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.

Painting the Town

I have received many favorable comments on my article on Bethlehem’s artists which appeared in the winter 1985 issue. This study could not have been completed without the kindness and generosity of many Pennsylvania residents who shared their information with me. A partial list of those who helped include: Dorothy Bovee Jones, Dr. Richmond Myers, Jeannette Zug, Martha Luckenbach, Peter Blume of the Allentown Art Museum, Pat Kandianas of Historic Beth­lehem, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Peters, Charles Peischl, Ryan Shank, the Revs. Henry Wil­liams, Mervin Weidner, John Morman, and Vernon Nelson, Robert Brown, Robert Snyder and the many knowledgable members and guides of the Moravian Museum.

Charlene S. Engel
Newport News, Va.


Monroe County

One interesting visitor to the lovely countryside of Monroe County during the last century was Mrs. Elizabeth (Libbie) Custer, widow of Gen. George Armstrong Custer of Civil War and Little Big Horn fame. After the death of her husband in 1876, Libbie Custer spent much of her time in the East giving many lectures and writ­ing books. Because of her heavy schedule, Libbie needed a place to get away to work on her writing and get some rest in a secluded place. In 1887 and 1888, she traveled from her home in New York City to camp during the summers on the Paret farm along the Pocono Creek near Strouds­burg. In 1889, she bought land there on both sides of the creek and built a little four­-room, roughly furnished cabin. (However, she and her aunt slept in a tent while her maid slept inside.) She stayed in this camp until the cold weather of November when she would return to New York. She died in New York City in April 1933 and was buried at West Point.

Jackson P. Serfas
Drexel Hill, Pa.

Your letter certainly confirms Monroe County’s historical role as a resort and place of relaxation (see “The Road to Resorts: Transportation and Tourism in Monroe County,” in the fall 1984 issue), not only for the aver­age citizen but also for the rich, famous and interesting.


Built on Coal

I have read your article “Built on Coal” by Joseph M. Han­ney in the winter 1985 issue. Reading through many books in my large coal library, I have yet to find credit given to Necho Allen as the discoverer of anthracite.

Joseph A. Chervy
Union, N.J.

Every county in northeastern Pennsylvania which claimed coal mining as a major industry also proudly claimed its own official “discoverer” of anthracite. While Carbon County hailed Philip Gin­ter for his find in 1791, Schuylkill County has honored Necho Allen for his discovery at the foot of the Broad Mountain in 1790. Since no records exist regarding these early years of anthracite, it is impossible to award the distinc­tion of hard coal’s discoverer to any one individual.



I have just had my first oppor­tunity to see Pennsylvania Heritage magazine – and thought it was so handsome that I wanted to tell you so. You and your staff deserve to be proud of this accomplishment. I wish that more state history agencies could produce this type of popular publica­tion to make history and pres­ervation so much more appeal­ing to the general public. I will look forward to seeing future issues.

Diane Maddex
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Maddex is editor of Pres­ervation Press Books of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Your magazine is a real treat to read. On page 24 (see “The Beauty and Bounty of Penn’s Wood,” in the spring 1985 issue) you show a round stacked pile of logs with two men on top. I am seventy-four years old so I did not see any­thing like this, but in the woods you often came upon round burned areas. I was told that these were made by the charcoal burners which pro­duced charcoal. It’s very inter­esting to see one before the fire was lit.

H. Randolph
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.