John William Heisman, Football Innovator

John William Heisman (1869–1936) was an athlete turned college sports coach who became one of football’s greatest innovators. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Heisman grew up near Titusville, Crawford County, in northwestern Pennsylvania. He played football at Titusville High School and then at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He received a law degree but, diverted by an eye injury,...
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Dr. Edward H. McCleery, Savior of the Lobo Wolves

Edward H. McCleery (1867–1962) was a physician from Kane, McKean County, who saved the lobo wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, from extinction. While McCleery was a student at Princeton University, he was inspired by a speech given by future president Theodore Roosevelt about his experiences living in the western United States. McCleery then spent several months in Canada’s Yukon territory...
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Susquehanna County: A Touch of New England, 1869-1927

Susquehanna County, one of several counties formed from territory originally claimed by both Connecticut and Pennsylvania, reflects a blend of New England and Pennsylvania traditions. Although the land would remain part of Pennsylvania, the majority of pioneer settlers to this northern tier region were actually from Connecticut and other New England states. It was not until 1787, however, that...
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Germantown: Gateway to the New World

We went on board the Concord at Gravesend, the 24th, 5th month, and after we lost sight of England, which was in about three weeks time, we were forty-nine days before we saw land in America, and the 1st 8th month, some of us went ashore in Pennsylvania. The blessing of the Lord did attend us, so we had a very comfortable passage, and had our health all the way. With these words James Claypoole...
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Aeronauts to Aviators: Pennsylvanians and Flight, 1784-1950

Millions of us have used the airplane to earn a living, to travel from place to place or simply to amuse ourselves. Among twentieth-century innovations, the airplane has most dramatically changed the way we think about time and distance; people now consider transcontinental or transoceanic journeys in terms of hours rather than days or weeks. The airplane is a familiar technology. Yet historians...
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Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
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“The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened to Us Country People”

On a Halloween night early in the 1930s, a barn caught fire a few miles from Corry, Erie County. A passer by, Harry Burrows, hurriedly tied his horse and ran to help free the trapped animals. In the excitement no one noticed that the farm’s hired man was missing, but later they learned that his kerosene lantern was the cul­prit in starting the fire. “Some time, some way, he knocked...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Politician: Cornelia Bryce Pinchot (1881-1960)

On May 5, 1933, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a chauffeured limousine arrived at a textile factory. From inside the car emerged a tall, slender, red-haired woman whose bearing indicated social standing and purposeful self-confidence. De­spite a steady rain, the lady joined a picket line made up of girls from thirteen to eighteen years of age who had struck in protest of working conditions they...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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A Grande Dame Named William Penn

A hotel is more than a place where people seek shelter, conduct business, entertain, work, play, make friends, and, perhaps, fall in love. It is so much more. It is a stage on which both small and large dramas of daily life are played out – where individuals celebrate the important occa­sions of their lives or where they may seek solitude. While all hotels are interest­ing places, a grand...
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