Bookshelf

J. Horace McFarland: A Thorn for Beauty by Ernest Morrison Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1995 (393 pages, cloth, $19.95) Three-quarters of a century ago, his was a name known throughout the na­tion. To some, he was ordained the “High Priest of the Rose.” To others, he was christened the “Father of the National Park Service.” And to even more, he was...
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A Jewel in the Crown of Old King Coal: Eckley Miners’ Village

It survives – somewhat miraculously – as a vestige of Pennsylvania’s coal mining heritage, a link in what was once a chain of little coal communities, or patch towns, that dotted the anthracite region. “Eckley is part of the puzzle, but not a unique part. There were numerous, almost identical, mining patch towns like Eckley,” explains Vance Packard, site...
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Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat

Wearing a straw boater, he rode in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, and forlornly surveyed the pick­eting miners who blocked the lane leading into the village of St. Benedict in Cambria County. He sig­naled his manservant – serving now as bodyguard and chauffeur as well – to proceed through the human blockade. Angry strikers taunted them, shouting obscenities, as they drove up the...
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Letters to the Editor

A Joyous Occasion The article “Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat” [by Barry P. Michrina, Spring 1997] covered the subject well, but with one exception-the now nonexistent town of Peale. My husband, William C. Lovell, was born there in 1899, as were his three younger sisters. Author Kyle Crichton was also born in Peale, and in his book Total Recoil, published by Doubleday and...
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Life on the Lehigh Canal: An Interview with Richard Arner

Sitting astride his horse, Josiah White peered intently into the Lehigh River, hoping to foresee the future in its swirling, icy waters. It was the winter of 1817. White, a Philadelphia merchant and iron worker with a genius for invention, with his partner Erskine Hazard, had recently solved the riddle of how to successfully burn anthracite in an iron furnace. Although their answer – which...
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Bookshelf

The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin by Joseph P. Eckhardt Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998. (286 pages, cloth, $55.00) That immigrant Jews exerted a profound impact on the growth of American cinema is well known and has been the subject of considerable scholarship. However, the country’s first Jewish movie mogul, Siegmund “Pop” Lubin (1851-1923) of...
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Executive Director’s Message

Remembering the twentieth century has become a preoccupation bordering on obsession. As the lists of greatest moments and most important people grows daily, I am equally intrigued not only by what we choose to recall but the way in which we decide to commemorate the past. Over the past one hundred years Pennsylvanians have remembered their history by constructing a stunning array of statues,...
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The UMWA Wins America’s Approval: John Mitchell and the Anthracite Strike of 1902

Labor leader John Mitchell’s reputation seemed to precede him no matter where he traveled during the summer of 1902. Coal miners throughout northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region referred to the boyish-looking thirty-two-year-old president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) as their beloved “Johnny d’Mitch.” His photograph hung in their homes beside...
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Living for Reform

For too long, Joseph A. Yablonski (1910-1969) – known to most simply as Jock – had seen things go wrong in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), once a respected labor union. He had served in its hierarchy but with an increasingly troubled conscience. What mattered to him most was that things had to change and he had to lead the charge to change them. He ardently believed that...
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Visiting the Museum of Anthracite Mining: A Walk Through the Rise and Fall of Anthracite Might

One of Pennsylvania’s most significant resources was once considered useless. Although anthracite was distinguished as a natural resource as early as 1770, the sale of “stone coal” – as it was then called – was outlawed in some places. Many believed that anthracite (or “hard” coal) was little better than slate and would not burn. Eventually, however, a...
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