Pennsylvania Copperheads: Traitors or Peacemakers?

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Panic swept through Philadelphia in 1860, gripping manufacturers and merchants in its throes as southern slave states threatened to leave the federal union. The South had grown into an enormous market for Philadelphia’s merchants, and the city’s textile manufacturers depended on Dixie to supply the cotton they needed. Fears of secession and resulting massive unemployment prompted Mayor Alexander Henry (1823–1883) to call a meeting on December 13, 1860, at Independence Hall to address the impending crisis. Many Philadelphians worried secession would surely doom the giant textile factories and their enormous work forces, as well as suppliers and the mercantile trade, possibly harming the city’s buoyant economy for many years to come.

Thousands of concerned citizens gathered, some of whom called for concessions to the southern states. Others advocated repeal of the Pennsylvania personal liberty laws and strict enforcement of the federal 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which would have ended protection for runaway slaves and free blacks. Among the many speakers, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice George Washington Woodward (1809–1875), asserted “human bondage and property in man is divinely ordained” and “Negro slavery has been an incalculable blessing to us.”

Organizers convened similar meetings that month in Reading, Easton, Germantown, and Williamsport. The secession crisis spawned the emergence of a new political movement of peace seekers in the Keystone State, whom opponents derisively labeled Copperheads. Detractors identified a Copperhead – a derogatory term inspired by the common name of the venomous pit viper, Agkistrodon contortrix – as a northern Democrat who sympathized with the South during the Civil War and called for an end to the conflict. Critics derided Copperheads as dastardly, disloyal, and traitorous. Most Copperheads saw themselves as the loyal opposition and defenders of the U. S. Constitution. Some wanted peace at any price, even if it required concessions, including recognition of the Confederacy and an expansion and protection of slavery. To the chagrin of Unionists, some peace Democrats embraced the Copperhead epithet as a badge of honor and rejected any pejorative inferences. Many cut the bust of Liberty, portrayed as a Native American wearing a feather bonnet, from copper one-cent coins (popularly known as Indian head pennies) to make Copperhead badges, which they wore proudly and defiantly. For this, critics vehemently denounced Copperheads for mutilating American coinage.

Copperheads lived in all parts of the Commonwealth, but the geographic strongholds of the peace movement were in Philadelphia, the southeastern counties, the counties bordering the Mason-Dixon Line, and the northeastern hard coal region. Family, social,and economic ties to the South fueled resistance in Philadelphia and the southern counties. Economics played into antiwar sentiment in the coalfields. Immigrant miners and factory workers both feared their employers would use black freedmen as a source of cheap labor and take their jobs. Copperheads also denounced fighting a war for the benefit of African Americans, whom many white Americans regarded as inferior.

After voters elected Abraham Lincoln president on November 6, 1860 – without one electoral vote from the South – southern threats of secession welled. Until the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, just five weeks after Lincoln’s inauguration, Copperheads staged rallies throughout Pennsylvania advocating appeasement. At the largest rally, on January 16, 1861, at Philadelphia’s National Hall on Market Street, a crowd of four thousand carried signs bearing sentiments such as JUSTICE TO THE SOUTH and NO CIVIL WAR. Although Unionists attempted to disrupt the meeting – one Unionist, reported the New York Times, was thrown out a window – organizers passed several resolutions calling for concessions to the slave states.

The Crittenden Compromise, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice George Washington Woodward (left) called slavery a “blessing.” Pennsylvania’s Senator William Bigler favored compromise proposed by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden and favored by southern senators, Pennsylvania’s Senator William Bigler (1814–1880), and President James Buchanan, in office from 1857 to 1861, called for amendments to the U. S. Constitution to reestablish the 1820 Missouri Compromise and extend its dividing line between free and slave territories west to the Pacific Ocean. Reinstitution of the compromise would have guaranteed slavery south of latitude 36° 30’ north. The majority in Congress believed the proposal was no compromise at all and yielded far too many concessions to the South.

