Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Henz History Center
Heinz History Center

Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center

Help support our region’s legacy by making a contribution to the History Center.
Heinz History Center
Home > Blog
Heinz History Center

Friday, December 10, 2010

Publications and Book Reviews

By: Kelly Anderson, publications intern, Senator John Heinz History Center

Remember Me: Civil War Letters Home from a Hospital Steward, 1862-1864; Daniel McKinley Martin

By Alan I. West
(Chicora, Pa.: Firefly Publications, 2010)
328 pps., softcover $29.95

“The life of a soldier is a hard one.” Writing to his wife and family in Pittsburgh, Daniel McKinley Martin recounted the daily struggles of a hospital steward in the Civil War. Martin’s letters illustrate major issues of the day, such as the relationship between husband and wife, abolition, and 19th century medical practices on the battlefield. Local author Alan West has carefully transcribed those letters and, with his additional commentary, put Martin in his historical context for the modern reader.

The Texture of Contact: European and Indian Settler Communities on the Frontiers of Iroquoia, 1667-1783
By David L. Preston
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009)
395 pps., hardcover $45.00

In a fascinating work based on primary source research, Citadel professor David Preston takes another look at history’s preconceived notions regarding settler and Indian interactions in the colonial period. Focusing on the daily contact between colonists and Native Americans, Preston argues that the groups adapted to one another in an unofficial manner, since “[c]ulture did not always overshadow the settlers’ common humanity.” His area of interest includes the Ohio River valley in the 18th century, especially the Delaware community near Fort Kittanning.

A Mother’s Story: Memories from the Turtle Creek Valley
By Maryann B. Lawrence(New York: iUniverse Inc., 2010)
131 pps., softcover $14.95

In the small town of Turtle Creek, on top of a hill known as Electric Plan, Maryann Lawrence experienced the tumult and tranquility of early 20th century America. Her memoir recounts life as the granddaughter of German and Polish immigrants, her family’s struggles through the Great Depression and World War II, and the prosperity they witnessed in the 1950s and ’60s. Readers who enjoy tales of small town life and the American experience will appreciate Lawrence’s touching vignettes.

Pennsylvania Crude: Boomtowns and Oil Barons
By Paul Adomites
(Bradford, Pa.: Forest Press, 2010)
116 pps., hardcover $39.95

Western Pennsylvania’s oil heritage, both past and present, comes to life in Paul Adomites’ latest work. The Pittsburgh native recounts the history of petroleum in the region, from Native Americans’ use of the substance to Drake’s famous well and the modern industry, with side trips to other points of interest. Colorful characters and events are portrayed in vivid detail through the lens of photographer Ed Bernik. Newcomers to the subject as well as oil history buffs will also enjoy Pennsylvania Crude’s bonus DVD that takes viewers on an enjoyable road trip through the area’s oil fields.

Citizen Environmentalists
By James Longhurst
(Medford, Mass.: Tufts University Press, 2010)
238 pps., softcover $35.00

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor James Longhurst uses Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) to illustrate the involvement of average citizens in the fight against pollution during the late 1960s and early 1970s. His account details the beginnings of the anti-pollution movement, especially amongst middle class women, and further investigates their clash with anti-regulation groups. The drama is set against the backdrop of the declining steel industry in Pittsburgh at the time and in the context of the national environmentalist movement.

Images of America: Cascade Park
By Anita DeVivo and the Lawrence County Historical Society
(Chicago: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2010)
127 pps., softcover $21.99

Anita DeVivo, with the help of the Lawrence County Historical Society, has composed a photographic walk through New Castle’s historic Cascade Park. Now 113 years old, the picturesque grounds have attracted citizens of Western Pennsylvania and the nation at large to its roller coasters, dance hall, and famous vinegar-drenched French fries. Photographs of Cascade Park capture its long history, from Victorian picnics and Roaring Twenties boat rides, to 1940s dance scenes and modern efforts of local citizens to restore their community’s park to its former glory.

