Bookshelf

Charles Sheeler in Doylestown: American Modernism and the Pennsylvania Tradition by Karen Lucic Allentown Art Museum, 1997 (120 pages, paper, $30.00) This remarkable book traces the development of artist Charles Sheeler’s modernist treatment of a highly familiar theme, the Bucks County barn. Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) was born in Philadelphia and as a young man lived in the Bucks County...
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Wealth, Waste, and Alienation: Growth and Decline in the Connellsville Coke Industry By Kenneth Warren University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 (297 pages, cloth, $30.00) In less than three-quarters of a century, the Connellsville coke industry, situated in southwestern Pennsylvania, mushroomed from slight beginnings into a key supplier essential to the iron and steel industries. It then fell victim...
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Bookshelf

Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation By Kenneth Warren University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 (405 pages, cloth, $32.00) At its formation a century ago, in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was the world’s largest industrial organization. Within its first year, the company was producing two-thirds of America’s raw steel, and soon supported the...
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Letters to the Editor

Dreams Do Come True I enjoyed the update about The Dream Garden, the Maxfield Parrish mural installed at the Curtis Building in Philadelphia [see “Executive Director’s Message,” Fall 2001]. We can only hope that it will be saved for Philadelphians. I had heard that Parrish created another mural for the employee cafeteria, which was, I believe, located near the top of the...
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The 1948 Donora Smog

As early as 1881, the cities of Chicago, Illinois, and Cincinnati, Ohio, had passed laws in attempts to control several types of pollution. Air pollution, however, remained an uncontrolled, unrecognized health hazard until tragedies in the twentieth century demonstrated its lethal effects. In 1930, smog covering the Meuse River Valley in Belgium sent sixty people to their graves, and in 1952...
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Picture Window Paradise – Welcome to Levittown

“To the outsider, Levittown, Pennsylvania, seems like a vast mirage, a city of 4,000 spanking new ranch homes where a short year ago were acres of corn and wheat … ” Ladies Home Journal, March 1953   On Monday, June 23, 1952, John and Philomena Dougherty packed up their belongings, and with their two daughters in tow, drove from a government housing project in northeast...
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Bookshelf

Traveling the Pennsylvania Railroad: The Photographs of William H. Rau Edited by John C. Van Home, with Eileen E. Drelick Univer­sity of Pennsylvania Press, 2002 (272 pages, cloth, $49.95) In 1891 and again in 1893, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) – known to generations by its sobriquet, “the Pennsy” – commissioned William Herman Rau (1855-1920), a well known...
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Lost and Found

Lost In 1954, the year before it was demolished, Horticultural Hall was described by the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine as the “most spectacular garden under glass in America.” The 1.5-acre hothouse, designed by Hermann J. Schwarzmann, was erected in Philadelphia’s Fair­mount Park for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and served as the centerpiece of gardens totaling thirty-five...
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Old World Influences on Pennsylvania Gardens

Quaker merchants who followed founder William Penn (1644-1718) to his beloved colony planted formal, English-style gardens amidst the native forest landscape. An ornamental garden suitable for a family of means in Great Britain in the seventeenth century consisted of a residence with a series of three terraces descending from the rear elevation. The upper terrace, often used as an extension of...
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Karl Mason (1915-1966)

If asked to describe his life’s work, those who remember Karl Mason would most likely exclaim, “He wanted to clean up the world!” If pressed to date the beginning of environmental regulation by a single state agency, many Penn­sylvanians would probably choose 1970, the year the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources – predecessor to the Commonwealth’s...
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