Mothers’ Memorial, Ashland

In the late 1800s Ashland and the surrounding area began experiencing a long and steady decline in employment, resulting in the departure of many men in search of jobs elsewhere. In 1901 a small group of remaining and former residents hit upon the idea of hosting an annual reunion where they could reconnect with old friends, the boys of their childhood. This group evolved into the Ashland Boys...
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Pennsylvania State Archives Multiyear Freezer Negative Project

The Pennsylvania State Archives is home to many photographic collections. Recently, a project was initiated to remove unstable nitrate and acetate negatives in the archives’ walk-in freezer to clear storage space and prepare for the future move to a new State Archives building, planned to open in 2022. The negatives have been stored for years in the freezer to slow down their deterioration and...
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Wyalusing Rocks and the Federal Writers’ Project

Peering northwest at the Lehigh Valley Railroad and surrounding farmland from Wyalusing Rocks, several hundred feet above the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, these four observers are likely Federal Writers’ Project field workers. A spectacular lookout first revered by the region’s native inhabitants, Wyalusing Rocks is an outcropping of red sandstone located along the Warrior’s Path, a...
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Artful Trails

In honor of the 50th Art of the State exhibition, open through September 10, 2017, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, we’re exploring art at other historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History. As visual storytellers, our sites employ a multidisciplinary approach to documenting and sharing Pennsylvania heritage. Artworks frequently play a role in the study...
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Training at Indiantown Gap

  At age 19, Waldo Preston Breeden Jr. sent a postcard to his father in Pittsburgh describing his seemingly pleasant experiences at Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, in July 1938. He “found apples and berries on the range,” “shot the 37 mm. guns” (a common caliber of antitank gun at the time) and mentioned that he had a special ranking and higher pay because of his ability to drive. The...
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Remember Dec. 7th

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and Congress’ declaration of war on Japan the following day, the U.S. officially entered World War II. As the nation moved into full-force mobilization, the government initiated a propaganda effort to boost morale and patriotism. Several wartime agencies produced and disseminated propaganda, including the Office of War Information (OWI)...
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From the Executive Director

Over the past few months I have been spending time with visitors in the new Pennsylvania Icons exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania (see “Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth,” Winter 2016). There is a small but very powerful section of the exhibit entitled “Pennsylvania and the Nation.” It is a dramatic reminder of the close connection between...
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Punxsutawney Post Office

Although Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, is best known as the home of a renowned weather-forecasting groundhog, it is also a community of notable historic buildings, including the grand Classical Revival U.S. post office shown in this circa 1916 postcard. The Punxsutawney Post Office, with its imposing Ionic limestone columns, was the hub of the community’s mail services from its completion in...
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The All-Too-Youthful Proletarians: Breaker Boys of the Anthracite Coal Region in the Early 1900s

Many Pennsylvanians have long forgotten one of the state’s major claims to national prominence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-the anthra­cite coal industry. In those years, clean-burning anthracite heated more homes in the northeastern United States than any other fuel, and a 1,700 square-mile area in northeast Pennsyl­vania produced almost all of the nation’s...
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Stability and Change: Culture During Three Periods

“Religion, … the best bond of human society, provided man did not err in the meaning of that excellent word.” – William Penn   Culture, broadly de­fined, is the way of life of a group of people; it includes all their behavioral patterns, beliefs and ar­tistic expressions. Culture is not static; it varies over time and place. Culture does not arise in a vacuum; it...
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