Editor's Letter is an introduction to the contents and themes of each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage by the editor.

Summer is a good time to connect with the past in Pennsylvania. The state features an abundance of museums, memorials and historic structures – including the sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History – that are especially active in the summer, presenting and commemorating our history. Festivals and special events across the commonwealth also link us to our heritage with food, music, crafts, competitions, reenactments and celebrations. The features and departments in this issue are appropriate to the season and illuminate some of the ways we have remembered Pennsylvania’s past and the meaning it holds for us.

One of the most prominent spaces in The State Museum and Archives Complex in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, is the museum’s Modernist-style Memorial Hall, which features at its center an 18-foot statue of Pennsylvania’s founder and pioneer of religious freedom, William Penn. This work of art by Janet de Coux, delivered to the museum in June 1965, is simple but symbolic, with Penn’s hand safeguarding a small human figure representing Free Man at his heart, a reflection of the foundation on which Pennsylvania is based. We continue our series of articles commemorating the complex’s 50th anniversary with “Reimagining William Penn,” in which PHMC architect Andrea W. Lowery tells the captivating story of the creation of the now-iconic statue – from concept to early small-scale studies to the final enlargement – with an emphasis on de Coux’s challenge of fashioning for the state a monumental, modern portrayal of Penn, projecting the ideals associated with him while staying true to her own artistic vision of the founder.

Pennsylvanians who served in the American Civil War fought under battle flags that represented allegiance to country, state and regiment. When these flags were delivered to the commonwealth after the war in 1866 during a Fourth of July ceremony in Philadelphia, they revealed more personal significance. Many now had the names of the battles in which the regiments fought written or stitched by the soldiers directly on the stripes. Additionally, the rips and tears of combat had been retained rather than mended on the fabric, as badges of distinction. In “Honoring Valor,” Capitol Preservation Committee historian Jason L. Wilson traces the battle flags from their inception in 1861 and through the war to June 15, 1914, when surviving veterans again carried these emblems of their wartime service in a momentous Flag Day parade through the streets of Harrisburg to transfer them to the State Capitol.

Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s leading enterprise, and every year the bounty of its farms and fields is celebrated at numerous agricultural festivals throughout the state. One of the oldest and largest of these is the Great Allentown Fair, now in its 163rd year, operated by the Lehigh County Agricultural Society. From 1884 until his death in 1907 farmer-entrepreneur Jeremiah Roth, fondly known as “Uncle Jerry,” served as president of the society and contributed to the fair’s growth during its Golden Age. Allentown resident and writer Simonee deFuccio believes Roth deserves to be better remembered, and in her article “Uncle Jerry and the Great Allentown Fair” she offers a profile of this fascinating individual and restores his legacy as “father” of the fair.

Fairs, parades and memorials commemorate past events and people, ideas, and endeavors that have value for us as Pennsylvanians. I hope the articles in this edition will provide you with perspective and insight, as well as entertainment, as you enjoy your summer in the Keystone State.

Kyle R. Weaver