Dispatch from Governor Andrew Curtin

A dispatch issued on June 15, 1863, by Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin (1817–1894) to various post offices in Pennsylvania alerted citizens to the imminent arrival of Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee in Pennsylvania. It was the first public notice of the South’s advance on the Keystone State which ultimately resulted in the horrific three-day Battle of Gettysburg waged July 1-3. “Lee...
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Safe Harbor Iron Works Map, 1875

This section of an 1875 map contained in the Map Collection (Manuscript Group 11, Second Geological Survey, Map # 180–40) at the Pennsylvania State Archives depicts the site of the Safe Harbor Iron Works in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, where the three-inch Ordnance Rifle designed by John Griffen (but commonly called a Griffin Gun) was first manufactured and tested in 1855. This wrought...
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First Report of the Historical Commission of Pennsylvania

The First Report of the Historical Commission of Pennsylvania, printed by the New Era Printing Company of Lancaster in 1915, was the first official publication of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission (PHC), forerunner of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). It is contained in “Administrative and Biennial Reports” (Record Series 13.84) of the Pennsylvania State Archives,...
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Woo Hong Neok: A Chinese American Soldier in the Civil War

In the popular imagination, the American Civil War is an extraordinary drama portraying the denouement of the exceptionally serious struggle to preserve the Union and end the institution of slavery. In the unfolding drama the actors on the battlefield, as well as on the home fronts in both the North and the South alike, are nearly always white or black Americans with a smattering of Native...
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1931 Report of Penn Central Light and Power Company

A 1931 report of the Penn Central Light and Power Company, of Altoona, Blair County, is contained in Record Group 14, Records of the Department of Internal Affairs, in record series 14.10, Annual Reports of Manufactured Gas Companies, 1931-1936, 1939-1955, at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. According to these annual reports, forty-four manufactured gas companies were operating in...
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“Atoms for Peace” in Pennsylvania

In 1957, Shippingport, along the Ohio River in far western Pennsylvania, became home to America’s first commercial nuclear power plant under President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. Just two decades later, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) converted the Beaver County plant to a light water breeder reactor that successfully demonstrated the feasibility...
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Photograph of Holtwood Hydroelectric Power Plant

Early twentieth-century proponents of hydroelectricity favored this type of power for a number of reasons: its cost is relatively low, water is a renewable resource, and it does not cause pollution since it does not use fossil fuels. In addition, hydroelectric plants are in operation longer than fossil fuel facilities, require fewer workers, and have lower maintenance costs. A photograph of the...
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Photograph at Shippingport Atomic Power Station

A photograph labeled “Installation of the Final Closure Head,” taken at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, Beaver County, on October 10, 1957, is part of an important new accession documenting the construction and evolution of the world’s first full-scale atomic power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime use received by the Pennsylvania State Archives (PSA) on April 14, 2009. The facility...
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1836 Letter to Senator John Strohm

The John Strohm Papers, 1816– 1874, Manuscript Group 121, held by the Pennsylvania State Archives, contains the correspondence of John Strohm (1793–1884), a Lancaster County Whig who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1831 to 1833, was a state senator from 1834 to 1842, and served two terms in Congress, from 1845 to 1849. Among this correspondence is a letter written by...
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Photograph of Aviator Hubert Fountleroy Julian

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds Manuscript Group 281, the Samuel W. Kuhnert Papers (1897-1976), which contains thirty cubic feet of materials, including more than six thousand photographic prints and negatives depicting the early years of aviation in central Pennsylvania. Born in Steelton, Dauphin County, Samuel W. Kuhnert (1890-1978) grew up on a farm near Halifax, Pennsylvania, and...
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