Sol Mednick’s Photography

In the mid-1950s, photographer Sol Mednick (1916–70) created this untitled gelatin silver print. Although no documentation has been found that describes the process by which the artist composed this mysterious, abstract image, it is clear that the camera was not the only tool used to achieve the strange effects in its composition. During the darkroom printing process Mednick apparently exposed...
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Editor’s Letter

Welcome to the first issue of the 45th volume of Pennsylvania Heritage. Since the publication of the premiere edition of December 1974, more than 750 features on Pennsylvania history, culture and natural history by leading authors in their fields, as well as hundreds of columns and news items, have been printed in our quarterly magazine. In this anniversary edition we continue our tradition of...
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Helen Behal’s Jewish Welfare Board Uniform

Although the Armistice of November 11, 1918, brought an effective end to combat in World War I, many U.S. soldiers remained stationed in Europe well into 1919. In some cases, this was to maintain order while the Allies moved toward a peace treaty, but mostly it was part of a winding down process known as demobilization, which involved preparing soldiers for their imminent return to normal life...
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Editor’s Letter

In Pennsylvania Heritage, we often run stories related to current anniversaries. Anniversaries give us the opportunity to focus on moments that have remained significant from our shared past — in our case as a community of Pennsylvanians — to gain a better perspective on what came before us and how the achievements, challenges and even misfortunes of history can instruct us in the present. Three...
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William Curtis Truxal’s Footlocker

William Curtis Truxal (1882–1960) was a 34-year-old attorney residing in Somerset when the Pennsylvania National Guard unit he commanded, Company C of the 10th Infantry Regiment, was mustered into federal service for World War I on July 15, 1917. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, he had first enlisted in the guard as a private in February 1914, and by October of that...
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Editor’s Letter

Forty some years ago, when I was in elementary school, I took a field trip with my science class to The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg to see the dioramas of Pennsylvania’s wildlife in Mammal Hall. Walking around the dark, circular gallery, I peered through windows into the fascinating, realistic habitats of 13 mammals, from the common to the locally extinct, and was transported to...
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Charles Lenker’s M1917 Doughboy Helmet

Charles W. Lenker (1896–1973) of Palmyra, Lebanon County, entered the Army from Lebanon on April 2, 1918, and wore this M1917 steel combat helmet during his service in World War I (also see inside front cover). It is preserved today not only as a relic of the war but also as a fine example of early helmet folk art with its painted record of a soldier’s military service. The steel combat helmet...
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Editor’s Letter

The cover of this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is graced with the famous 1822 painting titled The Artist in His Museum, in which Charles Willson Peale portrayed himself at age 81 in the museum he established in Philadelphia, located at the time in the Long Gallery on the second floor of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall). In the painting, Peale lifts a curtain,...
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Miniature Lord’s Prayer

Why would a calligrapher print the words to the Lord’s Prayer on a 1-inch-square piece of paper in letters so small that one would need a magnifying glass to read it? Even more puzzling: Why would someone fold such a small document to a quarter of its actual size? The answers may have more to do with the spiritual beliefs of some German-speaking Pennsylvanians in the 18th century rather than any...
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Editor’s Letter

Sometimes Pennsylvania history occurs outside the boundaries of the Keystone State. Throughout the past, Pennsylvanians have traveled to other parts of the U.S. or have gone abroad to make their marks in the commonwealth’s history. Pennsylvania’s involvement in World War I is a good example, when soldiers from the state joined their fellow American servicemen in the Allied fight against the...
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