Letters to the Editor

Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Schuylkill County

The article in the winter 1985 issue on Schuylkill County is quite interesting, but I would like to alert you to other evi­dence about the origins of Potts­ville. The article contains a portrait of John Potts, Junior, a son of John Potts the iron­master, founder of Pottstown and builder of Pottsgrove Mansion. The caption calls the subject of the portrait the founder of Pottsville, but there is no basis for this. A certain John Pott (also spelled Put or Putt), son of Wilhelm Putt of Rotterdam, did lay out Pottsville about 1816. The two men are not one and the same, and came from unre­lated families. John Potts, Jr., shown in the portrait, was a lawyer, judge and loyalist dur­ing the war who had no business interests in the Schuyl­kill County region. I call attention to this confusion be­cause it is often thought the two towns were founded by the same family.

Mary Brod
Pottstown, Pa.

Ms. Brod is historic site manager at Pottsgrove Man­sion, Pottstown.


The Decorated Tree

Thank you for the winter volume of Pennsylvania Heritage. As a Germanist, I found the use of the term glanzbilders (see “Pennsylvania’s Gift: The Decorated Tree“) somewhat confusing, however. First of all, the word glanzbilder in German is already plural; it needs no additional -s to make it plural. Secondly, glanzbild is not a common German word, hence its special use in this context should have been more clearly ex­plained, for a glanzbild literally is a “picture that sparkles” – but this is not the exact meaning implied in the article. Apart from this linguistic con­fusion in German, this is a most rewarding article and a welcome addition to my file on the Christmas tree in Penn­sylvania.

C. Richard Beam
Millersville, Pa.

Mr. Beam is an associate professor of German at Millers­ville University of Pennsyl­vania.

The term glanzbilders is one which is commonly accepted by curators and collectors to mean mass-produced, brightly colored embossed die-cuts used origi­nally to decorate spice cookies for tree trimming in the late nine­teenth century. Your literal defini­tion of the word helps to explain its derivation and application to this form of Christmas orna­ment, and will undoubtedly clear up any confusion which might have arisen in other readers’ minds.


An Industrial Camelot

Our office recently received the latest Commission publica­tion, Carl Oblinger’s collection of materials on Cornwall (Cornwall: The People and Cul­ture of an Industrial Camelot). This book is both a pleasure to read and another example of the remarkable parade of Pennsylvania history in re­cent years. In my opinion no other state or region has re­ceived more careful or original historical analysis during the last decade than Pennsyl­vania. Cornwall is but the latest example of this impres­sive record, and also an ef­fective use of the oral history medium. The Commission is setting a standard for state and regional history. Con­gratulations are in order.

Cullom Davis
Springfield, Ill.

Mr. Davis is president of the Oral History Association.


Road to Resorts

The article on Monroe County in Pennsylvania Heritage (Vol. X, No. 4) incorrectly states that Daniel Stroud “also built the ‘Mansion House,’ his home … ” (page 33). Daniel’s father, Jacob Stroud, built that house in 1795 for Daniel’s brother John and family. John Stroud was the first occupant of the Mansion House. When John became un­happy with the location, his father built another house farther out in the country from the Stroud village to which John then moved. (That house is presently the club­house of the Glenbrook Coun­try Club.) Only then did Daniel Stroud make the Man­sion House his home.

John C. Appel
Stroudsburg, Pa.

Mr. Appel is past-president of the Monroe County His­torical Society.

One of the most difficult aspects of preparing captions for his­torical photographs and illustra­tions is resolving the authen­ticity of statements which often accompany them. The preparation of captions is, at best, trying, and the problem of misidentifica­tion in this case was due, in part, to the staff’s unfamiliarity with the various members of the prominent Stroud family. I thank you for sharing this infor­mation with our readers.