Philadelphia lawyer William Bradford Reed (1806–1876), a former minister to China during the Buchanan administration, proposed a radical resolution should the South break away from the Union. He believed Pennsylvania should assemble a convention to determine “with whom her lot should be cast, whether with the North and East, whose fanaticism has precipitated this misery upon us, or with her brethren of the South, whose wrongs we feel as our own, or whether Pennsylvania should stand by herself, as a distinct community ready when occasion offers to bind together the broken Union, and resume her place of loyalty and devotion.” Reed’s views may have been extreme, but author Arnold M. Shankman, in his 1980 book, The Pennsylvania Antiwar Movement, 1861–1865, based on a critical assessment of the papers of Senators Crittenden, and Simon Cameron and Bigler, of Pennsylvania, concluded that more than one-third of Pennsylvania voters supported some sort of appeasement of the South, and roughly 5 percent favored joining the Confederacy.

When the Civil War erupted, it silenced most Pennsylvania Copperheads’ cries for peace. Some Democrats, including Buchanan, who had favored a compromise, saw the need to quash the rebellion and support the war effort. As the war gained momentum, its critics faced reprisals from their neighbors. Unionist mobs, particularly in Philadelphia, took to the streets, threatening the property and person of anyone they suspected of disloyalty. On April 14, 1861, a Unionist crowd assembled at the offices of the Palmetto Flag, a Copperhead newspaper, and demanded that the editor display the flag of the United States as a symbol of loyalty. The editor complied and the mob then visited the homes of Southerners and Copperheads, including Reed, to make similar demands. The addresses of many the mob threatened had appeared in a local newspaper.

Later that year, John Hodgson, editor of the West Chester Jeffersonian informed his readers that the war would benefit only “n–rs” and discouraged his readers from enlisting in the Army. A mob of Unionists destroyed his office on August 19, 1861, and two days later, the federal government shut down his newspaper. Philadelphian Robert Tyler (1816–1877), son of former President John Tyler, advocated that the United States adopt the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, after which an angry throng assembled, intending to lynch him. Tyler escaped to Richmond, Virginia, where he took a position in the Confederate government.

Roughly two thousand Pennsylvanians joined the Confederate States Army for a variety of reasons, including their belief in the cause, a desire to protect their business interests in the South, and family connections. Three Pennsylvanians who had married Southerners attained important positions. General Josiah Gorgas (1818–1883), of Dauphin County, served as chief of Confederate ordnance and was largely responsible for keeping the rebel armies supplied with weapons and ammunition during the war. Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton (1814–1881) of Philadelphia defended Vicksburg during General Ulysses S. Grant’s siege. Brigadier General Johnson Kelly Duncan (1827–1862) of York County commanded the southern defenses of New Orleans.

Mounting losses for the Union Army prompted the peace movement to once again become vociferous. By 1862, several of the Keystone State’s congressmen, including Democratic Representative Hendrick B. Wright (1808–1881), of Wilkes-Barre, and Republican Senator Edgar Cowan (1815–1885), of Greensburg, hadexpressed their displeasure with Lincoln’s administration. Copperhead newspapers throughout the Commonwealth resumed – or in some cases, continued – publishing biting criticisms of the president and his policies, especially the suspension of habeas corpus. According to Lincoln, “disloyal persons [were] not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law.”

On September 24, 1862, he issued a proclamation placing all who discouraged enlistments, resisted the draft, and “guilty of any disloyal practice,” under the jurisdiction of the military courts, and suspended habeas corpus. Army officials could incarcerate dissidents without bringing charges against them. Outraged, Copperheads denounced the proclamation as a violation of basic civil liberties, including freedom of the press. The administration used its powers to imprison the nation’s newspaper editors who criticized the war.

Albert D. Boileau, editor of the Evening Journal, Philadelphia’s only Democratic daily newspaper at the time, was a political moderate, but he frequently delegated his editorial responsibilities to colleagues. On January 20, 1863, the newspaper published an editorial comparing a speech made by Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States (and a West Point graduate and former secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce), to one given by Lincoln. The editorial concluded Davis was the better speaker and possessed greater intellect of the two and labeled Lincoln a fool. Eight days later, federal troops arrested Boileau, who had no knowledge of the piece, whisked him away to Fort McHenry at Baltimore, and suppressed the newspaper. The federal government incarcerated both Northerners with southern sympathies and Confederate prisoners at Fort McHenry.

