Remembering TMI 40 Years Later

In late March 1979, south-central Pennsylvanians were startled to learn of an accident that had occurred at Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in the Susquehanna River near Middletown, Dauphin County. In my own experience, the initial news came to me at Dallastown Elementary School in York County after a teacher shouted out to my fifth-grade class to come back inside the school building...
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Sydney Ware, Eastern State Penitentiary Artist

Built in the 1820s as part of a new type of prison system, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was founded on the belief that prisoners could be rehabilitated during incarceration through separate confinement and industrious labor. During the penitentiary’s span of operation, 1829–1971, numerous records were compiled about the inmates and maintained at the prison, including statistics on...
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Readco and the Transition to Military Manufacturing in World War II

Once the United States entered World War II in December 1941, every facet of American life was affected. The unprecedented quantities of ammunition, weapons and vehicles required to sustain the war effort called for many Pennsylvania manufacturers to retool their production to fulfill these critical needs. Companies like Ford’s assembly plant in Chester, Delaware County, began producing military...
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Major League Murder

Samuel Byrem “Red” Crane’s life was one of extremes. Born on September 13, 1894, in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, he achieved the pinnacle of his chosen profession early in his adult life, playing seven seasons in Major League Baseball. He played for the Philadelphia Athletics, 1914–16, and the Washington Senators, 1917, before a two-year hiatus in the minor leagues, 1918–19. He returned to MLB,...
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Sallie the Dog and the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers

The 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment originally entered service near the beginning of  the American Civil War on April 26, 1861, as a three-month unit. Later that year, many of its soldiers reenlisted in the three-year regiment. The men of the 11th were eventually classified as veteran volunteers; they fought at Falling Waters, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericks-...
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Aeroplane Reconnaissance Photography in World War I

World War I marked a significant turning point in the history of armed conflict for many reasons, not the least of which was the development of more sophisticated reconnaissance. For thousands of years, men on horseback served as the main vehicle for information-gathering in most armies. With the proliferation of trench warfare and the mechanization of equipment in the Great War, the horse...
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Setting Boundaries: The Penn-Baltimore Agreement

By 1730 violence had broken out between Pennsylvania and Maryland colonists over conflicting border claims. On May 10, 1732, Charles Calvert (1699–1751), Fifth Lord Baltimore and proprietary governor of Maryland, established a provisional agreement with William Penn’s sons, John (1700–46), Thomas (1702–75) and Richard Sr. (1706–71), proprietors of Pennsylvania, to survey their mutual border. At...
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Herb Pennock, Baseball Hall of Famer and World War I Vet

Herbert Jefferis “Herb” Pennock (1894-1948) was born and raised in Kennett Square, Chester County. He was reared in the Religious Society of Friends, or Quaker, faith. He was the son of Mary L. (Sharp) and Theodore Pennock, a well-to-do businessman whose lineage in Pennsylvania stretched back to 1685, when Christopher Pennock immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland. Nicknamed the...
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Leroy Horlacher, World War I Conscientious Objector

During World War I, by the time of the first national registration on June 5, 1917, approximately 6,000 American men applied as conscientious objectors. Leroy Horlacher (1894–1981) was one of them. Horlacher was born in Hazleton, Luzerne County, where he began working at an early age in the silk mills as a weaver. In 1915 he became a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or the...
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Recruitment, Conservation and Liberty Bonds: Posters and the War to End All Wars

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds a large and significant collection of World War I posters – 460 in all – that were hung throughout the Keystone State and around the country during the Great War. Many of these posters were produced on a national scale, although some were created specifically in Pennsylvania. The posters provide a fascinating glimpse at the means by which valued...
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