Stability and Change: Culture During Three Periods

“Religion, … the best bond of human society, provided man did not err in the meaning of that excellent word.” – William Penn   Culture, broadly de­fined, is the way of life of a group of people; it includes all their behavioral patterns, beliefs and ar­tistic expressions. Culture is not static; it varies over time and place. Culture does not arise in a vacuum; it...
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Junior Historians Hold Viable Meeting

Questioning a six-year-old recently about her interest in American Indians, one feels that her innocent beliefs are also good, “unschooled” guides as to how to plan the Annual State Convention. As children do when they get together, the annual convention should provide opportunities for Junior Historians to exchange information on their endeavors, and guidance for students to form...
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New Year’s Customs Reviewed

The practice of observing New Year’s festivities is rooted in antiquity. American custom apparently evolved from Dutch and Scottish practices. Young men in old Scotland were in the habit of going from house to house singing ditties in return for money or something to eat. The first evidence of the transference of this custom to America oc­curred in rural New York and Pennsylvania in the...
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Interviews Explore Black Ancestry and Family Relations

Several months ago, Mrs. Amelia Davis of the Up­town Senior Citizen’s Center and I began to tape-record the life histories of the black senior citizens at the Uptown Center in Harrisburg. The idea was to get the life histories of the senior citizens in their own words. Taken together, these recorded histories could give a fair picture of the richness of black family life. So far as the...
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Southern-Born Blacks in Harrisburg, 1920-1950

Beginning in 1974, John Bodnar, Chief of the Division of History of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, some six other inter­viewers, and I have been taping the rich store of memories and experience that is the possession of Pennsylvania’s ethnic, minority, and working-class groups. This material can provide answers to some important historical questions, among them the...
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An Introduction to the Special Issue

This special issue of Pennsylvania Heritage is an attempt at an extended treatment of the life of Black people in Pennsylvania from the American Revolution to World War II. Its chief aim is to trace several aspects of Black life – economic, social, and cultural – in a single issue, and to show how changes in each of the aspects were integrally related to developing Black family and...
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A Story of Accommodation: “I stayed right where I was”

“There’s not a hotel now, not an eating place.”   After the 1890s, the stepped­-up demands of a rapidly ex­panding, industrial culture af­fected even previously isolated, rural sections of America, creating profound tensions between old ways of doing things and the agents of change. There were problems with older habits and values not associated with the demands of modern...
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