Pennsylvanians at Meuse-Argonne: The 28th, 79th and 80th Divisions in the Last Major Offensive of the Great War

Pennsylvanians served with honor and distinction in World War I, with more than 297,000 men from the Keystone State engaged in the conflict as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), established in July 1917 to join the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy) in the fight against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria). The majority of...
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Letter to Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin

Casualties in the American Civil War were enormous on both sides of the four-year conflict. Reuben Kemmerer (also spelled Kemerer), of Company I, 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, suffered wounds to his right hand during the Second Battle of Deep Bottom in August 1864. He was one of approximately 2,900 Union soldiers wounded in the engagement which took place in Henrico County, Virginia,...
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Monument to Confederate Soldiers

In 1898 Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act allowing the printing and publishing of postcards by private companies and launched a craze in the early years of the 20th century. Prior to this legislation only the U.S. Postal System was authorized to produce these cards. Billions of what are known as “real photo” postcards – depicting rural villages, picturesque panoramas, community...
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Civil War Frying Pan at Drake Well Museum

The Reverend Darius S. Steadman (1831–1907), born in Columbus, Warren County, along U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, was licensed to preach in 1857. He served congregations in Clarion County before being commissioned, on October 7, 1861, a captain and chaplain of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (PVI) known as the Wild Cat Regiment. The unit was raised in Jefferson, Clarion...
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Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
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Fayette at the Crossroads

Fayette County has always been at the crossroads, both literally and figuratively, its destiny shaped by its location, the incredible riches of its natural resources and the vi­tality of a people descended from al­most every nation of Europe. It has a son of dual personality, geo­graphically divided between mountains and lowlands, historically divided into two almost equal eras of economic...
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Historical Sketch of Greene County

Greene County lies in the southwestern corner of the state. Its many hills, the distinguishing feature of the countryside, grow more pronounced as one travels from the eastern to the western areas. The old Washington Waynes­burg Railroad, traveling through the hills, was famous for its 178 sharp turns, each of which jolted the passengers. There were some who took the trip just for the roller...
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The Apotheosis of George Washington: America’s Cincinnatus and the Valley Forge Encampment

In the early evening hours of December 19, 1777, the Continental Army, commanded by Gen. George Washington, marched into Valley Forge to encamp for the winter while the British occupied Philadelphia. Within days, six inches of snow blanketed the ground and the nearby Schuylkill River was frozen solid. Undernourished and poorly clothed, and with no immediate prospects for provisioning, many of...
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Bookshelf

Organizing Archival Records by David W. Carmicheal Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1993 (53 pages, paper, $9.95) Subtitled A Practical Method of Arrangement and Description for Small Archives, this compact book is an easy-to-use “how-to” guide for community associa­tions, fraternal organizations, church groups, and local and county historical societies. This invaluable...
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Drawing from Jack Savitsky’s Sketchbook

The work of Jack Savitsky (1910-1991) is highly prized by aficionados of twentieth century folk art. A native of Schuylkill County, Savitsky drew the subject matter for his art from his own experience as a hard coal miner in north­eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region, as well as from the area’s miners and mining villages. Interestingly enough, his paintings and drawings depict a...
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