Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: Statehouses and Capitols

Through the three centuries of Pennsylvania’s history, the build­ings that always have been both the functional and symbolic heart of the Commonwealth have been the seats of government. These statehouses and capitols bespeak much about the governmental structure and social ideals of the respective ages which created them. Indeed, the very change of nomenclature from statehouse to capitol...
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Penn’s First Sight of the Shores of Pennsylvania as He Ascends the River

On the Back Cover Penn’s First Sight of the Shores of Pennsylvania as He Ascends the River A Mural Painting by Violet Oakley Commissioned in 1902 This mural painting, done by Violet Oakley, depicts William Penn on board the Welcome as it sails up the Delaware Bay. Gazing on the land named for his father, Penn is meant to be “speaking” the lines quoted above him in the scroll....
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Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter

When Violet Oak­ley accepted the commission – and challenge – of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decorate the State Capitol then under con­struction in Harrisburg, she announced that the subject of her mural series would be “The Romance of the Found­ing of the State.” In 1902, the ardent lady mural painter, then twenty-eight years old and the only one of her kind,...
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Currents

Chester County Centennial The Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, has marked its one hundredth anniversary by mounting an exhibition entitled “Presenting Your Past: A Centennial Celebration.” The exhibit highlights the extraordinary collections acquired by the historical society during its first century. Objects on view include significant pieces selected from the...
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A Capital Idea! A Brief and Bumpy History of Pennsylvania’s Capitols

A mere one hundred or so miles separate Philadelphia’s Chestnut and Harrisburg’s Third streets. But the path­ – metaphorically, at least­ – between the Keystone State’s first and final capitol build­ings seems far longer and rockier than geography suggests. From the Commonwealth’s earliest days, when the government met in Philadelphia’s elegant State...
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Explaining William Penn on the 350th Anniversary of His Birth: An Interview with Richard S. Dunn

In his journal entry of December 29, 1667, noted seventeenth century English diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) wrote that his young neighbor William Penn “has returned from Ireland a Quaker – or some very melancholy thing – that he cares for no company, nor comes into any.” For Pepys, who despised the noncon­formist Quakers, Penn’s reclusiveness was “a...
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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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This Venerable Document

The famous patient in Harrisburg needed treatment immediately. Dismembered, suffering gaping wounds, and literally growing weaker day by day, the situation was critical. The Pennsylvania State Police provided special escorts to and from Philadelphia to ensure safe transport. Once there, in the city this patient helped create, trained technicians administered highly effective restorative...
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Bookshelf

The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love By Alice A. Carter Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000 (216 pages, cloth, $39.95) Highly successful and immensely unconventional Philadelphia artists Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), Eliza­beth Shippen Green (1871-1954), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) captivated early twentieth-century society with their brilliant careers and uncommon lifestyle. At a...
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Bookshelf

Guide to the State Historical Markers of Pennsylvania By George R. Beyer Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2000 (456 pages, paper, $15.95) It is generally well known that the Commonwealth’s state historical marker program is among the most popular public history initiatives ever mounted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The program, also one of the...
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