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Exploring the History of Pennsylvania's Writers and Publishers

Written by witf | Sep 16, 2011 8:14 PM

witf announces the publication of The Power of Words: Pennsylvania Writers and Publishers, the 34th history to be posted on the award-winning website,

The Power of Words provides a broad introduction to the history of Pennsylvania's writers and publishers, from colonial times to the present, through an introductory essay, five chapter overviews, and essays on more than eighty state historical markers, supplemented by close to 200 new images and illustrations, seventy documents, a timeline, and an annotated bibliography.

Ben_Franklin_EPHTo understand who we are as Americans today, we need to look to the words of the men and women who lived through the world-shaping transformations of our nation's history. Through The Power of Words browsers will learn about the pathbreaking roles that Pennsylvanians have played in the great revolutions of the modern world—and about how they made sense of great events as they were living through them: of the struggle for religious freedom in the seventeenth century, the movement for natural rights and political liberties in the eighteenth century, the major social reforms and world-shaping industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, and the social and information revolutions and economic transformations of the twentieth century. Supplemented by documents from the 1680s to the present, the story looks at the lives and words of Pennsylvania religious leaders and reformers, captains of industry and labor, journalists and historians, poets and novelists. The story also traces the history of some of the Commonwealth's great magazine and newspaper publishers.

The new story also includes three lesson plans: on the lyrics of 19th century songwriter Stephen Foster as a way to understand the presidential election of 1856 for elementary schools classes; Owen Wister's The Virginian (1902) and the birth of the American Western novel for middle school teachers; and the impact of the pathbreaking Pittsburgh Survey on the passage of state worker's compensation laws in the early 1900s for high school classrooms.

The story was co-authored by Charles Hardy III, a Professor of History at West Chester University, and journalist Jeff Silverman, with the assistance of Marie Denlinger and contributions by six other authors. Marie Brown Wilson led the search for the images, obtained from dozens of archives and repositories.

For more stories about Pennsylvania history go to

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