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

The Verdict Is In.

Our joint Civil War commemorative edition for summer, The Civil War in Pennsylvania, was stunningly successful – thanks to a partnership of the Senator John Heinz History Center (SJHHC), Pittsburgh, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg. By working together we were fortunate to acquire gripping articles and riveting photographs, some of which had never before been published. I enjoyed the good fortune of working with Brian Butko, editor of SJHHC’s Western Pennsylvania History, and Tamara Gaskell, editor of HSP’s Pennsylvania Legacies to respectfully observe the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and reveal its impact on the Keystone State.

Continuing our commemoration, I am pleased to introduce James Rada Jr., an award-winning author who has written “Making Peace on the Gettysburg Battlefield, Fifty Years Later,” examining the 1913 reunion of former combatants on Gettysburg’s hallowed ground. His feature is poignant; the men who valiantly fought 50 years earlier embraced one another in remembrance and reconciliation, reflecting a truly genuine reunion.

For the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which continues through 2015, frequent contributor Paulette Dininny recently interviewed the senior captain of the Flagship Niagara. “A Tall Order for a Tall Ship: Pennsylvania’s Flagship Niagara – An Interview with Captain Walter P. Rybka” brims with the history of the vessel, but also teems with personal observations, anecdotes, and backstories of its travels, educational outreach programs, sailing school, and interpretive mission.

In 2014 PHMC observes its centennial and “PHMC Celebrates a Century of Service” is a timeline of contributions the Commission has made throughout the Commonwealth since its organization in 1914. Over the past one hundred years PHMC has made its mark by installing more than twenty-three hundred state historical markers; publishing more than 125 books and reports on many aspects of the Commonwealth’s history, culture, and art; collecting and safeguarding permanently valuable records of governmental agencies and papers of individuals and families; acquiring and maintaining historic sites and building thematic museums, all of which make up our popular Pennsylvania Trails of History; enhancing communities of all sizes by assisting planners, developers, and realtors obtain historic designations for older buildings and entire neighborhoods and by administering federal tax credit programs that make historic preservation an attractive investment option; working with partners to conserve historic landscapes and viewsheds for the benefit of all; and, most recently, capturing the attention of new and younger audiences by its growing presence on the Web and in social media. A peek at “PHMC Celebrates a Century of Service” offers readers a chronological overview of the agency’s enviable record of public service.

History is a continuum in which progression and change are ubiquitous. With this edition we bid farewell to Kimberly L. Stone, our longtime art director who recently retired after more than twenty years of service to PHMC. Kim joined the magazine staff as photo editor and eventually moved into the role of art director, where she designed and updated the look of Pennsylvania Heritage. Kim also designed brochures, books, pamphlets, visitor guides, rack cards, invitations, posters, and maps for the agency. Her design skills, instincts, and contributions will be greatly missed.

Michael J. O’Malley III