“From My Own Observation and Familiar Acquaintance”: Phebe Earle Gibbons Introduces the Pennsylvania Dutch to the World

  “It was on a Sunday morning in March, when the air was bleak and the roads were execrable, that I obtained a driver to escort me to the farm-house where an Amish meeting was to be held,” wrote Phebe Earle Gibbons (1821–93), describing a Lancaster County Amish religious gathering in the late 1860s. “The floors were bare, but on one of the open doors hung a long white towel,...
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Three Generations on the Underground Railroad: The Gibbons Family of Lancaster County

Shortly after sunset, a fugitive slave from Maryland tapped on a window of a modest farmhouse near Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. Daniel and Hannah Gibbons walked swiftly to the door. The Quaker couple escorted the young man to the barn to sleep and in the morning summoned him back to the house. If the fugitive’s owner was in close pursuit, they would send him to another farm. If there seemed to be...
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York County: A Most Treasured Land

Planted squarely above the Maryland border, the gigantic horse’s hoof, which is the out­ line of York County, covers an area of 914 square miles, supporting a popula­tion of 300,000. Its eastern contour is delineated by the “long, crooked” Sus­quehanna, its pastern cleanly cut off by Cumberland County on the north, its outer edge defined by Adams Coun­ty on the west. This...
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Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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The State Normal Schools: Teaching Teachers and Others

In view of their complex, if not complicated, information systems, computers and advanced technology seemingly snatched from the next century, Pennsylvania’s “modern” state universities evolved from what were originally called “normal” schools. During the last century, both educational and social traditions have changed drastically; in fact, nineteenth century...
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Adams County: Tranquility Regained

One of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, both in size and population, Adams County developed much the same as similar settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. Its growth during the past two and a half centu­ries has been governed by its own particular circumstances, including location, terrain, soil, climate, vegetation, min­eral resources and the accom­plishments of the immigrants and...
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Letters to the Editor

Homestead Revisited Thank you for the contribution by Brent D. Glass in the winter 1992 issue, “‘The Public is Enti­tled to Know’: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick.” Many Pittsburgh resi­dents with three generations of local family knew that his reputation was built on the backs of coal miners and steel workers whose wretched lives he ignored. An...
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Thaddeus Stevens, Equality of Man Before the Creator

In his thirty-five year legislative career, Thaddeus Stevens garnered several reputations. Ex-Confederates called him “the scourge of the South,” an epithet which survived into the twentieth century. In D. W. Griffith’s classic film Birth of a Nation, character Austin Stoneman is unabashedly modeled on Thaddeus Stevens, complete with clubfoot and wig. For his en­deavors to...
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Bookshelf

Saved for the People of Pennsylvania: Quilts from The State Museum of Pennsylvania by Lucinda Reddington Cawley, Lorraine DeAngelis Ezbiansky, and Denise Rocheleau Nordberg Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997 ($14.95, paper, 67 pages) Since its founding in 1905, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has collected nearly two million artifacts and objects which docu­ment and interpret...
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Bedford Springs Hotel

This surely is a wonderful place to rest,” wrote an unidentified Laura to a Mrs. C. Brown Jr., of Charleroi, Washington County, on a postcard of the Bedford Springs Hotel postmarked June 28, 1928. “Wish Doc could stay forever,” she continued. “He feels a lot better.” Located one mile south of Bedford, Bedford County seat, Bedford Springs attracted attention as early...
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