Remembering TMI 40 Years Later

In late March 1979, south-central Pennsylvanians were startled to learn of an accident that had occurred at Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in the Susquehanna River near Middletown, Dauphin County. In my own experience, the initial news came to me at Dallastown Elementary School in York County after a teacher shouted out to my fifth-grade class to come back inside the school building...
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Executive Director’s Letter

In January I enjoyed my first opportunity to spend several hours modestly researching at the Pennsylvania State Archives. I donned white cotton gloves and searched through many boxes of postcards looking for images that would reveal to our visitors the Commonwealth’s rich diversity with minimal need for words or labels. This collection, Manuscript Group 213, spanning from the 19th century to the...
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Setting the Standard for Others

With a rich heritage rooted in colonial military formations – such as the forces furnished in 1740 for a disastrous English expe­dition against Cartagena, Spain’s principal seaport in South America, and Benjamin Franklin’s ten thousand mem­ber military Association, estab­lished in 1747 – the 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is the...
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A Voice in the Wilderness

In his book Henry Wallace, Harry Truman, and the Cold War, journalist-historian Richard J. Walton singled out one letter to exemplify the many messages received by Wallace in March 1947 after his speech criticizing the declaration of the “Truman Doctrine.” The letter was written by Josiah William Gitt, publisher of The Gazette and Daily in York, which would, the following year,...
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Executive Director’s Message

TMI. Even after twenty years, mere mention of these three letters triggers an immediate response from anyone who lived through the harrowing week beginning Wednesday, March 28, 1979, when the entire world held its collective breath and contemplated the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe. The accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg is one of the defining events in twentieth-century...
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Letters to the Editor

Three Mile Island Brent D. Glass’s column [“Executive Director’s Message,” Spring 1999] on Three Mile Island (TMI) brought back many memories. I was a young, enthusiastic Westinghouse Nuclear Energy Systems employee based near Pittsburgh at the time of the accident. I had the opportunity of being sent by Westinghouse to TMI as part of the repair and recovery crew. I spent...
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Memories of a Crisis

Living and working in Hummelstown, only five miles from Middletown, the home of Three Mile Island (TMI) and it nuclear power plant, I listened anxiously as the radio announcer warned of a radiation emission or leak from the plant (see “From Chaos to Calm: Remembering the Three Mile Island Crisis, An Interview with Harold Denton” by Kenneth C. Wolensky, Spring 2000). Windows were to...
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From Chaos to Calm: Remembering the Three Mile Island Crisis, An Interview With Harold Denton

Thursday, March 28, 1979, is a day forever etched in the memory of most Pennsylvanians and, indeed, many Americans. During the pre-dawn hours, events swiftly unfolded at a nuclear power plant on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg that would lead to the worst commercial nuclear accident in the nation’s history. In the days that followed, Three Mile Island (TMI)...
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Letters to the Editor

Bridge It I noticed what appears to be an error in a photo caption in the article on Pennsylva­nia’s bridges [“Bridging the Past for the Future” by Eric DeLony, Winter 2000]. On page 14, in reference to the third picture in the center of the page, the caption indicates “Sharon Bridge, Mercer County, submerged by flood waters in March 1913.” The Sharon bridge in this...
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Documents from the Three Mile Island Crisis

In late March 1979, the nation ex­perienced its worst commercial nuclear accident as a result of techni­cal malfunctions and operator error at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear generating station near Harrisburg. The crisis, which began on Wednes­day, March 28, lasted for several days and prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents. The accident and reaction to it are well docu­mented in...
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