Pennsbury Manor portrait painted by a student of Rembrandt

Pennsbury Manor portrait painted by a student of Rembrandt

In 1946, on the heels of the bicentennial of founder William Penn’s birth, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission acquired a striking portrait entitled Lady Springett. The sitter, Mary Proude Springett Pennington (1625–1682), was the mother of Penn’s first wife, Gulielma Maria Springett (1644–1694). An orphaned heiress at 3 years old, Lady Springett married, in …

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DNC memorabilia highlights Philadelphia’s presidential past

DNC memorabilia highlights Philadelphia’s presidential past

This week, Democratic delegates and party loyalists from around the country are converging on Philadelphia to formally select their candidate. It promises to be a history-making convention, but as this grouping of ephemera reveals, it’s not the first time that Democrats have chosen the City of Brotherly Love for its stage. That distinction was earned …

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Pennsbury Manor portrait painted by a student of Rembrandt

Pennsbury Manor portrait painted by a student of Rembrandt

In 1946, on the heels of the bicentennial of founder William Penn’s birth, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission acquired a striking portrait entitled Lady Springett. The sitter, Mary Proude Springett Pennington (1625–1682), was the mother of Penn’s first wife, Gulielma Maria Springett (1644–1694). An orphaned heiress at 3 years old, Lady Springett married, in …

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Drake Well printing plates: Here’s what early oil producers used for money

Drake Well printing plates: Here’s what early oil producers used for money

Charles Vernon Culver came to the burgeoning Pennsylvania oil fields in 1861 and started the Venango Bank in Franklin, Venango County. At the time, oil producers were in desperate need for banking services, locally, and in eastern cities. In December 1863, Culver and other investors started a bank in Philadelphia and another in New York …

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World Series photograph illustrates one governor’s love of baseball

World Series photograph illustrates one governor’s love of baseball

In this photo preserved by the Pennsylvania State Archives, Gov. David L. Lawrence proudly shows off the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headline detailing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ victory over the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series. Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a home run on a 1-0 pitch from Yankee hurler Ralph Terry over the …

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Clock at Old Economy Village keeps time with history

Clock at Old Economy Village keeps time with history

The main hall of Old Economy Village’s George Rapp House features a tall case clock with quite a history. Its story began in Harmony, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, where the Harmony Society formally organized in 1805. Just arriving in America from Württemberg (now part of Germany), the 800 members of the society pooled their resources …

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Schuylkill County Hercules : Toying with Pennsylvania’s mining history

Schuylkill County Hercules : Toying with Pennsylvania’s mining history

Handcrafted around 1950 by John Mayza of Schuylkill County for his nephew Dan Canavan, this toy dragline excavator is constructed from materials normally found at an anthracite coal colliery. Currently on exhibit at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, the toy sports the name Hercules painted across the cab section. Interestingly, the name predates the artifact, …

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Dauphin County projectile point collection dates to the Ice Age

Dauphin County projectile point collection dates to the Ice Age

This week’s Pennsylvania Treasure is the fluted projectile point collection from the Shoop archaeological site in Dauphin County. These artifacts, some of the oldest in the collections kept by The State Museum’s Section of Archaeology, hail from a site that made a significant contribution to our understanding of past cultural behavior in the Eastern United …

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A North American giant : Tracking the disappearance of the Eastern Hellbender

A North American giant : Tracking the disappearance of the Eastern Hellbender

Pennsylvania is home to an eastern North American giant and entirely aquatic salamander known as the Eastern Hellbender, otherwise called the Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. This magnificent creature grows to roughly 2 feet in length while remaining nearly flat as a pancake. Why? These cryptic animals rest by day under the flat rocks found within the cold, …

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Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

More than 100 years ago, the race to claim the North Pole was a significant feat which many had tried, but none had succeeded. The opportunity to join Admiral Robert Peary’s 1908-1909 expedition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young physician from western Pennsylvania. Doctor John W. Goodsell (1873-1949), a native of New Kensington, Westmoreland …

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World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

Memorial Day, as the day has come to be known, traces its origins to the American Civil War. People observed the day, initially known as Decoration Day, by decorating the graves of Union soldiers who had fallen in battle. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, selected May 30 as the …

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