Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat

Wearing a straw boater, he rode in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, and forlornly surveyed the pickĀ­eting miners who blocked the lane leading into the village of St. Benedict in Cambria County. He sigĀ­naled his manservant – serving now as bodyguard and chauffeur as well – to proceed through the human blockade. Angry strikers taunted them, shouting obscenities, as they drove up the...
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The Lady and the Titan

Before the creation of the Pulitzer Prize, long before Woodward and Bernstein, there was Pennsylvania’s own Ida M. Tarbell (1857-1944). Best known as the muckraking journalist who single-handedly took on the mighty John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), she was among the most feared and admired women of her time. Writing during the Progressive Era, an age of hope and reform running roughly from...
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Violence and Vigilantes: The KKK in Pennsylvania

It was a warm, muggy day in early August 1921 in Philadelphia when F. W. Atkins of Jacksonville, Florida, and W. J. Bellamy of Cincinnati, Ohio, rented an office in the Bellevue Court Building to quietly recruit members for “a great and patriotic crusade to save the nation.” Their goal was to organize a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Posing as a prospective KKK initiate, a...
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Radio Station KDKA

On Tuesday evening, November 2, 1920, about one thousand people in the Pittsburgh area listened to the results of the presidential election of candidates Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox on “wireless” receivers. Transmitted by a one hundred-watt station that would become KDKA, this was something new-radio broadcasting. And radio would revolutionize communication just as the...
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Radium City, U.S.A.

In the spring of 1921, the preeminent French physicist Marie Curie (1867-1934) traveled from her home in Paris to the United States where, on Friday, May 20, she attended a White House ceremony during which President Warren G. Harding presented her with a key symbolizing a gift of one gram of radium from the women of America. Costing one hundred thousand dollars, this tiny amount of radium would...
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Out and About

Presidential China Selections from an extraordinary gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Collection of American Presidential China, are on view in an ongoing exhibit at the museum. The collection of more than four hundred and fifty pieces designed for, and used by, presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan provides a material record of the history of the...
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