Letters from the Storm: The Intimate Civil War Letters of Lt. J. A. H. Foster, 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers
By Linda Foster Arden, edited by Dr. Walter L. Powell
(Chicora, Pa.: Firefly Publications, 2010)
351 pps., softcover $29.95

After reading the letters of her great-great grandfather John Alexander Foster, author Linda Foster Arden felt compelled to share his impressions of service in the Civil War with a wider audience. A jeweler from Rural Valley, Armstrong County, Foster volunteered to serve with the Army of the Potomac in 1862. His letters to his wife detail life in camp, his various engagements, and his concerns about family affairs, and also provide a unique look at a passionate 19th century marriage.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Publications and Book Reviews

By: Kelly Anderson, publications intern, Senator John Heinz History Center

To Petersburg with the Army of the Potomac: The Civil War Letters of Levi Bird Duff, 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers
By Levi Bird Duff, Edited by Jonathan E. Helmreich
www.mcfarlanpub.com (800)-253-2187

The correspondence between Levi Bird Duff and his wife Harriet presents an extraordinary look into the emotional and physical challenges facing a young soldier and his family during the Civil War. Duff served as a soldier in the Army of the Potomac from 1861 to 1864. His letters show an advanced level of “literacy, descriptions and continuity, the strength of opinions expressed and their source” a young private who rose through the ranks of the army and express the difficult decisions many soldiers had to make “between the conflicting calls of duty and affection.”

A Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania: Creating Economic Networks in Early America, 1790 – 1807
By Diane Wenger
(University Park, PA: Penn State University Press 2008)
280 pps., hardcover $55.00

In the early days of America, the general store was a small-town staple that has all but disappeared from towns and cities. In A Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania, Diane E. Wenger analyzes the records of Samuel Rex, a small town shop owner in Schaefferstown Pennsylvania. These records provide “the means for contesting the established model of how early American commerce functioned.” In Wenger’s detailed account of Rex, she has given the early American shopkeeper a “much broader historical” historical context as she uses his records to exemplify a model of early American commerce and small town trade.

Ukrainians of Western Pennsylvania
By Stephen P. Haluszczak
(Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing 2009)
128 pps., softcover $21.99’

Local historian Stephen P. Haluszczak’s latest work was written in the hopes that “readers will develop a better understanding of the Ukrainians who immigrated to the region.” This book is a testament to the hardworking past to the Ukrainians, and their individual achievements, which built upon the “strong and colorful Western Pennsylvania” community. Haluszczak uses the imagery of the worker bee in order to illustrate the ways in which communities were set up, and how immigrant families were able to preserve their rich heritage throughout all four waves of Ukrainian immigration to the United States.

Postcard History Series: Pittsburgh 1900-1945

By Michael Eversmeyer
(Charleston, SC : Arcadia Publishing 2009)
127 pps., softcover $21.99

The history of Pittsburgh has been preserved in many ways: architecturally, in archives, museum exhibits, heritage festivals, and in many more varieties. One outlet that is explored in this book is the postcardmania that overtook the region between 1900 and 1945. Eversmeyer explores the cultural history of Pittsburgh using this phenomenon as the basis for showing the city to “illustrate the power, wealth, and beauty of the city. . . during its era of industrial greatness.”

Images of America: Pittsburgh 1758-2008

By The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
(Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing 2008)
127 pps., softcover $21.99

Images of America constructs Pittsburgh’s “evolution from strategic fort in the wilderness to bustling industrial workshop to high-tech center for universities and health care.” This book was prepared from and earlier book A Pittsburgh Album which commemorated the city’s bicentennial and following this tradition, Pittsburgh 1758-2008 was published to make the city’s 250th birthday. This photo story helps to tell the history of Pittsburgh through images that connect all aspects of Pittsburgh life and culture, from immigration, food, and churches, and clubs, no aspects of the traditions of Pittsburgh are forgotten.