Some Philadelphians sympathized with Boileau, but in a newspaper sampling of public opinion, one man responded, “I’m sorry for Al Boileau and only wish the government would hang those who write his satanic articles.” In a rather backhanded defense, another individual commented, “Mr. Boileau never wrote an article in his life.” Meanwhile, the actual writer of the inflammatory piece – none other than William Bradford Reed – went unpunished. His association with the Copperhead movement, however, cost him clients and eventually ruined his law practice.

Democratic newspapers condemned Boileau’s arrest as a blatant – and illegal – violation of civil liberties. Even some Unionists wondered if the arrest was a mistake. The Boileau case outraged the Democratic majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. House members passed a resolution protesting the arrest and a bill that would outlaw the transport of prisoners beyond state borders before being charged with a crime. The Republican-controlled state senate quickly rejected both. Boileau eventually secured his own release by writing a letter of apology, explaining his ignorance of the contents of the editorial and swearing that his newspaper would never again print anything of the kind as long as he worked there. Upon his release, he swiftly cut ties with the Evening Journal.

The courts were not entirely unsympathetic to those arrested without habeas corpus. Some prisoners were released without comment, while others secured their freedom by signing loyalty pledges. Even the pro-government Philadelphia Public Ledger noted loyalty pledges had little value since they “were made under threats or hopes of release. . . one conviction of a man before a jury would be worth a hundred times more than any declaration made while under restraint and made in hope of liberation.”

Copperheads faced greater threats from mob violence than from suppression and imprisonment. Mob terrorism continued throughout the war. On May 20, 1863, an unruly crowd, enraged at a newspaper’s “disloyal” sentiments, destroyed the offices of the Huntingdon Monitor, established in August 1862 and edited by Albert Owen. “Some were engaged with tearing the papers into shreds,” reported Huntingdon’s competing newspaper, the Journal and American, “others in demolishing the cases and furniture, a few stalwart fellows were breaking the press to pieces with hammers and axes, many were scattering the types through the streets, one was industriously engaged in sweeping the office, and all were shouting as if their throats would crack, the principal cry being, ‘Down with Copperhead Traitors! How are you Copperbottoms!’”

Other newspapers, including the Carlisle American Volunteer, the Kittanning Mentor, the Sunbury Northumberland County Democrat, and the Meadville Crawford Democrat suffered similar consequences. Known for his contentiousness and combativeness, Franklin Weirick, editor of the Selinsgrove Times, encouraged local men not to enlist, enraging a group of war veterans who attempted to lynch him. Weirick, with the rope around his neck, managed to save himself at the last moment by grumbling, “Three cheers for the Union.”

As deadlier and more costly battles crippled the North, the administration’s opponents faced increasing risks. This did not deter Pennsylvania’s Copperhead publishers who stepped up their criticism of what they called “Lincoln’s war.” In January 1862, Reed succeeded in regaining Hodgson’s legal right to print and distribute the Jeffersonian through the mail. Hodgson continued his criticism of the war and the president, ridiculing Lincoln as a “jester and buffoon.”

President Lincoln faced vicious, often highly personal attacks in newspapers throughout Pennsylvania, indicating widespread opposition. The Lancaster Intelligencer derided him as “a miserable low buffoon [who] disgraces the presidential chair.” The Harrisburg Patriot and Union described him as “more like a well-trained monkey than a man of sense and a gentleman.” The Juniata True Democrat, in a reference to the ancient biblical king of Babylon, railed against “the Belshazzar of America . . . [who] robs the people of freedom and protection and revels with the sacred thing in the Temple of Liberty.” Snyder County’s unrepentant Weirick, undaunted by his narrow escape from lynching, was perhaps the harshest critic in the Commonwealth. On Christmas Day 1863, he published a scathing denunciation of Lincoln in the Selinsgrove Times.

