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.

Walked Away With My Prize

I found the planters peanuts article [“Mr. Peanut’s Hometown: Wilkes-Barre and the Founding of Planters Peanuts” by William C. Kashatus] in the summer 2010 issue of the magazine quite fascinating. It exemplified the rags to riches story that America has spawned since its beginning. How a poor Italian immigrant with entrepreneurial skills managed, in a few decades, to build a multimillion dollar business from a peanut stand, while extraordinary, reflects what this country has been to so many of us – a land of opportunity. With hard work, courage, and innovation, success is possible, if not assured.

The photographs of the Mr. Peanut Memorabilia made me want to add my own contribution, and I think readers might be interested in a recent find of a vintage Mr. Peanut advertising costume, which I discovered in an antiques store in Bellefonte two years ago while attending a historic preservation workshop in the charming Centre County community. I never tire of walking the streets of Bellefonte, one of Pennsylvania’s most beautifully preserved boroughs, and it’s a rare occasion when I can walk by an antiques shop or bookstore without poking my head in to see what treasures lie within. I found – to my delight and astonishment – the Mr. peanut costume in nearly perfect condition! The only item missing was the cane. The price was right and I walked away with my prize.

Michael R. Lefevre
Harrisburg, Pa.

Michael R. Lefevre, AICP, is community preservation coordinator for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Bureau for Historic Preservation.


History Seemed Even Closer

I always enjoy how relevant Pennsylvania Heritage is, but history even seemed closer when I noticed an error in the Summer 2010 edition. The 1974 photograph on page 38 [“Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common“] is identified as the Capital Area Music Foundation; the correct name is the Capital Area Music Association (CAMA). I attended concerts and created posters and programs for CAMA in the late 1970s.

I checked with my friend, Dr. Anthony Leach, who served as CAMA’s music director for twenty-three years, beginning in 1975, who responded, “The photograph to which you refer is of CAMA. We were never a foundation but an association.”

Other than this minor flaw, the magazine is outstanding!

Mark T. Stoner
Lancaster, Pa.


See Historic Germantown

I enjoyed the feature entitled “Remembering Place: Black National Historic Landmarks in Pennsylvania” [by Kenneth C. Wolensky, Summer 2010]. As a board member of the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust, I would like to provide an update on the Johnson House in Philadelphia for readers.

The Germantown Mennonite Historic trust no longer owns or administers the Johnson House, but welcomes visitors to see the historic Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse and the Johnson House, which are involved in Historic Germantown, a consortium of fifteen historically and culturally significant sites and museums in northwest Pennsylvania. These destinations include Cliveden, Awbury Arboretum, Stenton, Deshler-Morris House, and the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion. Individuals can learn more at www.freedomsbackyard.com.

David A. Haury
Harrisburg, Pa.

David A. Haury serves as the State Archivist of Pennsylvania.

Required Reading

I do not subscribe to Pennsylvania Heritage, which I know I should, but read copies in libraries and issues passed along by friends. The Spring 2010 number devoted to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s 2010 theme [“Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common”] should be reprinted in its entirety and made required reading for every student in Pennsylvania. Thank you for a great education.

William T. D. Jones
Pittsburgh, Pa.