Norvelt: A New Deal Subsistence Homestead
By Sandra Wolk Schimizzi with Valeria Sofranko Wolk, Introduction by Michael Cary
(Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2010)
127 pps. Softcover $21.99

In 1934, the town of Norvelt, named for Eleanor Roosevelt, was established as a U.S. government New Deal Community. Located in Westmoreland County, the new town was situated on a plot of 1,500 acres of prime farmland. The federal government constructed 250 homesteads of varying size and families were selected from a pool of over 1,850 applicants. The town boasted self-sufficiency through co-op programs designed to foster economic growth and keep revenue in the community. Neighborhood activities brought everyone together for dances, meetings, and social events. This remarkable collection of photographs shows the towns formative history and shares the experience of the hundreds of families who found new hope in Norvelt during the Great Depression.

This American Courthouse: One Hundred Years of Service to the People of Westmoreland County

Michael D. Carey, D.A. and Timothy Kelly, Ph.D., eds.
(Latrobe: Saint Vincent College Center for Northern Appalachian Studies, 2007)
131 pps. Hardback $28.00

This American Courthouse delves into the architectural, social, and legal history of the judicial system of Westmoreland County. A collection of individual essays, the book looks at early law practices, courthouse construction, the changing role of judges, architectural style, and the history of the Westmoreland Bar Association. Colorful illustrations and a sizeable photograph collection augment the text and complement the already intriguing text of the book.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Publications and Book Reviews

By: Lauren Lamendola, publications intern, Senator John Heinz History Center

Jazz Girl: A novel about Mary Lou Williams and her early life

by Sarah Bruce Kelly
(Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Bel Canto Press, 2010)
$15.99 softcover, 195 pp.

One of the most outstanding Pittsburgh jazz musicians of the 20th century was Mary Lou Williams, whose story is told in the fiction novel, Jazz Girl. Williams was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1910 and moved to Pittsburgh’s East Liberty in 1922. Throughout her childhood she was haunted by strange visions and music that played in her head. She craved love from her mother, never knew her father, and desired nothing more than friendship with the neighborhood children, who scorned her because of her dark skin and stutter. The music in her head was her escape and salvation.

Her stepfather got her a piano, and she played constantly, both songs from memory and those she composed. Despite her mother’s warning that she was playing the devil’s music, Mary Lou played on; she wanted to bring people together with her music. Soon her playing gained the attention of a teacher who asked her to play for a group of friends. From that event, she was invited to play for Mrs. Andrew Mellon, who paid Mary Lou $100.00. Soon her reputation spread and Mary Lou went on to play at various events and locales in Pittsburgh. One of the finest passages is at the end of Jazz Girl, when she meets and plays side-by-side with the great Fats Waller. It is a beautiful ending to this fictional account of a young African-American girl with an innate musical talent that took her from ridicule (as a child) to the heights of acceptance and acclaim in American music lore.
Dave Borland is a volunteer in the Senator John Heinz History Center Library and Archives and is also author of the novel 2050; two books of poetry, Rivulets and Reflections; a book of short stories, Early On; and a play, “Angel of Mercy,” about UMW organizer Fanny Sellins. His next novel, In a Moment’s Time, is due out later this year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Publications and Book Reviews

By: Lauren Lamendola, publications intern, Senator John Heinz History Center

Remembering Monroeville: From Frontier to Boomtown

By Zandy Dudiak
(Charleston: The History Press 2009)
128 pps., softcover $21.99

Zandy Dudiak, native of Penn Hills and winner of more than 80 awards for journalistic endeavors, focuses her latest work on the history of Monroeville. The modern Pittsburgher knows Monroeville as a Mecca of shopping, nightlife, and traffic. However, Remembering Monroeville sheds new light on the history of the town as an evolution of a “sleepy hamlet” into the “hub of the suburbs.” The rich history of the quiet pastoral land is rediscovered in Dudiak’s history of the new boomtown.

History Center Hours:
The History Center exhibits and Museum Shop are open daily from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
2010 Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street | Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-454-6000 | Contact Us | Directions | Site Map
In association with the Smithsonian Institution Heinz History Center
Site engineered by Spaceboy Interactive