Bookshelf

A Sacred Challenge: Violet Oakley and the Pennsylvania Capitol Murals By Ruthann Hubert-Kemper and Jason L. Wilson, editors Capitol Preservation Committee, 2003 (168 pages, cloth, $59.95) Violet Oakley (1874-1961) was an ideal candidate to accept the challenge of creating the artwork adorning the Governor’s Reception Room in Pennsylvania’s opulent State Capitol in Har­risburg. Born...
read more

Stegmaier Brewed Beer and a Regional History

“Ring-A-Ding-Ding! Do the Stegmaier Thing, In the Summertime. It’s Cold and It’s Gold like a Pocono Spring, In the Summertime. So, Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Do the Stegmaier Thing, Any Time At All!” Pennsylvanians may recall the infectious jingle advertising Stegmaier beer on WFIL radio and television in Philadelphia and shouted across billboards in the Pocono Mountains and the...
read more

The Barrymores of Philadelphia: America’s Royal Family of the Theatre

America’s fabled royal family of the theatre, the Barrymores — a name recognized throughout the world by generations of audiences — began its meteoric rise in mid-nineteenth- century Philadelphia. The twentieth-century scions of entertainment — Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore — were born in Philadelphia, children of the rapscallion English charmer, Maurice Barrymore (1847–1905) and his equally...
read more

Waging War Their Own Way: Women and the Civil War in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s recently conserved Civil War Muster Rolls, housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives, document the commonwealth’s contributions to the Union. Nearly 345,000 Pennsylvanians served in the U.S. Army during the war, or approximately 60 percent of the adult male population.1 A century and a half ago clerks carefully transcribed the names, ages, regiments, and brief...
read more

Barbara T. Zolli on “A Drop of Oil”

Crude oil, found in abundance in northwestern Pennsylvania, held out many possibilities by the mid-nineteenth century. It burned when ignited, served as a practical lubricant, was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been used for various purposes by generations of Native Americans. That it might be in ample supply became apparent to many locals when it oozed from the ground and...
read more

Sacred Places in Pennsylvania: Signs of Religious Freedom and Diversity

When William Penn established Pennsylvania, he did so in part to create a place where his own faith community, the Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers), could worship freely, just as the Puritans did in Massachusetts and the Baptists in Rhode Island. But Penn went further – he established freedom for other faiths and creeds, welcoming one and all, regardless of their beliefs and...
read more