Bibliography for “Thieves & Vagabonds”

A Note on Sources

Below is a selection of the key sources consulted by LancasterHistory staff in researching the stories told in Thieves & Vagabonds: A History of Law and Justice in Lancaster County. The research for this exhibition combined the analysis of primary sources, including those in the LancasterHistory collections, with scholarship written by academics and other experts on American History and the history of Lancaster County. Many of these books are available on-site at LancasterHistory or for free online. A complete catalog of items in the LancasterHistory collections can be found on our website at    

Local newspapers are another key source of information and they often form the backbone of research, especially for events taking place in the 19th and 20th centuries. LancasterHistory holds some original copies of newspapers, with more on microfilm, but many are digitized and searchable at Key publications include The Lancaster Examiner (1834–1918), the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal (1864–2009), and the Lancaster New Era (1884–2009).

All of the content in this exhibit is based on historical research and evidence from primary and secondary documents. However, what we know about the past and how we understand it can always change as new information and new perspectives are unearthed. If you have additional questions, additional information, or would like to conduct your own research on any of these topics, please reach out to Dr. Mabel Rosenheck, Director of Education and Exhibition Planning at or to the staff in the Research Center at

Indigenous People & European Settlers

Secondary Sources

Jack Brubaker. Massacre of the Conestogas: On the Trail of the Paxton Boys in Lancaster County. The History Press, 2010.

Margaret M. Bruchac. “Broken Chains of Custody: Possessing, Dispossessing, and Repossessing Lost Wampum Belts.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical  Society. 162.1  (Mar 2018) 56-105.

Nicole Eustace. Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America. W.W. Norton, 2021. 

Lee Francis 4 (Story), Weshoyot Alvitre (Art), and Will Fenton (Editor). Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga. The Library Company, 2019. (Full Text)

Stephanie Gamble. “Treaty Negotiations with Native Americans,” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. (Full Text)

Michael Goode. “Native American-Pennsylvania Relations 1681-1753,” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. (Full Text)

Kevin Kenney. Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn’s Holy Experiment. Oxford University Press, 2011.

James H. Merrell, Editor. The Lancaster Treaty of 1744: With Related Documents. Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2008.

Frank Speck. The Penn Wampum Belts. Museum of the American Indian Heye Foundation. 1925. (Full Text)

C.Z. Weiser. The life of (John) Conrad Weiser, the German pioneer, patriot, and patron of two races. 1899. (Full Text)

Key Primary Sources

Primary Sources at LancasterHistory

Additional Photo Credits

A New Nation

Secondary Sources

Danielle Allen. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Liveright, 2015. 

Charles I. Landis. Jasper Yeates and His Times. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 46, No. 3 (1922), 199-231. (Full Text)

Jack D. Marietta and G. S. Rowe. Crime and Justice in Pennsylvania, 1682-1800. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. 

John Rengier. “The Law in Judge Jasper Yeates’s Library.” Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society. Vol. 62, No. 2 (1958). (Full Text)

David Waldstreicher. Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification. Hill and Wang, 2010. 

Robert F. Williams. “The State Constitutions of the Founding Decade: Pennsylvania’s Radical 1776 Constitution and Its Influences on American Constitutionalism.” Temple Law Review. Vol. 62, No. 2 (Summer 1989): 541-586

Key Primary Sources

Primary Sources at LancasterHistory

Additional Photo Credits

  • Stamp, 1765. Image Courtesy of the National Postal Museum.
  • Masthead of The Pennsylvania Journal, 1765. Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
  • Collage featuring Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, 2019, by Arlen Parsa. Image Courtesy of Arlen Parsa.

Slavery & Freedom

Secondary Sources

Paul Finkelman. An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity. University of North Carolina Press, 1981.  

Paul Finkelman. “James Buchanan, Dred Scott, and the Whisper of Conspiracy.” James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War. John Quist and Michael Birkner, Eds. University Press of Florida: 2013.

Bruce Levine. Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice. Simon and Schuster, 2021.

Gary Nash and Jean Soderlund. Freedom by Degrees: Emancipation in Pennsylvania and Its Aftermath. Oxford University Press, 1991. 

Richard Newman. The Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic. University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Thomas Slaughter. Bloody Dawn: The Christiana Riot and Racial Violence in the Antebellum North. Oxford University Press, 1994.

Key Primary Sources

Primary Sources At LancasterHistory

Additional Photo Credits

True Crime & the Criminal Justice System

Secondary Sources

Michelle Alexander. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New New Press, 2012. 

Equal Justice Initiative. Race and the Jury. (Full Text)

J. Richard Gray. “Commonwealth v. Gibbs: ‘The Case Will Be Forgotten.’” Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society. Vol. 120, No. 1/2 (2019) 2-33. 

Erica Rhodes Hayden. Troublesome Women: Gender, Crime, and Punishment in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Norman Johnston. Eastern State Penitentiary: Crucible of Good Intentions. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1994. 

The Ezra Klein Show (podcast). “The Transformative Power of Restorative Justice” (Full Episode)

Michele Lise Tarter and Richard Bell, editors. Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America. University of Georgia Press, 2012. 

Ashley Rubin. The Deviant Prison: Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and the Origins of America’s Modern Penal System, 1829-1913. Cambridge University Press, 2021. 

Primary Sources at LancasterHistory

 Additional Image Credits

Temperance & Prohibition

Secondary Sources

Peter Betts, “A History of the Lancaster Law and Order Society,” Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society. 69.4 (1965) 216-239. (Full Text)

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Directors. Prohibition (documentary film).

Phillip Jenkins. “‘A Wide-Open City’: Prostitution in Progressive Era Lancaster.” Pennsylvania History. Vol. 65, No. 4 (Autumn 1998), pp. 509-526

Alison Kibler, “Lancaster Vice: The Hidden History of Sex, Crime, and Power in the 1900s,” Walking Tour, 2023. 

Charles O. Lynch and John Ward Willison Loose. “A History of Brewing in Lancaster County, Legal and Otherwise,” Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society. 70.1 (1966) 1-100. (Full Text)

Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. Norton, 2016. 

Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Scribner, 2010. 

Thomas R. Pegram, “Brewing Trouble: Federal, State, and Local Authority in Pennsylvania Prohibition Enforcement under Gifford Pinchot, 1923-27,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138.2 (April 2014) 163-191. 

Schrad, Mark. Smashing the Liquor Machine: A Global History of Prohibition. Oxford University Press, 2021. 

At LancasterHistory

Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

Secondary Sources

William Burton with Barry Loveland. Out in Central Pennsylvania: The History of an LGBTQ Community. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2020. 

William Eskrdige. GayLaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet. Harvard University Press, 1999.

The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. The First Amendment Encyclopedia. (Full Text

Alison Kibler and Shanni Davidowitz. “‘Our Color Won’t Wash Off’: The Desegregation of Swimming in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” Journal of Civil and Human Rights 2.1 (Spring/Summer 2016) 3-32.  

Steven M. Nolt and Jean-Paul Benowitz. “Plain Dress in the Docket: Lillian Risser, The Pennsylvania Garb Law, and the Free Exercise of Anabaptist Religion,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. 89.2 (Spring 2022) 227-248. 

George Painter. “Pennsylvania.” The Sensibilities of Our Forefathers: The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States. (Full Text)

At LancasterHistory