News and Notes

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

On the Cover

Silhouetted against the sky, the lines of this wood moldboard plow recall the loneliness and the simplicity of early days when European settlers first broke ground in the untamed land beyond the Allegheny Mountain. This plow, which was constructed entirely from wood and was in use in Somerset County about 1780; stands as a symbol of the county s agricultural heritage and as a reminder. of an era when wood was the primary material with which settlers built new lives.

Today, this rare and significant implement is contained in a permanent exhibit at the Somerset Historical Center, a regional museum administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. On display, the sturdy, clumsy plow commemorates the hardships associated with the settlement of Somerset County and other counties beyond the mountain barrier.

 

History Day 1981

Last year the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission coordinated the Commonwealth’s first statewide History Day program. Over 4,000 junior and senior high school students took part in the events which culminated in the state finals. More than 250 participants qualified for that competition with twenty first- and second-place winners advancing to the National History Day contest in Washington. Pennsylvania was well represented al that event with two students receiving national awards.

Because of the success of last year’s program and the positive reactions expressed by students, teachers, family members and coordinators alike, the PHMC is again happy to be involved with History Day in Pennsylvania. Competi­tion in both junior and senior divisions will center around the categories of historical papers, dramatic performances and displays, this year dedicated to the theme of “Work and Leisure.” A date of May IS has been set for the state finals to be held al the Holiday Inn, Grantville-Hershey. Winners will then move on to the national competition scheduled at the University of Maryland, College Park, on June 11-13 [1981].

Before qualifying for the finals at the state level, how­ever, students must first compete in one of the eleven district-level contests which are soon to be held. For further information on district-level plans in your area, contact the following coordinators at the Departments of History at the college or university closest to you: Dr. Herbert Bass (Temple University), Dr. Frank Bremer (Millersville State College), Dr. Raymond Champagne (University of Scran­ton), Dr. Charles Clark (Harrisburg Area Community College), Dr. Gerald Gordon (Susquehanna University), Dr. Eugene Levy (Carnegie-Mellon University), Dr. Janet Lowengard (Moravian College), Dr. Andrew Rusnak (Edinboro State College), Dr. Wayne Smith (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Dr. George Snow (Shippensburg State College) and Dr. Suzanne Van Meter (Clarion State College).

The PHMC hopes to see an ever growing number of students involve themselves in the History Day in Pennsyl­vania program each year and invites every student through­out the Commonwealth to join in the fun.

 

Tercentenary Publications Released

March 1981, as most Heritage readers are by now aware, marks the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania. In order to assist each and every Pennsyl­vanian to better appreciate the meaning of this historic event, a special Tercentenary issue of Pennsylvania Heritage has been released. This expanded version of Heritage is introduced by an article on “Penn’s Vision,” written by Joseph E. Illick. The author, a noted scholar who has extensively researched William Penn and early Pennsylvania, has written. two books on these subjects, William Penn the Politician and Colonial Pennsylvania: A History.

Penn, when he founded the Commonwealth, created a framework which encouraged broad diversification within its borders. It is this diversity – regional, cultural, ethnic, political, economic, racial and religious – which is empha­sized in this special edition of Heritage. Seven articles, one on each of these topics written by specialists in that partic­ular field, follow Illick’s introductory piece.

Two other books are also offered by the PHMC as part of a Tercentenary publication program. Further informa­tion on the founder of the Commonwealth can be found in William Penn, Architect of a Nation, a broadly inclusive but concise biography by John B. B. Trussell, Jr. Researchers of early Pennsylvania history should also wel­come Unity from Diversity by Louis M. Waddell, a short book containing condensed versions of documents and manuscripts which illuminate important areas of the state’s colonial history, each preceded by a brief historical introduction.

All three publications are available from the Division of History, PHMC, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. To order, mail the blue, tear-out blank in this issue and enclose a check or money order made payable to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, or write to the above address indicating which of the publications you desire.

 

Pennsylvania Profile Soon to be Released

Pennsylvania Preservation Profile, a major historic preservation publication for Pennsylvania analyzing the preservation activities in each of the 67 counties, will soon be released by the PHMC. A photograph representing each county will depict one of the following preservation initiatives or activities: rehabilitation, economic development, re-use, etc. The analysis for each county will detail the Bureau for Historic Preservation’s involvement within each area (such as grants-in-aid, registration, survey and planning) and provide a glimpse at local endeavors and initiatives. The first run of 4,000 of these soft-bound profiles will be distributed to members of the state legislature, the U.S. congressional delegation, county planning commissions, mayors, planners and developers.

 

Vacation in Historic Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s historic sites and museums have always been an attraction for visitors, whether they be residents of Pennsylvania, neighboring states or foreign countries. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has de­veloped a network of museums and acquired and preserved numerous historic sites and properties. In addition, many county and local historical societies operate smaller mu­seums and sites and conduct annual festivals and events which center around Pennsylvania’s rich cultural and ethnic heritage. As the Tercentenary of Pennsylvania’s founding begins, interest in visiting these historic areas and attending planned activities will no doubt increase.

The PHMC, of course, is always happy to provide infor­mation on its programs to anyone who requests it. The Department of Commerce, however, is frequently over­looked as a source of information. It too offers materials and services which can help visitors to the Commonwealth enjoy all that the state has to offer. Available from the Bureau of Travel Development, for example, are annual and quarterly calendars of events, travel brochures, listings of local Travel Promotion Agencies, a free guide to Pennsyl­vania vacations, and much more. Simply write to the Penn­sylvania Department of Commerce, Bureau of Travel Development, South Office Building, Harrisburg 17120, and remember, “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.”

 

Pittsburgh Folk Festival

The twenty-fifth annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival, spon­sored as a community public service by Robert Morris College, will be held May 21-24 [1981] at the Civic Arena in Pitts­burgh. Established in 1956, the festival has continued to grow and flourish due to its unequaled reputation for authenticity, entertainment, good taste and non-commer­cialism. It has truly become a “model” for other folk festivals. Performances and interviews made by educational television, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe have been on numerous occasions rebroadcast across the U.S. and throughout Europe.

Some 3,500 participants ranging in age from 7 to 75 will represent twenty-five nationality groups from in and around the Pittsburgh area. Each group will erect two booths creating an international market place. One booth will contain a display of crafts, books, embroidery, instru­ments and authentic native costumes. Many groups will also offer live demonstrations covering a variety of folk crafts. The second booth will serve as a kitchen for the preparation and sale of food made from treasured family recipes in exquisite old-world tradition. Strolling musicians and spontaneous folk dancing will add to the exciting atmosphere of this festival, as in the past.

Each evening a proportionate number of participating groups will perform as part of a two.hour stage presenta­tion. The program will cover a wide variety of themes from harvest celebrations to weddings, all complete with live music and au then tic native costumes recreating colorful pageants from Pittsburgh’s rich cultural heritage.

For further information on the festivities, contact the Pittsburgh Folk Festival, 610 5th Ave., Pittsburgh 15219 or call (412) 227-6812.