A Look Back in History: The American Folklife Movement |Apr 29, 2016

With such a culture and region of storied past, academic folklife studies emerged worldwide in the wake of post-WWII modern lifestyle, created when natural fibers were replaced by new synthetic materials and mass produced commercial foods changed man’s traditional way of living.

Welcome to my World: Bonding with our baby |Apr 29, 2016

My older sisters, Anita, Jannetta, Mary Alice, Dorothy, Gladys and I, Carole, never expected to have any more babies at our age. After all, we ranged in ages 40 to 55. But, we ended up with one anyway - our very own mother.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Happy Mother’s Day - ‘Linking’ with Art |Apr 27, 2016

As a tribute to each of the mothers reading this column around Mother’s Day, I would like to thank you for your love, care, nurturing, patience, training and so many other great qualities you exhibit during the raising of your children.

Ask Esther: Should we put our home on the market before it is show-ready? |Apr 27, 2016

Dear Esther – We are working on getting our home ready to sell. We really wanted to have a for sale sign up this spring but have found that our “to do” list is not complete. Should we put it up for sale anyway, hoping it won’t matter?

The Historian: Singing schools were everywhere |Apr 25, 2016

Singing schools were institutions of local culture that have almost completely disappeared from historical record. In the 19th century singing schools were everywhere: in church and public school buildings, meetinghouses or wherever a group could assemble.

Welcome to my World: The stranger that came to Pop’s house |Apr 22, 2016

On July 10, 1981, at the age of 84, Pop had a stroke. He came home from the hospital capable of walking, but forgetful. He didn’t always know who his children were, but he always knew Mom. Long ago memories were easier for him to recall.

A Look Back in History: Old Dutch country taverns and traditional social life |Apr 22, 2016

In finding yesteryear’s country hotels, sometimes modified or updated, one must usually take secondary blacktop roads that meander over the hills and valleys of the region through farming areas and cooler forested tracts.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Beetle Bailey’s Mailbag #3 |Apr 20, 2016

Dear Reader >> A few of you who were patient enough to read my series, entitled “Meet Private Beetle Bailey’s Protégé” that started in March 2015, may remember that because of the friendship I established with Beetle, as my mentor, I hired him to sift through the “tremendous amount” of correspondence the series generated.

The Historian: New Hanover ‘Missgebert’ |Apr 18, 2016

Called “Kalendars” in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, Germantown printer Christopher Saur’s 18th century almanacs were universally read among Pennsylvania’s German speaking population.

Out & About: Every day can be Earth Day |Apr 18, 2016

On April 22, 1970, Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, wanted to organize a nationwide rally that focused on Americans’ growing concerns about environmental issues. His goal was to bring enough attention to such issues as air and water pollution, pesticides, the loss of wild lands and the extinction of species, into the political spotlight, that environmental protection would follow, and it did!

Letter to the Editor: Above and beyond teaching |Apr 18, 2016

This is a letter of appreciation for Mr. Allan Angstadt at Kutztown Area High School for all the things he has done for our son and other kids that are bullied, that need self esteem and with learning disorders.

Welcome to my World - Millie, the Mother: Part II |Apr 15, 2016

Grandma Millie will never be a stranger to her 11 grandchildren, no matter where they live. When her first grandchild moved away from the area, Millie called Amy and read children stories to her. Since these first grandchildren, Amy and Brock, graduated from school, they’ve moved back to Grandma and Grandpa.

A Look Back in History: Upcountry Dutchmen and English architecture |Apr 15, 2016

Although the Pennsylvania Dutch were consumed with the love of their homeland in the Rhine Valley of Europe, with their Germanic folk art seen in fraktur illumination in America and paint-decorated dower chests, these prosperous farmers became Americanized with the English formal architecture they witnessed in Philadelphia.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Baseball memories, Part II |Apr 13, 2016

With the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2016 opener having been played on April 4, welcome back to the second and final column on Baseball Memories.

The Historian - Old shaving mugs: Tonsorial treasures |Apr 11, 2016

“Take thou a barber’s razor and cause it to pass upon thy beard.” - The Prophet Ezekial

Out & About: The beautiful Bufo |Apr 11, 2016

“Don’t touch it, you’ll get warts,” my mother exclaimed as she took one step back. She tried her best to convince me that she was a trained toad-ologist before she became a mother.

Welcome to my World: Millie, the Mother |Apr 8, 2016

I know many good mother - my sisters, my children and my friends. But, I know of no other mother that exemplifies motherhood then my sister-in-law, Millie.

