Tough and Determined: Pioneering Newspaper Editor Rebecca F. Gross

On a night in the winter of 1947-48, Rebecca F. Gross, 42 years old and the editor of a 10,000-circulation daily newspaper in the small town of Lock Haven, Clinton County, was scheduled to have dinner with two luminaries of the time: Robert Capa, the internationally famous war photographer, and John Steinbeck, the novelist and future Nobel laureate. The dinner was an event set up for members of...
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Anna Wagner Keichline: Architect, Inventor, Suffragist and World War I Special Agent

The Pennsylvania Historical Marker for Anna Wagner Keichline (1889–1943) is prominent among a growing number of markers related to women’s history in the state. Keichline is known as one of the first women to practice architecture professionally in the United States, but she had multifaceted interests and achieved distinction in several fields. Born and raised in Bellefonte, she exhibited...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Fall 2016 Newsletter: Naturalist Scott Weidensaul and Working Together for Wildlife The Giving Circle Artist’s Conversation with Pennsylvania First Lady Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Day Historian Brent D. Glass to Speak at The State Museum Join the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation  ...
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John Summerfield Staples

As the American Civil War dragged into its fourth year, U.S. government leaders grew increasingly troubled about the shrinking of the Union army. Several reasons for the reduction in the army’s ranks included the number of combat casualties, incapacitation of troops from wounds and illnesses, desertion and the end of the original three-year enlistment period for 1861 in which recruits played a...
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A Pitcher, A President and a Home Movie

In November 2013 the Pennsylvania State Archives was contacted by Mrs. Judith Savastio regarding a home movie that her father filmed. She had questions about preserving the film and was interested in finding a repository for its permanent care. Mrs. Savastio’s father, Major League Baseball pitcher James “Jimmie” DeShong (1909-1993), shot the film on his new 8mm home movie...
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The Lady in Charge

In its heyday, Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre seated approximately 2,000 patrons for each performance who came to see the renowned thespians of the 19th century. Popular performers – Fanny Davenport, Joseph Jefferson and Charlotte Cushman – played “The Arch” at 819 Arch Street. Even actor John Wilkes Booth took his turn there as Macbeth two years before he...
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From Wilkes-Barre to the Wild West: George Catlin, Indian Painter

His early exposure to American Indians indelibly impressed northeastern Pennsylvania native George Catlin (1796–1872). His mother Mary “Polly” Sutton Catlin (1770–1844), married in 1789 to Putnam Catlin (1764–1842), formed his earliest impressions of Native Americans. With her mother Sarah Smith Sutton (1747–1834) she was captured and held captive at the age of seven by Iroquois. The day was...
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Susquehanna County: A Touch of New England, 1869-1927

Susquehanna County, one of several counties formed from territory originally claimed by both Connecticut and Pennsylvania, reflects a blend of New England and Pennsylvania traditions. Although the land would remain part of Pennsylvania, the majority of pioneer settlers to this northern tier region were actually from Connecticut and other New England states. It was not until 1787, however, that...
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If Only the Walls Could Talk: The Story of the Federal Barn

“There is no building that does nor develop some unexpected charm with age; but the early American barn, taking into consideration its reason for being, I’ve found to be an exceptional and impressive subject. The growth of moss, the dust of hay, the powdering of mortar in joints, the mellowing of cut stone, the aging of wood – all things thought to be unfortunate – are...
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John Nicholson and Land as a Lure in the Infant Nation, 1790-1800

John Nicholson was an early Pennsylvania land speculator, financier and entrepreneur. He was born in 1757, emigrated from Wales at an early age and died in 1800. While serving as comptroller-general of the state (1782-1794), he was a major factor in helping Pennsylvania achieve financial solvency after the revolutionary war. In this capac­ity, Nicholson created political alliances with those who...
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