John William Heisman, Football Innovator

John William Heisman (1869–1936) was an athlete turned college sports coach who became one of football’s greatest innovators. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Heisman grew up near Titusville, Crawford County, in northwestern Pennsylvania. He played football at Titusville High School and then at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He received a law degree but, diverted by an eye injury,...
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“I Must Be an Abolitionist”: Pennsylvania Liberty Man Francis Julius LeMoyne

In 1839, when William Lloyd Garrison (1805–79) and his allies lost control of the abolitionist movement in Warsaw, New York, African Americans could only vote in seven states. In the North, free blacks could neither sue nor own weapons, and their wages were disproportionate with those of their white counterparts for the same type of work. The Slave Power seemingly strengthened its influence in...
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Washington County: From Ice Age to Space Age

Southwestern Pennsylvania was for centuries a happy hunt­ing ground for Indians who were living there as long as two thousand years ago. In fact, as the result of archaeological discoveries made at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Avella between 1973 and 1975, University of Pittsburgh anthropologists have proven conclusively that Ice Age people roamed the forests of Washington County even...
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Pennsylvania Gridiron: Washington and Jefferson College’s First Century of Football

Gentlemen, you are now going to play football against Harvard. Never again in your whole life will you do anything so important. Yale’s noted football coach T.A.D. Jones delivered his message just as his team was going out to defend Yale Bowl against its ancient rival. But it’s not only coaches whose pas­sion for football is ardent­ – millions play the game on high school,...
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Sixty Seasons – and Counting! A History of the Philadelphia Eagles, 1933-1993

It began rather humbly about a century ago in small western Pennsylva­nia towns, when former college players-longing for a taste of past glories – joined in community pick-up games. Yet professional football eventually exploded into a multi-million dollar sport that brought to its stadiums and playing fields throngs of frenzied and worshipful fans. Both the Keystone State and adjacent Ohio...
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Executive Director’s Message

“George Washing­ton slept here.” No other state – besides Virginia, of course – claims a closer connection to the life and times of George Washington than Pennsylvania. Travels during his extraordinary military and political careers took him to dozens of settlements and sites across the Commonwealth. Many of these places survive and offer vivid reminders of the presence...
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Remembering Place: Black National Historic Landmarks in Pennsylvania

The National Historic Landmarks (NHL) program was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and refined by amendments to it in 1980. The federal law requires the U.S. Department of the Interior to certify the historic authenticity of NHLs based on strident criteria, including association with events, people, and great ideas; distinguishing characteristics in architectural or...
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Cremation’s Fiery Beginnings

Franz Lee Rickaby (1889–1925), a bone-thin man of thirty-five, was a much-loved professor of English and drama at Pomona College in Claremont, California, when he died of rheumatic fever. An adventurous wanderer, he left a respected historical legacy with folklorists when Harvard University posthumously published his collection of songs of the Midwest lumberjack, Ballads and Songs of the...
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