A Look Back in History: Those other baked goods of the Dutch Country |Apr 8, 2016

Indigenous PA Dutch people thrived on homemade Pennsylvania German cuisine for well over 300 years, and notably, this was a beer and pretzel culture celebrated by taverns and wayside inns in the historic Valleys of Southeastern PA.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Baseball memories, Part I |Apr 6, 2016

There are many ways to remember events of the past: what house you lived in, what grade of school you were in, the age of your siblings or kids, your job, stories of baseball games, just to name a few.

The Historian - Old time shooting matches: Part II |Apr 4, 2016

As detailed in last week’s column, in the 18th and 19th centuries most every tavern held one or more shooting matches during the fall and winter. Prizes attracted contestants who were usually found later patronizing the host taverns.

Out & About: Reddy Red |Apr 4, 2016

When my children were young one of their favorite movies was Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound” (1981). The story focuses on the unusual childhood friendship between a Red Fox called Tod and a hound dog named Copper, and the challenges they face to stay friends as they grow older and their natural instincts try to pull them apart.

Welcome to my World: For the love of warmth |Apr 1, 2016

Having been born in 1940 and raised on a farm with nine siblings, we didn’t always have the conveniences children do today. Yet, I can’t recall any winter day that our home was cold. As the first person out of bed, Pop was the one to go downstairs to the cellar and stoke the coal furnace.

A Look Back in History - From Rye to Riches: Part II |Apr 1, 2016

In continuing with additional thoughts on last week’s column, many wise Oley Valley Pennsylvanish Deitsch farm women saved their valuable “wheat” flour to be baked into bread they sold at town markets like Philadelphia for the hard cash it would bring to sustain their families.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Making things right |Mar 30, 2016

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful compliment to have someone say, “You are the most honest person I have ever met!” My answer would be, “Not necessarily!”

The Historian: Shooting matches |Mar 28, 2016

From the first of September to the end of March during the 18th and 19th centuries, most every Pennsylvania tavern held at least one shooting match. It was the off season, so to speak, so men and boys had time to compete in contests of marksmanship by shooting for prizes.

Welcome to my World: The art of barbering |Mar 25, 2016

When I was a youngster on the Maxatawny (Berks County) farm, Pop would take me along to his Maxatawny barber. I only knew him by the name “Schmitty.” Even though I had to sit still on a bench on these trips, inside the barber shop, I had a child’s view of everything.

A Look Back in History - From Rye to Riches: Part I |Mar 25, 2016

Many local history enthusiasts know of the name John Lesher, a merchant-patriot and supplier of General Washington’s troops with military equipment and goods during the American Revolution, earning him the distinction of Colonel.

BOOK BEAT - IMPACT: Every Fifteen Minutes |Mar 23, 2016


From Arthur’s Policy Desk - After Super Tuesday 3: Looking deeper into the insurgency |Mar 21, 2016

After three Super Tuesdays, the final three in the Republican Party are Trump, Cruz and Kasich. The insurgencies of Trump and Cruz have pushed out the vanity candidacies of Carly Fiorina and Christopher Christie, the never-had-a-chance candidacy of Ben Carson and now the establishment candidate Marco Rubio has been dispatched.

The Historian: The Blizzard of 1899 |Mar 21, 2016

In February of 1899, New Hanover residents endured a howling blizzard of such bitter cold and driven snow that even the staid Fagleysville businessman Nathaniel Seasholtz recorded the storm in his daybook; the only weather event he ever noted:

Movie Review: ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ |Mar 18, 2016

Imagine waking up after a terrible accident only to find yourself lying on a mattress, attached to a wall in what appears to be a basement. Wondering where you are and how you got there, confusion would be your initial reaction.

Welcome to my World - Easter: A movable feast |Mar 18, 2016

The religious festivals of the Christian church are regulated by both the solar and the lunar year; the years are reckoned by the sun, and the months by the moon. The fixed feasts, such as Christmas, fall on the same day every year.

A Look Back in History: Spring planting, baking and folk proverbs of the PA Dutch |Mar 18, 2016

Considered one of the most fertile colonies of the 13 original, Pennsylvania Germans, French, Swiss (PA Dutch) and English immigrants turned the East Penn Valley into America’s “Garden of Eden” by the turn of the 19th Century.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Happy Easter (insurance vs. assurance) |Mar 16, 2016

As all of us know by paying our bills during the year, there are many types of insurance bills to pay. I would like to expound upon property insurance as well as other assurance. I know this is a funny way to wish you a happy Easter, but please bear with me.

