Sylvania Electric Products

Nestled in the valley of the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek sits Emporium, the seat of Cameron County. Emporium was known for industries that were prominent in other central Pennsylvania towns: lumber, coal, dynamite, iron smelting and tanning. By the early 20th century, however, the borough made a name for itself as the home of Sylvania Electric Products, which produced...
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Songs of the Saron: Ephrata Cloister’s Women Composers

  In the mid-18th century, a small religious community thrived at what is known today as Ephrata Cloister on the banks of the Cocalico Creek in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. Founded in 1732 by German immigrant Conrad Beissel (1691–1768), the group was composed of celibate Brothers and Sisters who lived lives of religious devotion and self-denial, supported in part by the married members...
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Editor’s Letter

With this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage, we mark the anniversaries of two events that not only sent shock waves across Pennsylvania but also awakened communities to concerns about public and worker safety. Fifty years ago, in June 1972, a tropical cyclone made its way from the Yucatán Peninsula, up the Atlantic Seaboard of the U.S., shifting its strength as it advanced over land and sea....
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Two Faces of Molly Pitcher

Perhaps one of the most enduring legends of the American Revolution is that of a woman, who while carrying water to thirsty troops during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, witnessed the death of her husband as he was manning a cannon in the heat of battle. Desperate to secure a victory, this woman takes his place, continuing to fire the cannon and inspiring the men around her to fight on as well....
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Trailheads

When we rang in 2021, Pennsylvania’s Trails of History sites had been closed to the public for nine months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintenance and security staff had continued to report to sites to perform their duties, while others of us had adapted to telework. The new year dawned with hope of spring reopenings, and on April 30 sites implemented new public schedules designed to ease...
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Searching for Mountain Mary: The Life and Legend of an Early Pennsylvania Saint

“There, underneath this mountain stone, Lies Mary Young, who lived alone, High on the lofty mountainside, Beloved and honored till she died.” —Ralph Bigony, 1846   Enshrined in works of art and immortalized in poetry, the life and deeds of Mountain Mary, or Anna Maria Jung (1744–1819), has become one of the preeminent legends of early southeastern Pennsylvania, embodying the spirit of the...
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ENIAC, the First All-Purpose Digital Computer

Seventy-five years ago, in February 1946, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer — ENIAC — was publicly demonstrated as the world’s first large-scale general-purpose digital computer. It was designed by John Mauchly (1907–80) and J. Presper Eckert (1919–95) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering in Philadelphia. Research began during World War II in...
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Sewn in Coal Country, edited by Robert P. Wolensky

Sewn in Coal Country An Oral History of the Ladies’ Garment Industry in Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1945-1995 edited by Robert P. Wolensky Pennsylvania State University Press, 416 pp., hardcover $99.95, paperback $39.95 This edited collection of oral histories provides an important ground-level perspective on the story of the ladies’ garment industry in northeastern Pennsylvania and the role...
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Marketing Patriotism: Pennsylvania Railroad Advertising During World War II

During World War II, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) spent lavishly on patriotic magazine advertising. No other railroad put so much effort, money or creative talent into a campaign to boost the war and create favorable public opinion for itself. As the single largest railroad in the United States, the Philadelphia-based “Pennsy” carried 10 percent of all freight in America and 20 percent of all...
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After Suffrage: Pennsylvania’s Inaugural Class of Women Legislators

“For one born and reared as this writer was in hidebound Pennsylvania, it is startling to find eight women in the Legislature of that State. Moreover, to learn from their men fellow-members of the natural way they take their place and do their work.” – Ida Tarbell, 1924 “I believe these eight women are going to make an impression. I believe they are going to ask themselves on...
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