Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr

Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern Environment, Landscape, Transportation, Energy, and Planning by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr University of Pittsburgh Press, 504 pp., hardcover $40 Discussions of “modern” Pittsburgh often begin and end with the Renaissance, the rightfully lauded postwar effort to spruce up the city’s tarnished image and clear its smoky skies. But there is so much more to...
read more

After Suffrage: Pennsylvania’s Inaugural Class of Women Legislators

“For one born and reared as this writer was in hidebound Pennsylvania, it is startling to find eight women in the Legislature of that State. Moreover, to learn from their men fellow-members of the natural way they take their place and do their work.” – Ida Tarbell, 1924 “I believe these eight women are going to make an impression. I believe they are going to ask themselves on...
read more

Ringing Out for Women’s Suffrage: The 1915 Campaign to Win the Vote for Women in Pennsylvania

  “The appearance in villages of this car with a “Votes for Women” apron in front, yellow pon-pons floating in the breeze and pennants flying, awakens interest in the most lethargic.” – The York Daily, October 25, 1915 On June 24, 1919, Pennsylvania became the seventh state to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. For Philadelphia suffragist...
read more

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, From Tollbooths to Tunnels: Rediscovering America’s First Superhighway at 75

Few Pennsylvania-born celebrities have made the kind of splash that the Pennsylvania Turnpike did when it first arrived on the scene in October 1940. Its 160 miles of limited-access, four-lane paved highway across the Alleghenies were hailed as America’s answer to the Autobahn, Germany’s highly regarded network of high-speed “super roads.” After the war, as the United States’ population expanded...
read more

Curating a New Home for History: A Conversation with W. Fred Kinsey and Irwin Richman

Established institutions rarely get the opportunity to hit the reset button. But that’s what happened with The State Museum of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s, after the long-anticipated William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives Building cleared its last bureaucratic hurdle. Ground was broken north of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, in January 1962, and by summer Pennsylvania’s...
read more

A Home for History: S.K. Stevens and the Campaign for the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives

by Curtis Miner On December 23, 1959, Dr. S.K. Stevens (1904-74) sent out a final, end-of-the-year message to members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). It came in the form of a brief, typewritten memo, informing them that Governor David L. Lawrence (1889-1966) had that morning signed a spending bill for the construction of a museum and archives building. “I think this...
read more

Picture Window Paradise – Welcome to Levittown

“To the outsider, Levittown, Pennsylvania, seems like a vast mirage, a city of 4,000 spanking new ranch homes where a short year ago were acres of corn and wheat … ” Ladies Home Journal, March 1953   On Monday, June 23, 1952, John and Philomena Dougherty packed up their belongings, and with their two daughters in tow, drove from a government housing project in northeast...
read more

And They’re Off! Pennsylvania’s Horse Racing Tradition

Thoroughbred racing doesn’t normally look to Pennsylvania for its next champion, but a small colt may have changed all that. In November 2003, Smarty Jones, foaled in Chester County two years earlier, ran his first competitive race at Philadelphia Park, one of the state’s four licensed horse race tracks. Six months later, on Saturday, May 1, 2004, the plucky little horse became the...
read more

Art with a Purpose: Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Project, 1935-1943

Like other relief programs launched during the Great Depression under the aegis of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the goal of federal arts programs of the 1930s was two-fold: to rescue unemployed Americans from poverty and to produce something of public benefit. One of the unintended byproducts was controversy. In 1937, the Federal Art and Theatre Project unintentionally...
read more