Pennsylvania Woman as Artist: Mary Cassatt

A tombstone stands thirty miles northwest of Paris, France. It is inscribed to the memory of a “Native of Pennsylvania of the United States of America.” Not only is the presence of the grave of a Pennsylvanian in France a somewhat uncommon occurrence, ‘except for soldiers who served there in past wars, but this Penn­sylvanian held many other distinctions as well. Beyond the...
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Chester County Welcomes Thee

The history of Chester County constitutes a significant part of the history of Pennsylvania, both province and commonwealth, and of the history of the United States of America. At the beginning of our nation’s Bicentennial and on the threshold of our state’s and our county’s tricentennial celebrations, Chester County looks proudly upon its past accomplishments and with...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Journalist: The Ida Tarbell Nobody Knew

In the summer of 1905, as Ida M. Tarbell’s muckraking History of the Standard Oil Company had completed its long serial run in McClure’s Magazine and been published as a book, Miss Tarbell received an envelope addressed to: Miss Ida M. Tarbell Rockefeller Station Hades Inside was a caustic letter from a reader who was furious with her attack on Standard Oil, but since such...
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John Dickinson, Reluctant Revolutionist

Students of American history will recognize John Dickinson as the Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress who had the temerity to speak against separation from Great Britain and the obstinacy to refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence. Paradoxically, Dickinson had been an early leader of the patriot cause in Pennsylvania, author of the “Farmers’ Letters”...
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In Search of the Elusive Basketmaster

Four years ago, when our project of tape record­ing oral traditions in the Union County area began, we became aware that several area families had been making baskets for generations. Particularly in the “tight end” of our county, where the Shivelys were, and the Forest Hill area, where the Diehls had lived, these skills and attitudes were passed down and practiced much longer than...
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Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania: A Primer

Depending on the individual, historic preser­vation evokes a myriad of interpretations. To the local historical society, it’s restoring the town’s oldest structure to a house-museum showcasing collections of period antiques. To community planners, it often results in a challenge of saving the best while destroying the rest. And to many, historic preservation means little more than a...
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A History of the York-Pullman Automobile

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, there were a number of manufacturers in eastern Pennsylvania producing both passenger cars and trucks. Much of the activity centered around Reading, where in addition to the famous Duryea, the Acme, Boss, Daniels, Dile, Meteor, Middlebury, Reber, Riviera, Snader and S.G.V., not to mention the “Read­ing Steamer,” were made – all...
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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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The Day They Raised a Monument in Dixie

The artillery salvo thun­dered across the land­scape. The pandemo­nium reverberated through the ravines before fading eerily in the distance. The outburst was quickly followed by another, then another. It was reminiscent of an earlier day, many years before, when soldiers uni­formed in blue and gray skir­mished upon these heights and engaged in mortal combat amidst roaring guns and flar­ing...
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A Voice in the Wilderness

In his book Henry Wallace, Harry Truman, and the Cold War, journalist-historian Richard J. Walton singled out one letter to exemplify the many messages received by Wallace in March 1947 after his speech criticizing the declaration of the “Truman Doctrine.” The letter was written by Josiah William Gitt, publisher of The Gazette and Daily in York, which would, the following year,...
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