American Helicopter Museum & Education Center: Commemorating the Delaware Valley’s Contributions to Vertical Flight

Nestled in a large but unassuming building at the Brandywine Airport, just northeast of  West Chester, Chester County, is a museum that may seem out of place in Pennsylvania: the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center. After all, Russian émigré Igor Sikorsky (1889–1972) flew the first successful helicopter in the United States at Stratford, Connecticut, on September 14, 1939, many...
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The Jefferis Collection: A Pennsylvania Treasure

In February 1905, four men entered a small brick building on Miner Street in West Chester and began a month of careful labor. Using cotton and fine wood shavings, they individually wrapped 35,000 mineral speci­mens with their handwritten labels, carefully placed them into boxes, nailed the boxes shut and hauled box after box to the West Chester railroad station. Newspaper reporters kept the...
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The Black Press in Pennsylvania

I The Black press in Pennsylvania played a leading role in the struggle for Afro-American freedom in the pre-Civil War period. After the war, Afro-American tabloids in the Commonwealth were among the first newspapers to call for the civil rights and enfranchise­ment of Afro-Americans in the South and North. Fre­quently, editors of these newspapers became elected politicians and they used their...
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A Black Underground: Resistance to Slavery, 1833-1860

The Underground Railroad is an important historical link with which most Pennsylvanians are familiar. Ever since William Still, the Black histo­rian, published his famous record of fugitive aid in 1872, however, many have questioned whether in reality the Underground Railroad existed. Some say that fugitive aid in Pennsylvania was rendered individually and spontaneously. Others say that an...
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William Darlington, A Man for Our Age

The first citizen of Chester County to receive the Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, William Darlington was one of the organizers of the Chester County Medical Society. Read out of Meeting by the Society of Friends for serving in the War of 1812, Darlington was elected to Congress in 1815 and was a member of the House of Representatives for six of the next eight years....
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Mailbox

The work of photographer José B. Alemany of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, is cur­rently the subject of research. Alemany not only photographed landscapes and industrial scenes, but created modern and sen­sual images distinctive for the use of light and dramatic shadow, as well as for the fluidity of forms. He showed at the Gulf Gal­leries and the Kingsley House...
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Paradise Lost: A Poet in the Political Labyrinth

During the nineteenth century, it was not unusual for promi­nent literary figures – authors, playwrights and, of course, poet laureates­ – to be awarded diplomatic posts as honors. Perhaps these appointments lent prestige to administrations or helped lessen suggestions of rank patronage. Writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was one of the best examples; he held several custom house...
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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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No Summer Solstice: War Stories of the Home Front Survivors

War stories. Before epic movies and documentaries changed its connotations, the phrase once implied a personal exchange, the kind that took place in barber shops, on porches, or in front of the court house on hot summer afternoons when the fish weren’t biting. They were the kind of stories that grew better in the telling, each time preserving another aspect, perhaps, of a day in a...
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Currents

Pippin “I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin,” the largest and most comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the work of this important African American artist and preemi­nent self-taught painter, will begin its national tour at the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia on Friday, January 21, 1994. This exhibition will present a...
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