The Historian: The building boom in brick barns |Mar 14, 2016

Starting around 1840 and continuing for the next 50 years there was a local building boom in brick barns. Bricks were used for the gable walls (the ones that come to a point at the top).

Out & About: Sounds of spring |Mar 14, 2016

On our calendars here in Pennsylvania, spring arrives on Sunday, March 20 at 12:30 a.m. This is also known as the vernal equinox. However, I’ve been hearing spring for almost three weeks now.

A Look Back in History: St. Patrick’s Day and PA Dutch ‘Onion Snow’ |Mar 11, 2016

With the anticipated hard work each PA Dutch farmer was responsible for, and how heavily he would be relied upon in early spring, it is understandable the stringent work-ethic these PA Dutch people developed, some of the best farmers in the nation, who should not be denied their celebrations or their reliance on yesteryear’s folkways.

Welcome to my World: Random acts of kindness |Mar 11, 2016

This year, World Kindness Day falls on Nov. 13 and World Kindness Week was from Feb. 9 to 15. It’s an unofficial holiday celebrated around the world by organizations or localities, to encourage people to do unexpected things for others without expecting something in return.

Ask Esther: Is it more financially savvy to sell your own home? |Mar 9, 2016

Dear Esther: We want to sell our home. My sister suggested that we should try to sell it ourselves, which would save us thousands of dollars. This sounds like a good idea. I am surprised more people don’t do it.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: A woman named Mary, Part III |Mar 9, 2016

One of my favorite times with Mary was on an occasional Saturday morning or another day when I was off from work. I would ring her doorbell between eight and nine. When she answered the door, the script went like this: “Is the kitchen still open for breakfast?” Her reply, even though she had been up for at least two hours and had finished her breakfast was: “The kitchen is ALWAYS open for you.

The Historian: Early cemeteries in the Swamp Creek Valley |Mar 7, 2016

In addition to “God’s acre” by the churches, there are private cemeteries and burial grounds scattered throughout the area. Many of them were started early in the 18th century by prominent plantation (the early name for farm) owners.

Out & About: Driving to the sky |Mar 7, 2016

We drove to the sky the other day. It was a warm day for late February, and the gray clouds that surrounded us only allowed the sun to peek through every once in a while. The sky is a big thing, and I’m not sure where it actually starts or ends.

Welcome to my World: Celebrating names |Mar 4, 2016

Recently, I picked up “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and came upon numerous days in which your name is celebrated. Knowing my own name was important to me, I learned that I’m “somewhat” of an onomastic.

A Look Back in History: Rev. Croll reminds Americans of their French Huguenot ancestry in 1926 book |Mar 4, 2016

Last year’s recent attack on the people of France has reminded PA Dutch ancestors of their French Huguenot ethnology. Although the PA Dutch people speak in German dialect, my wife and I are actually French Huguenots, but very much considered PA Dutch, whose ancestors arrived in America to escape religious persecution in Europe.

Movie Review: ‘London Has Fallen’ |Mar 4, 2016

Years after the assassination attempt made on his life, U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) are still together, joking around with one another and, generally, seeming like the best of friends.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: A woman named Mary, Part II |Mar 1, 2016

Yes, “Mary’s a Grand Old Name!” Although it just didn’t seem right! As petite as Mary was, she loved food. Maybe her secret was she gave much more food away than she ate.

The Historian: Bullying is not new |Feb 29, 2016

The Pennsylvania Germans in this area, Lutherans, Reformed and Mennonite, tended toward pacifism. However, their Anglo neighbors were more quick to “put up fists.”

Welcome to my World - The presidents’ burial sites: Part II |Feb 26, 2016

In locating the six presidents buried in New York, four of them were in local cemeteries.

A Look Back in History: Quakerism in America |Feb 26, 2016

From 1972 to 1975, the American Folklife Society of the Oley Valley published the American Folklife Journal, which covered the Colonial American folklife from the Oley Valley to Philadelphia and the New England Colonies.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: A woman named Mary |Feb 24, 2016

“For it is Mary, Mary plain as any name can be but with propriety, society will say Marie. But it was Mary, Mary long before the fashions came and there is something there that sounds so square it’s a grand old name” (Mary’s A Grand Old Name, written by George M.