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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Trailheads

With more than 20 sites and museums on PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History, each year is full of events, tours, programs and visits. Historical milestones are commemorated — such as the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II or the centennial of Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 19th Amendment — and “everyday” history is remembered in artifact exhibits, cooking...
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WWII Target: Altoona

The tale of the bold but fizzled 1942 Nazi plot to sabotage the Horseshoe Curve railroad landmark near Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been told in books and articles almost since the day the spy-thriller story began to unfold. First came a juvenile-fiction account in 1944 titled The Long Trains Roll by Stephen W. Meader. It recounts the story of Operation Pastorius, a wry allusion to the theme of...
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Editor’s Letter

With the recent premiere of Country Music, director Ken Burns has launched another epic PBS TV docuseries that amplifies the significance of an enduring American institution. In this issue’s cover story, “High on a Mountain,” we follow up with a look at Pennsylvania’s key role in the evolution of country music and the state’s later contributions to the genre. Author Joe Baker takes us on a...
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Trailheads

Autumn is a wonderful time on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Many travelers combine a visit to one of PHMC’s historic sites and museums with a leisurely drive along Pennsylvania’s scenic highways to view the beautiful fall foliage. The days grow shorter, but there are still plenty of activities at our sites and museums as summer gives way to fall and early winter.   Celebrating the...
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Soldiers of Production: Berwick’s Honey Tanks Contribute to the Allied Victory in World War II

  One hundred years before Adolf Hitler’s troops invaded Poland, Mordecai William Jackson and George Mack established a foundry in Berwick, in Pennsylvania’s Columbia County, to manufacture farm implements. From these humble beginnings grew a larger company that by the turn of the century joined 12 railroad equipment-manufacturing firms (in six other states) and became the American Car...
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Editor’s Letter

August 18, 2020, will mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. In issues of Pennsylvania Heritage leading to this significant anniversary, we will be featuring articles on the early 20th-century movement that led to suffrage as it played out in Pennsylvania, as well as the stories of women’s achievements in the Keystone...
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Bubley by Greyhound: Photographing Wartime Rationing

Most photographs from World War II document industries or overseas military activities. Rarely do we get a look at daily life on the home front. One young woman who was documenting ordinary lives at that time was Esther Bubley (1921–98), who became known for taking intimate photos of people despite lugging around a large camera. There’s no better example of that than a story from her niece Jean...
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Editor’s Letter

“You can give humanistic value to almost anything by teaching it historically.” So wrote American philosopher William James in an address he delivered in 1907. Even such disciplines as “geology, economics and mechanics,” he continued, are “humanities when taught with reference to the successive achievements of the geniuses to which these sciences owe their being.” By extension, the features in...
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World War II Trails

For the past few years we have been commemorating anniversaries of two major geopolitical and military conflicts, World War I and World War II. The Pennsylvania Trails of History sites have been focusing attention on the commonwealth’s role in these global events as part of PHMC’s Pennsylvania at War initiative. As the centennial of the end of World War I approaches, the 75th anniversary of...
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