Author: Dr. James McMahon

Marietta Quilt: First in Space

From Object Lessons

LancasterHistory recently accepted the donation of a miniature quilt flown into space aboard the eighth mission of Space Shuttle Challenger as part of the Skylab-2 mission (STS51-F). The mission occurred between July 29 and August 6, 1985. The donation is a gift of Cheryl White-Malpezzi, a granddaughter of one of the original quilters from Marietta, […]

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Lancaster County Historical Society Member Badge and Ribbon

From Object Lessons

Founding and Growth Organized in 1886 and incorporated in 1901, the Lancaster County Historical Society (precursor to LancasterHistory) got off to a rather rough start. After holding thirteen meetings between 1886 and 1887, the Society would not hold another meeting until 1896. A revitalized Society held regular monthly meetings on Friday afternoons at 2:00 pm. […]

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James Buchanan’s White House China

From Object Lessons

On the afternoon of April 19, 2023, I attended the inurnment ceremony of a relative at Arlington National Cemetery. Knowing I would be staying in the Washington D.C. area, I reached out to the office of Congressman Lloyd Smucker to see if I could participate in a public tour of the White House in the […]

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Commemorative Plaque Returns to Franklin and Marshall College

From Object Lessons

Honoring the Founding of Franklin College, 1787 In October 1937, Dr. Herbert H. Beck, Professor of Chemistry at Franklin and Marshall College and President of the Lancaster County Historical Society (precursor to LancasterHistory), presented a bronze plaque to the college from the historical society in honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Franklin […]

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Honoring Ann Wood Henry

From Object Lessons

First Historical Plaque in Lancaster County to Honor a Woman Today marks 69 years since the dedication of a plaque erected in memory of Ann Wood Henry (1732-1799) on October 26, 1953. The LancasterHistory object collection contains a number of historic bronze plaques – some placed by the Lancaster County Historical Society (forerunner to LancasterHistory) […]

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Lancaster Suffragists Remembered

From Object Lessons

Lancaster Woman Suffrage Association In November 1920, following ratification of the 19th Amendment in August of that year, women in Pennsylvania voted for the first time. Many from Lancaster participated in the effort through membership in the Lancaster Woman Suffrage Association. Recognizing the role of the Republican Party in supporting suffrage, nearly 1000 women met […]

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Thaddeus Stevens and the Mystery of the Masonic Medal

From Object Lessons

The Great Commoner As a champion of racial and social equality in America as well as the free public school system in Pennsylvania, it should come as no surprise that Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868) was also vehemently opposed to exclusionary organizations and secret societies. He regarded such groups as elitist and a peril to democracy. Stevens […]

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Electing Buchanan

From Object Lessons

LancasterHistory recently acquired an 1856 James Buchanan presidential campaign medal. While some of the images and symbols on the medal are straightforward, others are not. Especially intriguing is the appearance of 32 stars on the back of the medal—at a time when there were only 31 states in the Union. Why 32 stars? The answer, […]

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