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.

Against All Odds

I am very much interested in the article entitled “Against All Odds: Chevalier Jackson, Physician and Painter” by Louis M. Waddell in the summer 1992 edition. We live in walking distance of Sunrise Mill, which we have visited many times. We also knew Dr. Jackson and found him to be a very fine gentleman. We are very much surprised that nothing was written about the small houseboat he used on the mill pond. It was beached on the bank and just rotted away.

Dennis F. Dempsey
Schwenksville, Pa.



Since the publication of the wonderful article about Peter Frederick Rothermel by Kent Ahrens, “Painting for Peer, Patron, and the Public,” in the spring 1992 issue, The Mu­seum Shop of The State Museum of Pennsylvania has received numerous requests for reproductions of the artist’s famous painting, Pickett’s Charge. Members of the Friends of the State Museum thought fellow readers would be interested to know that The Museum Shop offers a large, sixteen by twenty-four inch, print of Pickett’s Charge, which is suitable for framing. The print is available for twelve dollars, including shipping and handling, from: The Museum Shop, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P. O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17108-1026. A post card depicting Pickett’s Charge is available for seventy­-five cents. Your publication is always eagerly a waited by those of us interested in Pennsylvania history!

Kathy T. Shearer
Harrisburg, Pa.

Kathy T. Shearer is president of the Friends of The State Museum.


Summer Magic

How much I enjoyed Diane B. Reed’s interview with Jack Bitner, “The Magic of Mount Gretna,” in the spring edition. Not only did it rekindle many boyhood memories of sum­mers spent there, but I was surprised by several of the parallels in our lives. Like Jack Bitner’s grandfather, my grandfather, the Rev. P. C. Croll, was also a minister who purchased a cottage there in the early part of this century. It was located on the grounds of the Chautauqua, directly behind the auditorium. He named it “The Crows’ Nest” and the family enjoyed it for forty years. Like Jack Bitner’s father, my dad also worked for the Bethlehem Steel Company in Steelton. Here he met my mother, who was introduced to him by a cousin, Tilghman Bittner. Like Jack Bitner, I, too, have a few keepsakes from Mount Gretna. One is a railroad spike from the narrow gauge railroad track that wound up Governor Dick. I gave it to my grandson when he was about my age when I picked it up. Another treasure is a kerosene lamp that hung over the dining room table in “The Crows’ Nest.” Now electrified, it casts a soft light on this page as I think about these memories. Thanks for bringing them back.

Philip D. Croll
Doylestown, Pa.


Living Legend

I was delighted to read “Profile: Howard L. Barnes, Dean of Philadelphia’s Amateur Historians,” by William C. Kashatus III in the summer 1992 edition. For the past seven years I have taught a local history course at Holy Ghost Prep, a private high school located on the Old King’s Highway several miles above Frankford. Although I have never met Mr. Barnes, he has been a valuable resource for a number of my students from northeast Philadelphia. His enthusiasm and dedication to sharing community history with youth is appreciated.

Vince Profy
Yardley, Pa.