… One of the most deceptive, cold-blooded, unfeeling and basest men. He is a bloody monster. He is hell’s Pandora box brought to earth, and [opened] for the destruction of this foolish people who hug him to their bosoms until, like an Egyptian adder, he stings them to death. … He is a liar, a thief, a robber, a brigand, a pirate, a perjurer, a traitor, a coward, a hypocrite, a cheat, a trickster, a murderer, a tyrant, an unmitigated scoundrel, and an infernal fool … like [Attila], who ordered the strangulation of the slaves who dug his grave to prevent them discovering it to his enemies, this modern tyrant will yet order those to be strangled who, at his bidding, dug the grave of liberty, to prevent them and the people from regaining it.

The federal authorization of the state draft to meet militia quotas in 1862 and the passage of the federal Conscription Act in 1863 gave the Keystone State’s Copperheads yet another reason for protest. Critics condemned the draft as unconstitutional. Especially offensive was the $300 commutation fee, a payment that excused those who could afford it from service, which detractors claimed made the war a poor man’s fight. While Unionists claimed the Democratic draft resisters were cowards, Democrats, in the words of the Meadville Crawford Democrat, were “willing to fight for Uncle Sam, but … not inclined to fight for Uncle Sambo.” Draft officials in Pennsylvania faced threats, if not actual violence. Desertion spiraled. In 1864, five officers were killed while attempting to arrest deserters in Pennsylvania. Young men turned to pacifist sects, including Quaker and Mennonite, which, in the words of the provost marshal of Pennsylvania, “experienc[ed] more than a revival. … A man who is coward enough to change his religion to keep out of service is not likely to have been anything but uniformly and consistently a coward.”

Resistance to the draft grew fiercest in northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region, where miners saw little reason to leave their jobs and families to risk their lives for African Americans far below the Mason-Dixon Line. On October 16, 1862, in Cass Township, Schuylkill County, marshaled by the Molly Maguires (a secret society of miners that terrorized mine owners and bosses), a crowd of roughly one thousand men prevented a trainload of conscripts from departing for Harrisburg. Confronted by the sheer enormity of the resistance, Commonwealth officials believed it more prudent to avoid bloodshed than to enforce the draft. It excused the township’s conscripts from the draft and secured false documents making it seem as if the township had met its draft quota. To avoid potential riots during the state draft in Philadelphia, government leaders also used the so-called “paper conscripts” to satisfy the city’s quota. In July 1863, in the wake of the epic New York City Draft Riots, several horrifying days of mayhem and bloodshed, Philadelphia’s federal draft took place without significant outbreaks of violence. Despite regional hostility and scattered protests countered by military force, most communities in the Commonwealth complied with the laws.

The draft also stirred the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with its Democratic majority. On November 9, 1863, in the case of Kneedler vs. Lane, the conservative court struck down the draft law, arguing that the Constitution did not grant Congress the right to draft the state militia and that the law violated states’ rights. The federal government ignored the court’s ruling and continued drafting Pennsylvanians, which caused vehement outcry from Democrats. Pennsylvania averted a confrontation with Lincoln’s administration when the term of Justice Walter Lowery, who voted in favor of the decision, ended shortly afterward. After his replacement by Daniel Agnew, a supporter of the war, the court reversed its decision on January 16, 1864. This was not the first time the Commonwealth’s highest court clashed with the Republican administration.

In 1862, conservative justices ruled that under the state constitution, soldiers could not vote outside of their home districts (see “Supporting the Troops: Soldiers’ Right to Vote in Civil War Pennsylvania” by Jonathan W. White, Winter 2006). This, combined with Pennsylvania voters’ fear of Lincoln’s proposed emancipation of slaves, enabled conservative Democrats in the 1862 midterm election to take control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and gain four seats in the U.S. Congress. Despite their minority in the state senate, Democrats successfully elected war critic Charles R. Buckalew (1821–1899) in 1863 to the U.S. Senate. Until states ratified the U.S. Constitution’s Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, state legislatures, not voters, selected U.S. senators.

