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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Tommy Loughran, Boxing’s “Philly Phantom”

The sport of boxing emerged in America in the 1800s, and by the early 20th century it had become one of the country’s most popular spectator sports. Philadelphia was a leading center of boxing at the time, and many of the best fighters hailed from the city. Thomas Patrick “Tommy” Loughran (1902–82) was born in Philadelphia to Irish Catholic immigrants during the heyday of boxing. He began in the...
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George Marshall by David L. Roll

George Marshall Defender of the Republic by David L. Roll Dutton Caliber, 704 pp., hardcover $34 George C. Marshall grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but his chosen path would take him far, both physically and conceptually. His notable service in the military spanned from Gen. John J. Pershing’s aide-de-camp in World War I to Army chief of staff during World War II. After the war, he served as...
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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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From the Susquehanna to the Rhine: The Military Career of Daniel Strickler in Two World Wars

“Hold at all costs.” It’s an order no commander wants to give. It is certainly unwelcome — and perhaps even terrifying — to the subordinate who receives it. The phrase was used on the morning of December 16, 1944, at the headquarters for the 28th Infantry Division in Wiltz, Luxembourg. Maj. Gen. Norman Cota (1893–1971), the commander of the 28th, issued the order during the initial phase of the...
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Soldiers to Governors: World War II

More than 1 million Pennsylvanians served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Five of these servicemembers would later be elected as Pennsylvania’s governor. Carrying on the great American tradition of citizen-soldiers, these civilians or members of the National Guard left their homes and families to volunteer to fight for their country during a crucial period in history. The Pennsylvania...
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Editor’s Letter

This edition of Pennsylvania Heritage was produced mostly through teleworking, as all of us in the Keystone State — and the world — have been in the midst of what already has become one of the most momentous episodes in contemporary history. In the devastating weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, every realm of human existence has been profoundly affected. As we continue through the crisis, history...
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Ahead of Her Time: Pennsylvania Aviator Helen Richey

It was the era of plucky barnstorming aviators. Charles Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic in 1927 and in the ensuing decade the romance of the skies was in full flower. Flight records were being chased and broken with regularity. Faster, sleeker airplanes were being introduced. Air races with cash prizes were in vogue across the country. The public, fed by an eager press, was fascinated....
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Pine Grove Furnace POW Interrogation Camp

Located near Pine Grove Furnace within the state park of the same name in Cooke Township, Cumberland County, a 200-acre plot of land was the site of a unique sequence of historical events over the past 225 years. In the mid-18th century, iron ore was discovered along nearby Mountain Creek, which led to the development of Pine Grove Iron Works, a large-scale iron mining and pig iron production...
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Women Made the Breadbasket of Democracy

Picturing the Pennsylvania home front during World War II might call to mind images of women working in munitions plants or shipyards. Rosie the Riveter, immortalized in a 1942 war work-incentive poster, was said to be inspired by women employed in the Westinghouse East Pittsburgh Works. Outside the factories, however, women also sustained and transformed agriculture, feeding the war effort....
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