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

Rae Tyson, who has written recent features on early Quakers and the history of motorsports in Pennsylvania, now offers us a snapshot of the photographers who descended on the Adams County battlefield shortly after the epic struggle ended. Rae is uniquely qualified to write “At the Gettysburg Battlefield with Traveling Photographers.” Among the prominent photographers noted – Brady, O’Sullivan, Gardner, Gibson, and Tipton – are two others: brothers Isaac G. and Charles J. Tyson. Rae is the great-grandson of Charles and several of the images are drawn from the family’s archives.

Editors not infrequently become close to freelance writers with whom they work. Contributor Joan Wenner is one of those rare (and exceptionally gifted) individuals who I’ve befriended since publishing her and coauthor Andy Waskie’s article on enigmatic Union General George Gordon Meade. Joan is a powerhouse and possesses encyclopedic information about the American Civil War and I am indebted to her for her many missives enlightening me about the battles, the major players, and commemorations this year. She now turns her sights to one of our greatest natural and historic assets in “A River Runs Through Penn’s Woods: Tracing the Mighty Schuylkill.” Follow the river’s history with Joan as she explores its significance as well as its quirkiness. Thanks to Joan I learned of a historic culinary delight associated with the river, “catfish and waffles.”

Kyle R. Weaver, an editor at Stackpole Books, has also become a good friend. Readers will undoubtedly remember his feature “Snackin’ – Pennsylvania Style!” in last summer’s edition. In “Welcome to Kuppy’s: A Central Pennsylvania Diner Turns 80!” Kyle uncovers the history of the beloved family-owned eatery (for four generations!) in Middletown, Dauphin County, and presents some very interesting characters who have patronized the eatery for decades. It’s an intimate peek at the types of places and people that make Pennsylvania a wonderful state to call home.

Archivist Willis L. Shirk Jr, who writes our installments of Our Documentary Heritage researches the Pennsylvania State Archives for documents, maps, drawings, and photographs to help bolster PHMC’s annual themes. He has brought to light significant archival material over the years that has amazed both staff and readers. This will be his last column, and we will miss him and his many “finds.” Willis is retiring from PHMC in June, and we wish him great happiness. (I’ve also asked him to keep Pennsylvania Heritage in mind for more full-length feature articles as our readership enjoyed his fascinating articles on the country’s first commercial nuclear power plant built at Shippingport, Beaver County, and most recently Woo Hong Neok, a Chinese American living in Lancaster who volunteered for service during the Civil War.)

Our Summer 2013 edition promises to be sensational. It’s a special commemorative Civil War edition jointly published by PHMC, the Senator John Heinz History Center (SJHHC), Pittsburgh, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), Philadelphia. In this expanded issue you’ll find features on the origin of the Union League of Philadelphia and its founders; the 1862 Allegheny Arsenal explosion, the single largest civilian disaster during the war; and the unprecedented ways women on the home front lived and worked after husbands, fathers, and brothers went off to war for the Union cause. You’ll also enjoy the finely honed editing skills of my talented partners in this exciting endeavor, Brian Butko at SJHHC and Tammy Gaskell of HSP.

With all good wishes,

Michael J. O’Malley III