In an attempt to stem the migration of free blacks into the Commonwealth, members of the state legislature drafted two joint resolutions. One resolution protested to President Lincoln that the Emancipation Proclamation was illegal and unconstitutional. The second resolution called for a convention of the states to reinforce the U.S. Constitution in the spirit intended by the nation’s founders. Many believed that the Constitution as originally written did not prohibit slavery. The house added about a dozen other resolutions, including support for preservation of the Union and not ending hostilities at the price of Southern independence. This package passed the house 50 to 44 on April 13, 1863. The house also passed a bill instructing Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators to oppose a U.S. Treasury payment of twenty-million dollars to compensate Missouri slave owners for emancipated slaves. The bill’s sponsors opposed the U.S. public paying compensation. None of the legislation reached the state senate floor. Some state senators also declared that preventing freed blacks from migrating to Pennsylvania would be unconstitutional.

Democrats in Pennsylvania set their sights on a greater target – the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg. In 1863, their candidate was the ubiquitous Copperhead Justice Woodward, pitted against Republican incumbent Andrew Gregg Curtin (1817–1894). In addition to hailing slavery as an “incalculable blessing,” Woodward ruled against soldier suffrage outside their home precincts. During the gubernatorial campaign, Woodward remained on the bench, in large part to hide his antiwar sentiments, hoping to appeal to war Democrats. State Republicans denounced him as disloyal to the nation. Woodward fiercely denied the charges, pointing out that his son served in the Union army and that he had given money to his son’s regiment.

As summer 1863 opened, the race was too close to call, but the Battle of Gettysburg during the first three days of July irrevocably altered the course of the election held four months later. If Union Generals George Gordon Meade and Winfield S. Hancock emerged as Pennsylvania’s military heroes at Gettysburg, Curtin became its political hero, calling for volunteers to defend “their own homes, firesides, and property” from the “large rebel force” that had violated the Commonwealth’s boundaries. Woodward echoed his opponent’s call for volunteers to “expel the invaders from our borders” but, unlike Curtin, he was in no position to take direct action in response to the Confederate invasion.

The Union’s victory at Gettysburg greatly diminished Woodward’s chances in the October election. Curtin narrowly escaped defeat, winning by only about sixteen thousand votes of roughly a half-million ballots cast. Woodward fared better than Clement L. Vallandigham (1820–1871), the nation’s most famous Copperhead, who was soundly defeated in his bid to become governor of Ohio. Republicans in charge of the military and the government sent as many Pennsylvania soldiers as they could spare home in order to vote for Curtin, and this, according to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, was the reason for Curtin’s victory. Although defeated, Woodward continued to be a thorn in the side of the Unionists. After the election, he ruled the draft unconstitutional, and then wrote the dissenting opinion when the court reversed itself.

In 1863, Pennsylvania Democrats lost control of the state house, yielded a chair on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and fell one seat shy of gaining a majority in the state senate. Although the war had turned in favor of the Union, and Copperheads suffered numerous election defeats, they resolutely continued their opposition to Lincoln and the war.

Pennsylvania’s Copperheads maintained an optimistic outlook into 1864, although that year brought doom to their movement. The Democrats hoped they could defeat their greatest and reviled enemy, Lincoln, in the presidential election. The Democratic Party adopted a platform calling for an end to the war and nominated Ohio’s U. S. Representative “Gentleman George” H. Pendleton (1825–1889), a peace candidate, for vice president. For president, the party selected Pennsylvania native General George B. McClellan (1826–1885), a war Democrat who rejected the party’s peace platform. Although Lincoln’s opponent was not a peace Democrat, many Pennsylvanians who despised Lincoln preferred to vote for McClellan. Lincoln himself, as late as October 1864, counted Pennsylvania as a McClellan victory in his informal tallying of electoral votes, and doubted his reelection. An amendment to the state constitution (Article III, Section IV) in August 1864 allowed soldier absentee voting in time for the presidential election, and Lincoln carried the Commonwealth by a scant twenty thousand votes. Without the soldiers’ ballots, Lincoln might have lost Pennsylvania. Democrats lost four seats in the U.S. Congress, three in the state senate, and twelve in the state house. Following this Unionist victory, with the war progressing well for the North, the Copperhead movement faded, even though a few stubborn voices refused to be silenced.

