Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years

County histories, written in most cases during the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, serve as the starting point for most research in local history. Montgomery Coun­ty’s classic county history, by Theodore W. Bean, is no exception. History, however, did not stop as the final pages of that volume were written. Much has happened since. Just as the Centennial of our nation spurred...
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Preserving Yesterday’s Life for Tomorrow

Historic preservation has taken on a new dimension in Bedford County. Old Bedford Village, just off the Pennsylvania Turn­pike at Bedford Exit 11, is a nonprofit venture helping to preserve the history AND economy of this central Pennsyl­vania county. Bedford County as it exists today, is bounded on the south by the Mason­-Dixon Line, on the west, north and east by Somerset, Cambria, Blair,...
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Evolution of a Preservation Agency: Centre County’s Historic Registration Project

The commemoration of America’s Bicentennial gave birth to numerous community-minded pursuits during its nationwide celebra­tion. Although many of these special endeavors were shelved when the year was over, the administrators of one at least. the Historic Registration Project in Centre County. realized that their work had just begun. Now, four years later, this unique organization is still...
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Women in Pennsylvania … The First Two Hundred Years

In the past two hundred years thousands of women have contributed significantly to the social, economic, political and cultural richness of Pennsylvania. An encyclopedia could barely sketch their contributions. Since this article cannot possibly present a complete picture of women’s history in our state, it will survey the changes in women’s roles with brief accounts of a few famous...
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Historic Sites of the Revolution

Pennsylvania is unusually rich in historic sites associated with the American Struggle for nationhood two centuries ago. The Bicentennial observance under­scores the importance of this treasury of the state’s historic heritage. The deep involvement of Pennsylvania people and land in the Revolutionary War is reflected by these historic sites maintained by government as well as organizations...
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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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The French and Indian War and the Revolution

If in spite of all the Bicentennial reminders the Revolutionary War seems somewhat far away, the French and Indian War must seem so much more remote as to be irrelevant. The familiar Pennsylvania events of the Revolution – the battles of Brandywine and German­town, the Valley Forge encampment, the Declaration of Independence – took place in the settled parts of the State, the battles...
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Postcards Can Be Valuable

William E. Stewart of Arnold, Pennsylvania, may have one of the largest collection of postcards in America. And, in addition, he has a wealth of information on what the cards depict. The postcard originated in Austria in the 1860’s with a young professor. Dr. Emmanuel Herman. The first official postal card appeared on October 1, 1869. Soon Germany and Great Britain introduced similar...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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A New Look at the Pennsylvania Continental Soldier

The Bicentennial’s focus on pageantry and commemoration has given us a clear image of what the Pennsyl­vania Continental soldier looked like – at least, at his best. But who was this keen-eyed, square-jawed stalwart, dressed in fringed hunting shirt and leggings, or sporting smart blue regimentals with red facings and gleaming white small-clothes? Where did he come from? What was his...
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