1935 was an unprecedented experiment in the history of photography, and it remains a monument to a collective effort that will never be equaled-the recording of an entire nation, from the city and town to the farm, from the home to the factory, from work to leisure, from school to church, from the baseball...
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The Watering of Philadelphia

In the glory days of the early republic, the Fairmount Water Works was one Philadelphia’s most famous landmarks: a marvel of engineering, scenic beauty, stylish design, and civic mindedness. It was built for the most practical of purposes – to provide a clean and plentiful supply of that most essential elixir: fresh water. Today, Philadelphian’s are blessed with one of the best...
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PHMC Highlights

The orientation video at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg, Centre County, recently garnered two prestigious national awards. Answering the Call: Pennsylvanians in Service to the Nation won a Telly Award in the twenty-seventh annual competition conducted in 2006, and first place in the National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Award for exceptional...
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Bookshelf

At Work in Penn’s Woods: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Pennsylvania By Joseph M. Speakman Penn State University Press, 2006; 237 pages, cloth, $37.50 The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the most popular relief programs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. During the nine years of the program, from 1933 to 1942, more than two and one-half million unemployed young...
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Frank Rizzo: Philadelphia’s Tough Cop Turned Mayor

On Saturday night, August 29, 1970, unknown assailants shot to death Philadelphia police sergeant Frank Von Colln while stationed in a small guardhouse in the Cobbs Creek section of the city’s expansive Fairmount Park. No one witnessed the killing, but police suspected that it was the work of the Black Panther Party, an African American revolutionary organization that endorsed violence as a...
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Bookshelf

Sweet William: The Life of Billy Conn by Andrew O’Toole published by the University of Illinois Press, 2008; 253 pages, cloth, $32.95 An Irish working-class hero of Pittsburgh, William David “Billy” Conn (1917–1993) captured the hearts of his contemporaries with his stellar boxing record, ebullient personality, and good looks. A lightweight boxing champion, Conn had defeated nine current or...
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Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices

On a February morning in 1937, artist George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) and a group of four men met at the post office in Selinsgrove, Snyder County. Armed with cloth-covered rolling pins, the men attached Rickey’s mural entitled Susquehanna Trail to one of the lobby’s end walls. After six hours, they transformed the entire blank white wall, from marble wainscoting to ceiling, into a...
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Black Settlement on Yellow Hill

Anyone who has ever read about the Battle of Gettysburg or visited the historic American Civil War battlefield undoubtedly learned about the generals, the courageous soldiers who fought in the grisly three-day encounter, and the thousands that lost their lives on that hallowed ground in Adams County. The stories of the famous engagements that took place at Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, and the...
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