Although not all Democrats were Copperheads, the party’s association with the peace movement undermined its credibility following the Union victory in the Civil War. In the ensuing decades, Republicans made sure the memory of it – and its ties to the Democratic Party – lived in the minds of Pennsylvania’s voters. This, along with the establishment of an efficient political machine, allowed the Republicans to dominate politics in Pennsylvania from the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression.

 

Travel Tips

Before retracing the Keystone State’s Civil War trails, travelers are encouraged to consult a highly recommended (and colorful) guidebook, Pennsylvania Civil War Trails: The Guide to Battle Sites, Monuments, Museums and Towns (2007), by Tom Huntington. Although the book includes information about the most obvious attraction – the hallowed ground of the Gettysburg battlefield – Civil War aficionados will also discover trails to fascinating historic sites throughout Pennsylvania’s southern counties. Communities large and small have preserved many visible reminders of direct encounters with the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.

Gettysburg National Military Park in Adams County draws international visitors to the site of the war’s epic battle in July 1863. Each summer, players reenact Pickett’s charge, the battle’s high-water mark, with spectacular realism. Visitors may tour, at no charge, the battlegrounds and memorials representing both Northern and Southern combatants, add educational programs, or choose professional guides or self-guided audio tours. A new visitors center and museum is scheduled to open in 2008.

The National Civil War Museum, located in an impressive edifice on Harrisburg’s highest hill in Reservoir Park, opened on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 2001. It holds more than 24,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents and takes an unusually unbiased approach. Multi-media exhibits add visual excitement to displays of Union and Confederate uniforms and weaponry, an unblinking look at slavery, a field surgical hospital exhibit, and other wartime artifacts, enhanced with electronic battle maps, video, and captivating audio narration. Short film docudramas throughout the museum follow the lives of two typical Northern and Southern families as they attempt to comprehend the conflict.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg adds greatly to the Civil War enthusiast’s experience. Peter F. Rothermel’s enormous painting, The Battle of Gettysburg, sets the tone for viewing artifacts, paintings, and memorabilia in the museum’s permanent Civil War Gallery. Historians, genealogists, and students may also be interested in the Pennsylvania State Archives, adjacent to the museum, where the archivists are conserving the Muster Rolls of the Commonwealth’s Civil War soldiers to make them accessible. Researchers can easily locate individual records of Pennsylvania’s soldiers, indexed and searchable by surname, at both the archives and on the Internet.

The world’s oldest Civil War museum, the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia, was founded in 1888, in part, by a group of Civil War veterans. In 2003, the museum added the Underground Railroad as a topic to expand its collections, research, and educational programs. Weaponry, collections pertaining to Abraham Lincoln, George G. Meade, and Ulysses S. Grant, a vintage music collection, a medical and surgical collection, and portraits are among its displays. The museum will move its 3,000 artifacts and 14,000 photographs, books, and art in 2009 to Independence National Historical Park.

 

For Further Reading

Blair, William, and William Pencak, eds. Making and Remaking Pennsylvania’s Civil War. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.

Huntington, Tom. Pennsylvania Civil War Trails: The Guide to Battle Sites, Monuments, Museums and Towns. Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg: Stackpole Books and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2007.

Miller, Randall M., and William Pencak, eds. Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2002.

Shankman, Arnold M. The Pennsylvania Antiwar Movement, 1861–1865. Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1980.

Zornow, William Frank. Lincoln & the Party Divided. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972.

 

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of his faculty mentor, Dr. Charles Hardy III, professor of history at West Chester University, who has participated in the development of content for ExplorePAhistory.

The editor thanks Richard C. Saylor of the Pennsylvania State Archives for his review of this article prior to publication.

 

Timothy Kehm, of Chester County, is an undergraduate history student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He will graduate in December 2007 and plans to pursue a career in teaching. He has contributed an article that focuses on Pennsylvania’s role in the years leading up to the Civil War to the award-winning website, ExplorePAhistory. A partnership of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and WITF, Inc., central Pennsylvania’s PBS and NPR affiliate, ExplorePAhistory was launched in 2003.